Month: June 2016

Working with Chiropractic during Pregnancy

Everyone’s labor story is different.  Mine started with my water breaking at 10am while at the office.  Luckily I had just finished adjusting a patient and was upstairs using the restroom.  I stood up, felt the plug fall out and a bunch of water came rushing with it.  I called for my husband and after telling him my water broke we just stared at each other with smiles like “ok what now”.   I had patients in my office so my husband finished getting everyone adjusted and I got lots of hugs.  About an hour later we drove home so I could shower and change and eat something.  We got to the hospital around 3pm and I was 4cm dilated and contractions were minimal.  I felt good, I was smiling and walking around.

At 5pm I started using a breast pump to get my contractions moving forward.  It worked.  A few hours later I moved to the shower to let the water help me through transition.  Transition lasted a long time.  I sat in the shower, on a ball and let my body shake through contractions.  I moved in and out of the shower several times.  My night nurse was also a doula and she was wonderful.  Holding my hand when my husband had to update the family or get a snack.  My husband was amazing.  Coaching me and helping me with whatever I needed.  I finally hit 10 cm around 2am.  Yes!  Now it would only be a little longer and some pushing right?   But the urge to push never came.  Finally around 6am they had me push for an hour to see if anything would happen.  Nothing.  At 8am they gave me Pitocin and I pushed for 2 more hours.  I kept telling my husband “look down there and tell me if you see anything happening”.  I was sad when the midwife checked and told me that he had not moved down at all.  A few doctors came in to assess the situation and they determined he was posterior.  There was no way to manually turn him and we opted not to try due to stress it can cause on the baby.  We were not in an emergency situation and wanted to keep it that way.  I cried as they told me I would need a C section.  I was disappointed, tired and hungry.  Even though baby was fine and I was fine, they moved quickly and he was born at 11:03am.  An 8 lb. 1 oz. baby boy.  Dane John David.  What a crazy day!

As you move throughout pregnancy something that your OB or midwife will check and comment on is baby positioning.  They will palpate to find the butt, spine and head to determine if baby is in the optimal head-down, face in position.  If they are unsure sometimes an ultrasound will be ordered to verify.  Just about every week I get a call from a panicked mom asking for help because her baby is in a breech position.  This is something that is ideal to find out ahead of time and sooner rather than later.  I have had success with women very late in pregnancy, but ideally, the more time we have to reposition the pelvis into optimal alignment the better.  As a chiropractor I am never touching or moving your baby.  I am using a technique called Webster’s which is a specific analysis and adjusted used to put your pelvis into an optimal position and create the largest pelvic opening possible.  When baby has room to move they will often choose to move into the position of head down.  While the word “breech” is very scary for parents, it is less scary for me because for over 10 years I have had a lot of success adjusting pregnant women and typically within a few visits they come in with the exciting news that baby has turned.

A different positioning issue, like I had, is when baby is posterior, also known as “sunny side up”.  This is when the baby is head down but facing out.  Baby can be in this position prior to labor starting or move into this position during labor.  While as many as half are posterior when labor starts, only 4 to 10 percent of babies are posterior at birth. (The percentage of babies who are posterior at birth is higher among first-time mothers.)

In these situation you may have a random pattern of contractions or, like me, have clustered contractions where they would peak, start to go down but then peak again – my oh my was that fun!- and once you hit 10 cm you may never had the urge to push.  The biggest issue when baby is posterior is that their head circumference is larger because they don’t tuck their chin.  This increases the chances of having an assisted vaginal delivery or c section.  It also can increase pushing time and need for Pitocin.

Working with a chiropractor during pregnancy will help to keep you active, adapting to the changes with more ease and keep you in proper pelvic alignment.  Talk to your chiropractor about your concerns so they can address them properly.  Working with your OB, midwives and/or doulas during labor will help you to have the best experience possible regardless of how things progress.  It is most important for moms and babies to go home healthy.  Postnatal chiropractic is also very important.  Pregnancy is work, labor is work, motherhood is work, so we need to do work afterwards to take care of our body.  In my next blog I will tell you all about how postnatal care works and why we do it. dane's 1st pic

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Fighting a Fever with Chiropractic

We survived our first fever.  For 10 years I have been treating children and so for 10 years I have been advising parents about how chiropractic care boosts the immune system and, when something does sneak by, how a chiropractic adjustment can help make the body work and fight better.  My son is 8 months old and has never been sick.  I believe the combination of breast milk and chiropractic care has kept his body healthy and kept all those daycare/grocery store/play date/etc.  germs at bay.  Within 24 hours of starting daycare he had a runny nose, but it has never gone beyond that to become an ear infection, sinus infection, upper respiratory infection, or anything else.  He is adjusted weekly, sees the pediatrician for well visits, is solely breastfed and at 6 months started on food which we make at home.

A few weeks ago his body had to work a little harder to get rid of a virus. His body produced a fever.  My immediate mom reaction was worry when he woke up with his little body very warm and the thermometer read 102.9, which is considered a moderate grade fever.  His personality was still charming and playful but his skin was on fire.  He is normally a warm and sweaty baby when he sleeps but this was past his normal.   It took me a minute to switch my brain out of worry mode and into solution mode.  As a chiropractor I have complete faith in the design of our body and its ability to function when interference is removed.  So I adjusted my son.  By lunchtime his fever was reduced to 101.5.  By dinner time it was back up to 102.7.  So I adjusted him again.  The only other change was that I did nurse him a little more throughout the day to keep him hydrated.  The next morning he woke up and his temperature was 98.6.  The fever did not come back.  The virus did not produce any other symptoms.

Now I am not saying that chiropractic care is a treatment for a fever.  A fever is a natural part of a child’s immune response. When it is functioning at its absolute best, a child’s body will fight off most foreign invaders so swiftly that they will have no outward effect at all. However, when necessary, a child’s immune system will raise their temperature to create a fever because that makes it a hostile environment for that invader. It’s how a properly functioning body functions and chiropractic does make sure the body can function at the highest level without interference.

Every parent fears their child getting sick.  Every parent worries about fevers and infections.  Every parent wants their baby to feel good and be healthy.  Sometimes we need medication.  Sometimes we need interventions.  But all the time we need our body to be working the best it can.  And that is what chiropractic care accomplishes. dane playing