Happy National Midwifery Week!

bigstock-Toddler-In-Midwifes-Case-28213640Having delivered both of our babies at home, I have a special place in my heart for midwives. We were so blessed to be served by Marilee Pinkleton of TLC Birth while we lived in Northern Virginia.  What a beautiful gift it is to have a midwife at your side during such a defining moment in your life.  October 5th-11th is National Midwifery Week. Created by ACNM to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care.  I believe everyone needs to know how much #MidwivesMakeaDifference to women and families! Our midwife came to our home for each prenatal visit, bringing with her a simple bag of tools to check on both me and the baby.  Each visit  was such a relaxing hour where the trust I would need in myself and in her grew every time we met. When I think of standard prenatal care it saddens me to know this same kind of trust isn’t always being built. The mother is faced with many tests, some invasive and all stress inducing. The World Health Organization ranks the United States as 24th (last) among all industrialized nations in infant mortality and low birth weight. The medical system in the United States is considered to be the most highly advanced in the world. We spend more on birth than any other country in the world. We expect this technology to improve our lives and solve our problems. We are led to believe this technology alone leads to improved outcomes.  This is not always the case. In countries with the healthiest, happiest and best supported mothers it is midwives managing normal births.  Obstetricians only take care of high-risk mothers.

Midwives are the experts in normal physiologic birth.  Midwifery is based on the idea that most pregnancies, labors, and births are normal biological processes resulting in healthy outcomes for both mothers and babies. Midwifery concentrates on optimizing the health and wellness of a woman and her baby, identifying and managing medical problems early on, and attending to the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of both pregnancy and birth. They understand a woman needs to move around during labor. Walking, squatting, and swaying allow the mother to choose the best position to manage pain for herself. Guiding her along, never forcing.  Eating and drinking during labor provide critical energy for the final stage. Most importantly treating each woman as an individual rather than a statistic. Due dates are not stuck to rigidly.  Starting, stopping, and slowing down during labor are all allowed as part of the natural process. Midwives are trained to be vigilant in identifying women with serious complications. Medical expertise and interventions are sought when necessary.

Choosing a pregnancy and birth provider is in your hands.  Do all the research you can about a group or individual to fully understand how they practice.  If their ideas don’t match up with yours, or you have a bad gut feeling when meeting them, move on. If you have suffered a traumatic birth consider changing to a new provider. VBAC can be a healing experience for many who have had an unplanned C-Section. Most areas don’t promote midwifery despite evidence in numerous studies.  A 2013 Cochrane systematic review comparing midwife-led to physician-led models of care found that  women attended by midwives were less likely to have an episiotomy or instrumental birth, less likely to have a preterm birth or loss of the fetus before 24 weeks gestation, and more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth.  The review concluded, “Midwife-led continuity of care was associated with several benefits for mothers and babies, and had no identified adverse effects compared with models of medical-led care and shared care.”

Midwife means “with-woman.”  You take the time to plan so many aspects of your babies future. Plan for the birth of your dreams- choose a midwife.





Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Chiropractic and Pregnancy

In thinking what to write about in my first blog post, I couldn’t imagine any other topic! I have had the joy of working exclusively with pregnant patients (and their babies of course) for the last seven years. I have explained many times why working with the female pelvis makes such a profound difference to the mother during pregnancy from a comfort standpoint but most importantly how it helps during labor and delivery.

Just yesterday standing outside my sons preschool another students grandpa was asking why we moved from Virginia to Buffalo, assuming it was because of my husbands job. I explained we moved to be near our families, and that we were both Chiropractors. He shared his Chiropractic success story with me and asked for a card. When he saw I treat pregnant woman he had so many questions! He said he had never thought of that before…. but looking back recalled how much his two daughters complained about their pregnancy aches and pains.

I explained to him that the position of the unborn baby is critical during pregnancy. The function of the mother’s pelvis has everything to do with this success. A pelvis that can adapt to the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy creates a comfortable pregnancy and uncomplicated birth for both mother and baby. It can significantly reduce the need for interventions such as drugs, forceps, vacuum extraction, and c-section, which may result in birth trauma. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is the best way to achieve a functional pelvis and give the baby the most room to get into that optimal birth position.

Importance of Uterine Ligaments

Chiropractic eases the discomfort of pregnancy and prepares the low back and pelvis for birth.

Chiropractic eases the discomfort of pregnancy and prepares the low back and pelvis for birth.

There are four major ligaments that support the uterus during pregnancy. These ligaments have attachments at various points of the lumbar spine, sacrum, tailbone and pubic bone. Two of these ligaments have smooth muscle fibers in them, allowing them to contract and also spasm. As the belly expands these ligaments balance and stabilize the uterus from front to back. The joints and muscles of the pelvis must work in harmony. If one or more joints become less mobile than optimal, the ligaments may spasm in response. Symptoms will include: groin pain, cramping, shooting leg pain, rib pain, hip pain, back pain, and pubic pain, just to name a few. Have you ever noticed a pregnant woman constantly rubbing her lower belly? She is experiencing the discomfort of the round ligament as it works to stabilize the uterus.

Uterine Constraint

If the mom is suffering with pelvic dysfunction, the baby is under strain as well. The amount of room within the uterus decreases as the torsion of the uterus increases. The analogy I share with moms is sort of corny, but seems to help people understand. Imagine the uterus is a fully inflated hot air balloon tethered to the ground by a rope on either side. If one rope is tighter than the other, the balloon can tilt a bit to that side. The ligaments of the uterus can create a similar dysfunction. The result may be improper position of the baby, delayed labor, slow labor, and sometimes facial deformity and torticollis at birth.

Chiropractic during pregnancy identifies and removes mechanical strain in the spine and pelvis. Soft tissue massage, ligament release, and gentle adjusting allow the body to respond and adapt to the postural and mechanical strain of pregnancy. The most well known Chiropractic technique addressing pregnancy and Chiropractic is the Webster Technique. Think of the difference in quality of life Chiropractic during pregnancy could make! Enjoying your pregnancy and achieving the birth you have imagined for yourself and your baby is the ultimate goal.