The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study on December 20, 2017, showing that pregnant women who were under chiropractic care experienced an improvement in their quality of life as measured by specific scientific tests.
The authors of the study begin by pointing out that, “During pregnancy, the expectant mother is faced with many physiologic and biomechanical changes that affect her emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular for women of childbearing age with prior use as the most significant independent associated factor for CAM use during pregnancy.”
Even though chiropractic is a separate and primary portal of entry form of non-medical care, it is often classified as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) according to governmental authorities and the medical community at large. Other forms of healthcare are also included as CAM, including natural products or supplements, breathing exercises, meditation, acupuncture, massage, yoga, and homeopathy.
Pregnant women seek CAM procedures for a number of reasons including musculoskeletal problems, nausea, labor issues, lactating disorders, and delivery issues, to name a few. The authors note that, “Of the various practitioner-based CAM therapies, chiropractic has been shown to be popular among women before, during, and after their pregnancy.”
The study was conducted by reviewing information from a scientifically designed questionnaire given to patients of participating doctors of chiropractic. The criteria for patient participation was that the patient was at least 18 years of age, had agreed to informed consent to participate in the study, and the patient was pregnant during the course of the study.
The study results were determined from 343 participating pregnant women who met the criteria for this study. The average age of the women was 30.96 years. The educational level of the women showed a high level of education in the group with 31% having completed two years of college, 44% obtained a four year baccalaureate degree, and 20% had a master’s degree. On average, the women presented themselves for chiropractic care in their 25th week of their pregnancy, with the breakdown being that 13.1% were in their 1st trimester, 32.9% were in their 2nd trimester, and 53.9% were in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
When asked who was their primary provider for their pregnancy, 57% indicated that it was an OBGYN, 9% said it was a nurse midwife, 27% said a midwife, 3% said a medical doctor, and 3% said other. The results of the study showed a significant improvement in quality of life issues for the pregnant women for physical functioning, sleep disturbance, satisfaction with participation in social roles, pain interference, and fatigue.
In their discussion, the study authors gave an overview of the study when they stated, “The purpose of this study was to understand the characteristics and reasons why women seek chiropractic care and to test whether the changes in QoL (quality of life) observed after starting chiropractic care were greater than the changes they would expect based on chance alone.” In reporting the results of the survey, the authors concluded that the women were highly satisfied with their chiropractic care, and reported that their quality of life measures had statistically improved.