Monday, July 11, 2011

Chiropractic: Standard Care for ALL Pregnant Women

Y'all have heard me rave about how much my chiropractor has helped me when I wrote my Uterine Lift post.  I have sent many couples her way with amazing results and relief.  She has recently started attending my class explaining how chiropractic care benefits pregnant women.  It's been so beneficial for so many women, I invited her to write a blog post about it.  I truly believe that if all pregnant women saw a chiropractor, trained in the Webster Technique, and as knowledgeable as Dr. Kristen, we'd see more comfortable and shorter labors, not to mention less cesarean sections.  I hope you find this post incredibly informative.


Hi. My name is Kristen O’Reilly, aka Dr. Kristen, aka Mom. I have two wonderful children (when they are at someone else’s house lol). My daughter is 11 and my son is 8. I birthed the first in the hospital and the second at home only 3 weeks after moving half-way across the country. I am a Chiropractor and natural birth advocate.

Its 4am. I've had 2 hours sleep tonight. Once again I'm waiting for that incredible new life to be born. I watch as a strong mom endures a very painful back labor caused by a posteriorly positioned baby. I wish that she had been under good chiropractic care so as not to have to struggle so much. I think back to the birth of my son. I remember the pain of  “back labor” as his head pushed against my sacrum. I desperately wanted an adjustment to allow my sacrum and pelvis to spread open to allow my son to come through. Eventually he did in a military position (crowning with the top instead of with his head tucked). If only I knew then what I know now. If I had known the incredible benefits of a properly aligned spine and pelvis, the benefits of the nervous system working as it is designed, and the benefits of positional work I could have had a much easier pregnancy and labor.

You see I was under chiropractic care, well sort of. I got adjusted from time to time. Nothing very regular. I felt great, but looking back I can recognize that my body wasn't working properly. My periods were coming about once every 6 months with hormone fluctuations I’ll not go into ;) I'm surprised I got pregnant at all but a month after having a uterine lift I found myself looking at a plus sign.

The miracle of life. Two tiny cells came together to form a new life dividing and growing making the nervous system first then the circulatory system etc. I am in awe every time I think of the amazing way we are formed. How do those 2 cells know how to form us? Chiropractors call it “Innate Intelligence” – the intelligence that we all have within us that forms, regulates, and maintains each one of us, and which I believe was designed by God.

You might be asking yourself, “So what does Chiropractic back popping have to do with anything pregnancy related?”  My answer: “EVERYTHING”.  Chiropractic works to remove the interference in the nervous system by removing the stress on the spinal nerves thus restoring the communication lines between the brain and the body allowing the body to work as it was designed to work, allowing the Innate Intelligence of our bodies to flow unhindered.  In other words, a misaligned bone causes a stressed out nerve and acts like a phone with bad “cell coverage”.  The messages just aren’t getting through right.

Whenever a bone is out of place and interfering with the proper nerve flow, Chiropractors call it a “subluxation”. On a personal level, these are the places that can be painful (too much nerve flow), numb (not enough nerve flow), stuck, not moving properly, or anything in between. When Chiropractors adjust the body, they correct these subluxations to remove the nerve interference. I don’t know about you, but I want my body sending and receiving all of those signals, working the way it’s designed to work and at an optimal level, especially during pregnancy.

“So how does a subluxation affect pregnancy?” In order to regulate everything in the body, every cell in our body has 3-4 attachments to the nervous system. When our bodies become misaligned, the communication lines are disrupted to some degree or another. When subluxations in the low back and pelvis are removed, many couples struggling with infertility are finally able to conceive. This tells me that the subluxations may have been interfering with several things “down there” such as hormone balance, physical structures such as the uterus and ovaries, as well as the overall stress levels of the system, each of which can affect the overall health and well being of the mother in all of the related areas that are vital in pregnancy.

On a structural level, the alignment of the pelvis directly affects the position of the baby. Think of the uterus as a balloon being tethered down by 8 ligaments – 4 of which can greatly affect the position of the uterus because they attach to the pelvis, including the 2 Round Ligaments in front on each side of the uterus and the 2 Uterosacral Ligaments posterior to the uterus. When the pelvis and sacrum become misaligned or rotated, the ligaments are stretched or become lax depending on the pelvic rotation and can act to “twist” the bottom of the uterus. This twisting is called “intrauterine constraint” and can cause positional issues with the baby including breech, transverse, asynclitic head position (neck is flexed to side which can cause longer labors) and posterior babies (back labor). The ilio-psoas (pronounced “so-as” or as some of my patients call it, the “sore-ass” muscle) attaches to the front of the lumbar (low-back) spine and the inside of the hip and pelvic bones. (Awesome body images and psoas diagram here: http://health.yahoo.net/flash/vpbody/pelvis-female ) This very important core muscle acts as a sling behind the uterus and if tight or spasming on one side due to pelvic misalignment, it can shift the baby out of optimal alignment. So keeping the pelvis aligned can help give a breech or transverse baby room to turn, help baby lay on the left side, and can help shorten labors by an average of 30%.

