Chiropractic Care for birth and beyond with Dr Zoe James

This week we speak to Dr Zoe James, Chiropractor and Kinesiologist (and She Births® Mum!), who specialises in prenatal care and the first 12 months of a baby’s life.

Chiropractic Care is a safe, gentle and effective way of helping women through their journey from fertility, to prenatal care, labour and post natal care. Research suggests that regular care can make a real difference to the comfort of the mother and baby. 85% of Pregnant Women Get Back Pain Relief with Chiropractic![1]

I was quite scared of chiropractic adjustments as I had experienced a few that felt quite aggressive, but then I learnt that there is of course, like in all professions, a huge spectrum of approaches and styles. I fell in love with chiropractic care when I found the first one that worked for me. I felt my pelvis finally come back into alignment – literally a gigantic click happened in my pubic bone – 3 years AFTER Leroy was born! I wished I had been able to have that adjustment earlier!

I have found that chiro, physio and osteopathy can make all the difference for an easier delivery and I wouldn’t go into labour without at least two consults. Zoe is one of those unique chiros who can speak a few languages at once – the scientific, spiritual and physical. She can work on a number of different levels with the body and is also fantastic at helping with newborns. It still amazes me how subtle adjustments for babies can help revolutionise sleeping, feeding, reflux and more.

We hope you enjoy this week’s expert interview!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended The She Births® Show on Friday – such a brilliant morning! You can watch the live stream via our Facebook page, and we’ll be releasing the Show as a podcast and video soon, so stay tuned! We’ve been receiving so much lovely feedback about the event; here is what one of our guests, Emmanuelle, had to say:

“I just attended The She Births® Show and I just wanted to say THANK YOU for organising such a great event. Everything was just perfect. I cried, I laughed, I felt inspired, empowered. Thank you to all three speakers for sharing their stories and thank you to everyone in the She Births® team for putting together the event. What a great way to start the weekend!”

We are already planning our next event and will share the details with you in the coming weeks!


Love and gratitude,
Nadine xxx


When would it be beneficial to see a Chiropractor during pregnancy?

How you would utilise Chiropractic Care depends on your approach to pregnancy. Are you proactive in finely tuning your body to offer the best conditions to your growing baby or are you more a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of woman?

Chiropractic Care addresses structural, biochemical and emotional aspects of wellbeing. It utilities manual therapy along with home exercises and lifestyle advice.

The main reasons women seek the assistance of a Chiropractor for pregnancy are:

  • Problems falling pregnant (Dad’s are included here too!)
  • Pain (lower back, symphysis pubis, pelvis, legs, ribs, shoulders, hands)
  • Allowing optimal room for your baby to move and grow both physically and neurologically
  • Contributing to a wonderful labour
  • Recovery from the pregnancy and labour for both mother and baby
  • Advice on how to get the most out of each developmental stage for the baby

Well Adjusted Babies by Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani is a fantastic resource for a safe and natural approach to starting a family. She goes into a lot more detail on how Chiropractic Care can play an invaluable role in your journey.

How can Chiropractic Care help prepare your body for labour?

Preliminary studies show women who received regular chiropractic care during pregnancy:

  • Had a 50% decrease in the need for pharmaceutical pain killers during labour[2]
  • First time mum’s reduced their labour time by 24%
  • Subsequent labours had a labour time reduction of 39%[3]

There may be a few reasons for these results:

  • An optimally aligned spine and pelvis free of restriction enables the baby to move through the birth canal with ease
  • A balanced nervous system conducts the hormonal process of labour
  • A toned nervous system directs effective contraction of the uterus and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles
  • Decreased emotional stress which alters both the perception of the labour experience and facilitates the body to be relaxed throughout the process[4][5]

Do you still need to get your pelvis checked during pregnancy even if you’re not experiencing any pain or discomfort?

Being free from discomfort during pregnancy is not an indicator that your alignment is optimal and the labour will be smooth. It is best be checked out by a trained physician such as a Chiropractor who specialises in prenatal care. Definitely if you have previous injury to the spine, pelvis or known issues with the feminine organs seek an assessment before week 14 of your pregnancy when your ligaments start to loosen up.

How can Chiropractic Care help once you’ve had your baby?

  • Lower back pain
  • Pubic symphysis diastasis
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder tension
  • Tinging or numbness in the hands
  • Abdominal separation
  • Postnatal depression
  • Milk supply issues, mastitis, problems with latch
  • Treatment of scar tissue
  • Fatigue

What is Kinesiology and how can it help?

In my practice I utilise a variety of techniques. One of the techniques is called Applied Kinesiology.  It is most known for the use of a muscle test to help work out the underlying cause behind muscle dysfunction. This may be

  • Structural (a joint, muscle, scar tissue, faulty movement pattern)
  • Biochemical (deficiencies, toxicities, imbalances)
  • Mental/emotional (worry about the future, overwhelm of your current situation or holding onto past hurts)

Applied Kinesiology is always used in conjunction with a comprehensive history and thorough physical examination. It helps the practitioner be very specific on which treatment and home advice is best to facilitate a quick and lasting recovery. Treatment may be in whichever form is most safe, effective and comfortable for the woman at her stage of pregnancy.

Find more information on Applied Kinesiology: watch a video here.

Can babies benefit from Chiropractic Care?

Intrauterine constraint, exposure to toxins, and even labour itself can be incredibly stressful on a newborn’s body and nervous system. This often manifests into a variety of symptoms

  • The way they move
  • Scull shape
  • Temperament
  • Latch quality
  • Colic
  • Reflux
  • Digestive health
  • Immune system
  • Skin health and more

Often, problems don’t appear until years down the track but to a trained eye there are obvious corrections needed in the newborn. Even when your baby is at their best, getting advice on how to maximise each stage of development is extremely helpful.

Your health and that of your baby is the foundation for a happy life. It’s worth helping your baby get the best start by being proactive. So if you’re contemplating starting a family or just welcomed your first baby into the world, now is the perfect time for you both to get checked out!

Dr Zoe James, is based in Woollahra, Sydney. For information and bookings click here.


[1] Peterson CK, Mühlemann D, Humphreys BK. Outcomes of pregnant patients with low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment: a prospective cohort study with short term, medium term and 1 year follow-up. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2014;22(1):15.

[2] Frietag P. Expert testimony of P Frietag MD Phd., Comparing the results of two neighbouring hospitals, US District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No.76C 3777. May 1987

[3] Fallon J DC. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991:24-31

[4] Chestnut J DC. The 14 Foundational Premises for the Scientific and Philosophical Validation of the Chiropractic Wellness Paradigm. Canada: Chestnut Wellness and Chiropractic Corporation; 2003

[5] Blanks RHI. Schuster TL. Dobson M.A Restrospective Assessment of Network Care using a survey of self reported Health, Wellness and Quality of life. JVSR. 1997;1:1532

Zoe James
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