Chiropractic Care and Pregnancy

Can I share one of pregnancy’s best-kept secrets with you? Chiropractic care! I have to admit—I had no idea how beneficial regular chiropractic care can be for pregnancy and birth until I became a doula.

Chiropractic care is becoming a more integral part of prenatal care for many women, due to the many potential benefits for the pregnant and postpartum body. With a resurgence of interest in natural birth, women seeking low- to no-intervention births may also seek more gentle, alternative treatment methods for pregnancy ailments.

pregnant-belly-baby-belly-months-157724.jpeg

What is Chiropractic Care?

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), chiropractic care is “health maintenance of the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone geometry without drugs or surgery.” To put it more plainly, it is the science of realigning misaligned joints, which reduces stress on the spinal nerve and promotes general health throughout the body. And get this—of women who sought chiropractic care during pregnancy, 75% reported they found relief from pain (Borggren, 2007). Seventy-five percent?! Sign me up for that!

How Does It Help?

During pregnancy, the body undergoes many physiological and endocrinological changes. As the uterus grows, the structure of the body changes. The center of gravity shifts, ligaments become more lax, and shift in weight predisposes nerves, muscles, bones, and connective tissue to damage (Ohm, 2009). This—in combination with an increase in hormones—leads to spinal and pelvic misalignment. This misalignment contributes to lower back pain and an overload of stress to the nervous system—making it harder for the systems of the body to communicate. You know how we say pregnancy is a time of growth and change? Yeah, we mean that both figuratively, and literally!

Other possible risks of misalignment include stress on baby’s developing neuro-muscular system (i.e. torticollis), and effects on optimal fetal positioning at time of birth (Ohm, 2009).

Regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy has been shown to improve the outcomes for many of the above-mentioned risks, including:

Promotion of optimal fetal positioning

When the pelvis is aligned, baby naturally has a bit more room to maneuver into that awesome left occiput anterior (LOP) position. This also includes turning those breech-presenting babies

Faster, more comfortable labors

Misalignment of baby in the uterus often leads to longer, more intense labor, as baby is unable to move down and press on the cervix. A woman who is regularly adjusted—and the pelvis realigned to its appropriate shape—provides opportunity for her baby and body to work together seamlessly. In fact, a review of statistics done in 2009 found that primigravida women (first-time mothers) seeking chiropractic care throughout pregnancy had 25% shorter labor time, and multiparous women averaged 31% shorter labor times (Borggren). Bazinga!

Minimized need for intervention

If mother’s biometrics are in tip-top shape going into her birthing time, obstetrical interventions are less likely to be recommended. The body is more likely to function at its highest level—like a well-oiled machine—and may not require any assistance in bringing baby earthside.

Is It Safe?

Even with all these potential benefits, people often wonder if chiropractic care during pregnancy is safe. Research is scarce, but there is some evidence to suggest chiropractic care is perfectly safe. In a retrospective case series of 17 patients performed in 2006, 16 patients demonstrated “clinically significant” improvement, with no adverse effects reported.

Though by and large chiropractic care is deemed safe and effective, there are some instances in which adjusting would not be appropriate. Such circumstances may include (Borggren 2007):

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Ruptured amniotic membranes
  • Sudden onset of pelvic pain
  • Premature labor
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental abruption
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Moderate to severe toxemia

Selecting a Chiropractor

It is also important to note that not all chiropractors are created equally. It is true that all chiropractors receive some sort of training in working with pregnant women; however, there are special trainings and certifications that provide even more detailed instruction on adjusting the pregnant woman. When choosing a chiropractor, especially for the specific purpose of turning a breech presentation fetus, it is important to consult with a Webster certified practitioner (APA, 2016).

ICPA.com is a great resource for locating prenatal/pediatric chiropractors in your area.

Is Chiropractic Care Only For Pregnancy?

Not only does chiropractic care assist with pregnancy and birth, it is also a wonderful option for the postpartum period. It was noted that, in cases of moderate to severe pregnancy-related pelvic and other pain, it is likely to persist postpartum in 77% of women. It is suggested that receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy may minimize the risk of persistent pain postpartum (Borggren 2007). The normal birthing process is a physical feat, and regular chiropractic care may aid in a return to normal spinal functioning.

Final Thoughts

Though the research on chiropractic care during pregnancy is sparse, there is evidence suggesting chiropractic care is safe and effective. It’s ability to aid in the appropriate functioning of the body’s systems, creating space for baby to move into the optimal position for labor, and minimizing the need for obstetrical intervention in labor is reason enough to consider it as an alternative therapy for pregnant women.

 What has YOUR experience been with chiropractic care in pregnancy and the postpartum period?

 

 

*Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not medical advice. Any information shared in this article is merely for informational purpose. Any change in your treatment should be discussed with your healthcare provider before implementation.  

 

 

References:

American Pregnancy Association. (2016, September 2). Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/

Borggren, C.L. (2007 Spring). Pregnancy and Chiropractic: A Narrative Review of Literature. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/#bib10

Ohm, J. (2009, December 1). Chiropractic Care for and Easier Pregnancy and Safer Birth. Retrieved from http://icpa4kids.org/Wellness-Articles/chiropractic-care-for-an-easier-pregnancy-and-safer-birth.html

Doula Services on Your Baby Registry

Wanna know what most people say when asked if they’ll be adding a doula to their birth team? Can you guess it? No? Well, don’t worry—I'll tell you…

“That would be really cool, but I just can’t afford it.”