Now that I’ve explained the basics, on to my favorite work….baby positioning. Position can be sooooo important during labor. It can make for a quick easy labor or, with an amazingly persevering mom, a 70+ hour labor, as with one of my babies whose shoulders got stuck. I have worked with women whose labors start and stop for several days so they come to get adjusted. These babies are usually sitting on the right side, have an asynclitic head position or have a head stuck on the pubic bone, and once we work to reposition them using pelvic adjustments, ligament and muscle releases, and www.spinningbabies.com techniques (thank you Gail Tully), these women will often go into labor within several hours if not on their way out of the office. I had one patient who showed up with contractions (ctx) 10-12 minutes apart whose water had broken 14 hours before. I released her sacrum and pelvis and used one rotational technique. Within 10 minutes, her ctx were 2 minutes apart and the baby was born less than 2 hours later. So often have I seen this that the midwives I work with in Cleburne made me change my day to work out of their office to Tuesday instead of Friday because they were tired of all of their weekends being taken up by the births.

Why does the right lying baby have this issue you might ask? Because babies almost always turn in a clockwise direction from right to left. This means they have to turn 270 degrees to get out from the right but only 90 degrees from the left. While they are trying to turn, labor can start and stop as the baby’s head puts pressure on the cervix differently. And until the head is fully applied to the cervix, labor will often times come and go.

So looking back on the birth of my son…he started on the right, went posterior and finally swung to the left but never tucked his chin. And had I known of the pelvic releases and Spinning Babies techniques, I know my labor would have been so much easier because I would have had the tools to help him work his way through my pelvis. Better yet, if I’d been getting proper Chiropractic care, he probably would have started in a better position (unless my placenta was anterior). That’s why I get up at 4am to help so many women get their babies in optimal positions during their labors. I've been there and hope you don't have to be.


Dr. Kristen works in Burleson, TX, and you can get more information about her and her services here. Please, feel free to share your experiences with chiropractic care during your pregnancy and labor.

33 comments:

Ivys Mom said...

As a mom who received(and still does) care from Dr. Kristen, I can only say whoo-hoo! Great post. It really did make a difference in my birth after being in labor for over 2 weeks off and on! I got chiropractic care from a normal chiropractor from the beginning of my pregnancy and he just couldn't quite ....get it! I spent 7 months complaining about how my butt always felt bruised and it was hard to sit down. Everyone always told me it was my ligaments stretching and to just deal with it. My first visit to Dr. Kristen and she said "oh no! your tailbone is way out of alignment!" After that visit I could sit down for the first time in months without being in pain. I can only imagine the pain during labor I would have had if that hadn't been addressed. My baby was on the right and asynclitic as well and Kristen was good enough to work with me basically on a daily basis and actually had a major hand in finally sending me into a "no turning back" stage. As a professional, she really knows her stuff. Her compassion and tireless efforts have turned her into more than a doctor though. She's a friend.
Well done! I'm glad she's speaking in your classes Donna!

RoseRed said...

I've been getting chiropractic care for several years now and had it regularly throughout my pregnancy. I gave birth at home 2 1/2 weeks early and labor lasted a mere 4 hours total. I gave birth to a perfectly health and amazing 6 lb, 5 oz little girl. Regular chiropractic care was absolutely worth it!

G WIlson said...

Spinal adjustments are an important aspect of the treatment plan for chiropractic neck pain.

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Montana Mama said...

Great piece! I've been receiving chiropractic care from a provider trained in the Webster technique. It has been wonderful! When we found out I was carrying twins I knew it was all the more important that I continue with my regular adjustments. My babies are both vertex and I hope they remain that way. Could you comment on chiropractic care for moms with twins? Anything important to know that's specific to a twin pregnancy? Thank you!!!

Kristen said...

Montana Mama, I'm very glad to hear that you are under chiropractic care. Twin pregnancies are especially strenuous on the pelvis due to increased size and weight, so chiropractic care is even more important. Chiropractic care will help maintain the most room in the pelvis for the babies to stay in a vertex postion and greater comfort for the mother, especially when combined with pelvic floor release exercises (see spinningbabies.com)including inversion, psoas release, pelvic floor release, etc.

Baby said...

chiropractic care is good and great for all pregnant women.I've been getting chiropractic care and birth easily at my home. All pregnant women try this one....for easy birth.
Baby Carrier

Cooper's Mom said...

Dr. Kristen is fantastic. If you are in the DFW area, please go see her! No matter how far you have to drive, it is worth it! I was seeing a chiropractor by my home and he was not helping me at all. Dr. Kristen knows her stuff when it comes to pregnancy and after seeing her over the last few weeks, I feel SOOOOOO much better. It was getting so awful just to walk to the bathroom and I am finally able to feel somewhat normal again these last few weeks of my pregnancy. NOT ALL CHIROPRACTIC CARE IS THE SAME! Dr. Kristen is wonderful. She truly cares and I am sooooo thankful Donna sent me to her!

G WIlson said...

A very practical reason which accounts for the popularity of using chiropractors for pain issues is the cost. While a medical doctor might charge well over one hundred dollars for an office visit, a chiropractor will charge much less.

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Unknown said...