Aaah! You guys, finances can be so hard! I know. I get it. Before I really knew what a doula was, I think I would have had the same response. It is hard to imagine spending money on a doula when you're already thinking of all the medical bills you’ll have once baby arrives. Insurance generally doesn’t cover doula services, so what’s a girl to do?!

Y’all. There are so many wonderful options (another blog post topic, maybe?), but today, I’m here to share with you the latest and greatest from Lindsay Dougal—an option to add my services to a baby registry!

“What?! I can have my family and friends assist me in securing a loving and supportive birth team?"

I’m just as excited as you are! Below is a video tutorial on how to add birth doula services from Lindsay Dougal, Doula to your baby registry. 

THINGS TO NOTE

1- Before doing anything else, schedule a free consultation with me to ensure we are a good fit, and to verify I am available during your estimated birthing time. A deposit will be required to secure your date in my calendar, but we can discuss this during our consultation

2- Create an online registry—BabyList and MyRegistry.com are two good options. *Instructions vary slightly from registry to registry, but are basically the same. Follow the prompts for setting up a registry and you should be just fine. I will be using BabyList for this tutorial

3- Follow the instructions in this video! (Link to Client Shop to add item)

TUTORIAL

The Origin Story

Alright, here it is—my inaugural blog post…I’m going to pause for a moment to let that sink in (mostly for me)…

I’ve spent a good year going back and forth over whether to start a blog or not, and guess what?! I decided to go for it! (New Year’s resolution #1—check)

I’m so excited to be sharing my passion with all of you! Birth work is the life calling I never thought I’d find. It’s a true miracle I’ve made it here, and I'm not taking a single moment of it for granted. So, here it goes—my best effort to bring you positive, helpful, evidence-based information for your childbearing year. 

But first, I'd like to give you a little history lesson on me—Lindsay Dougal, Doula. I was born on a cold winter morning in the year 1980-something...

Alright, alright. So we won't go that far back.

IT ALL BEGAN…

I had my first child, a son, in the summer of 2012. It was a time of immense growth and change—a time of complete transformation. I don’t think I really realized how transformational the whole process (from conception to the fourth trimester) would be, until I looked back from the other side. I prepped myself as much as I possibly could for the birth of my son. I watched all the movies, read all the books, and took all the classes. I felt so prepared.

 Maternity Shoot. We're so (young) HAPPY!

Maternity Shoot. We're so (young) HAPPY!

My estimated due date and came went. I was big, and hot (August, anyone?!), and completely ready for my little gremlin to make his grand debut. My waters released in the wee hours of the morning five days later. Well, I didn’t immediately go into labor. In fact, I went back to sleep, woke up five hours later to head into my midwife’s office to make sure my water did, in fact, break (it had! Wahoo!), went back home to “pack my bag”, attempted to take a nap, then got so antsy that we decided to head into the hospital. Twelve hours after my water broke, I wasn’t laboring—we opted to induce.

They hooked up the pitocin and things started happening. Oh boy! Were they happening! Surges went from zero to so-intense-I’m-ready-to-throw-my-whole-birth-plan-out-the-window. But guess what?! I had an amazing birth team that truly helped me feel supported, encouraged, and loved. I fought hard (mentally) to stay focused on what I wanted for my son’s birth, and why I wanted those things. After 8 hours of unmedicated labor (with a truly heroic partner by my side), I was able to meet my beautiful boy and experience the complete awe and reverence for the capabilities of my body. I felt completely empowered.

 Me and Gremlin #1

Me and Gremlin #1

SO, WHAT PROPELLED ME INTO DOULA WORK?

I was the first in my friend group to start having children. When my friends and colleagues began having children, I heard story after story of experiences so opposite to mine, that my heart literally hurt for them—and women like them—experiencing something so contrary to what the introduction to motherhood can (and should?) be. For me, I wanted to help others find the same kind of empowerment I found when birthing my son.

At the time, I didn’t really understand what, exactly, I could do to impact any of it. I had not heard of doulas—or at least, did not fully understand or know a doula’s role. It was about a year or two after my son’s birth that I really started learning more about doulas. I felt drawn to the work, but had so many excuses as to why I could never do it. I sort of put it out of my mind as a pipe dream—something that would be really “cool” and “exciting” in another lifetime.

FAST FORWARD TWO YEARS…

It was the summer of 2015. I was pregnant with my second child, a son. My pregnancy was uneventful—in the best kind of way. He was a little wiggle bug, practicing his acrobatics in my tum. As my pregnancy wore on, I had a feeling of unease, but chalked it up to “paranoia”—every appointment proved his health and well-being. I went into labor in the wee hours of a Sunday morning during my 39th week of pregnancy. When we made it to the hospital, we learned his little heart was no longer beating. Ya’ll, my world came crashing down. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty here (a post for another time, I have no doubt), but this single life event put things in motion for me.

We celebrated my husband’s graduation shortly before our son’s (still)birth, and he found a job a several months later. A series of events landed me a stay-at-home mama—a new challenge I was not totally prepared for, but willingly accepted. In my time at home, I learned that I needed to do something for me. I needed something to keep me grounded in Lindsay. And guess what?! Birth work kept calling to me.

I was seven months pregnant with my third child—another boy! #boymom—when I decided to take the leap. I still had so many excuses as to why the on-call life of a doula would not work, but I couldn’t ignore the lessons the summer and fall of 2015 taught—life is short, find what lights the fire inside you and hold onto it.

I signed up for my doula certification course and haven’t looked back. A little over a year into this work I can confidently say I have found my life’s calling. When people learn what I do, they often comment on how amazing it is that I get to see babies being born. And while I agree with this exciting statement, there is something that brings even more gratitude, humility, and power to my soul—being witness to the birth of a mother.