Ok- a chiropractor in the Albuquerque area anyone? There are plenty but I don't want to waste my time with someone who doesn't get it.

Joy

Felix Woley said...

My younger sister Katty recently labored her second baby boy (whose nose, by the way, is like to mine), haha. She didn’t have a hard time laboring, unlike the last time she labored with her first baby. It’s because she took chiropractic care all throughout her pregnancy.


Felix Worley

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

Chiropractors commonly use a number of treatment modalities in addition to adjustment, while clinical trials may focus on a single intervention in order to isolate its effects.

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Unknown said...

This comment is for Joy, this is a chiropractor in Albuquerque that I know and like:
http://livewellnm.com/

Chiropractors Kansas City said...

A very practical reason which accounts for the popularity of using chiropractors for pain issues is the cost. Acupuncture Kansas City

tahera said...

In recent years Chiropractic care has emerged as a preferred choice than traditional medicine. Great post explaining the relevance of chiropractic care during pregnancy. Visit http://www.drpferraro.com/
for more info.

James and Amanda Harris said...

During my second (and most recent) pregnancy I had serious problems with my hips and back. I have had braxton-hicks contractions for 7 months with both of my children (annoying, but they never hurt the baby) With my second they got stronger at about 7 months, but still wasn't pre term labor (thankfully!) however they cause serious havoc on my hips, the muscles in my hips would tighten up, or cramp, and it would give out under me. I wouldn't be able to keep standing, either for pain or because my hip simply wasn't working. This went on for the last few months of my pregnancy until it got so bad I literally couldn't walk at all, because it would happen so regularly that I was terrified I'd fall and hurt myself, the baby or my toddler who was always with me. I was ultimately induced at 37 weeks because of it(I fell and hit my stomach on the bathroom counter, it left a huge bruise and terrified me, so we went with an induction), and I am wondering if you think Chiropractic care could help with that. My OB was great, and we tried many different things (stretches and exercise balls, sleeping certain ways, massage,ect) but nothing helped, and I would desperately like to avoid this when I have my next child (hopefully in the next year or so). I had one person tell me it could have been due to the fact that I was unable to gain weight, I only gained 5lbs my entire pregnancy, I actually lost some and didn't even gain that back. I just happened across this blog and I would LOVE suggestions on how to prevent that from happening again.

Gwen said...

When I was a first time mom, my doctor told me to get chiropractic care but I was hesitant at first because I was pregnant. I thought that doing this treatment might hurt the baby inside but my chiropractor assured me that it won't affect the baby but merely help me with the delivery and labor. I went on with the treatment and up until now I still continue with it.

Gwen Knight

Fran Lee said...

Thank you for sharing. Is it bad that I never knew about this? I am not yet pregnant but hope to be soon and I really had no idea. Luckily after reading your post I called a chiropractor in Peabody, MA and sure enough he agreed with you. Thanks again.

Major Marburger said...

Chiropractic care is certainly a must have for pregnant ladies. It has this very beautiful benefit of maintaining and restoring our bodily functions and preventing injury in addition to back pain relief.
- Major Marburger

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Alaric Caleb said...

Quite nice post thanks for share.........
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Alena Mauer said...

I normally have bad back pain but when I was pregnant it increased immensely. I was constantly having my husband massage me. It was so hard having that extra weight on my back.

Alena | http://springschiropractic.com

Sara Welsh said...

I'm about 3 months pregnant, and I'm not looking forward to the next 6 months. My back has been killing me, and I feel like there's no relief. Next week I go into see my doctor, and I'm going to ask him if he recommends chiropractic care for me.

Sara Welsh | http://www.abeschiropracticcenter.com

jake Bercher said...

Thanks very much for this great article;this is the stuff that keeps me going through out these day. Chiropractor in Charlotte

Sara Welsh said...

Wow, I had no idea that chiropractor services could be so helpful for pregnant woman. My cousin is pregnant right now, and I think going to the chiropractor might be exactly what she needs. Lately, she's been complaining about back pain, and from what you've said, it sounds like she might just need an adjustment. If she keeps complaining about her back, I'm going to tell her about this. I think that it could be something very useful for her, and from the sounds of it, it also sounds like it could be helpful for the baby.

Sara Welsh | http://www.gehrigchiropractic.com

Jason shwartz said...

My wife is currently pregnant, and I was hoping there was an option for a chiropractor. Something that really is nice is knowing that there are options. I would really like to be able to find someone who is qualified to work on pregnant women. Thank you for taking the time to share. http://www.irondequoitchiropracticcenter.com/services

costlules said...

Nothing very common. I felt nice, but wanting back I can acknowledge that my body wasn't working correctly. My intervals have been coming about as soon as every 6 months with hormone fluctuations I’ll not go into ;)




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Dave Thompson said...

Did not know that chiropractic adjustments could help with a pregnancy. I'll have to see what my wife thinks about getting some adjustments done before she is due. I think it is a great idea, but it is totally up to her if she gets it done or not. http://www.aligncarechiro.org/services

Piers Lyman said...

I already tried an alternative medicine for my spinal which is called chiropractic.
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