Author: livewellpittsburgh

Chiropractic care to stop the cycle of sickness

Recently I have been hearing from many parents and seeing many Facebook posts about sick kids.  The constant cloud of sickness that seems to be taking over households.  Viruses and germs just passing back and forth from child to child to parent, over and over again in a cycle.  A lot of people are blaming this on the warm winter we are having, which can be a factor, but we will ALWAYS be exposed to stuff.  So how do you keep that stuff from taking over your loved ones?

Numerous research studies have shown that chiropractic care positively impacts immune system function.  The idea that chiropractic care can help the immune system work better is not a new one.  This concept has been supported by credible data for a century.  One great example is when Dr. Dan Murphy compiled some very interesting data regarding the use of chiropractic care during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.  According to the statistics presented by Dr. Murphy, influenza patients who were under chiropractic care rather than medical care during this epidemic had significantly higher survival rates.  Some even cite the success of chiropractic treatment during this epidemic as the historical turning point that allowed chiropractic care to survive as a profession.

Chiropractic care is designed to make sure your body has optimal nerve system function.  The nervous system and immune system are designed to work together to create the best response for the body to adapt and heal. When the nervous system is interfered with due to spinal misalignments and nerve problems (think posture changes, nerve irritation, disc problems, muscle tension) there is stress on the body that cause abnormal changes and that leads to a poorly coordinated immune response.  In simple terms, your body is too weak to fight off even small illnesses and you get sick often.

Subluxation is the term chiropractors use for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerves.  Your nerves control everything so they are very powerful.  Every organ and system of the body has a connection to the brain via the spinal cord and nervous system. Subluxations are an example of physical nerve stress that affects their ability to function. According to researchers, such stressful conditions lead to altered measures of immune function & increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases.

Look at yourself in the mirror and check your children as well.  From the front- is your head level or does one ear dip down closer to the shoulders than the other?  Are your shoulders level or do you notice that one bra strap is always slipping off?  Are your hips level or do you notice that your pants are always shorter on one side versus the other?  Do your shoes wear evenly?  From the side- are your ears over the shoulders?  Are your shoulders over your hips?  Are the shoulders rounded forward?  Is your weight in your heals?  Do you have a curve in your lower back?

Have yourself checked and adjusted.  Be the healthy role model in your family.  Get your kids under care early so they can avoid the buildup of damage.  Healthy moms = healthy families.

And don’t forget about your husband.  I have been in practice long enough to know that when a man walks into the office it is usually because his wife finally convinced him to come.  Men typically will avoid doctors because of the fear of being told “something is wrong”.  We all know how stressful it can be having a sick husband!  Get the whole family taken care of.  Live Well Chiropractic 724-940-3900

#chiroforthewholefamily #boostimmunefunction #nomorecoughsandcolds

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Not Your Mother’s Kegels

Most people have heard of pelvic floor muscles, but most people underestimate their importance and most people don’t do anything to improve their function.  Your pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that create a sling between your sacrum (bottom of your spine, triangular bone) and your pubic symphysis (front and center).  This sling supports your bladder, uterus and bowel.  50% of American women suffer from Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD).  Many do not ask their doctor for help with this condition because they are embarrassed or they shrug it off as “oh that is because I had a baby” or “that is because I am getting older and weak”.  If you are experiencing symptoms such as urinary issues, constipation, painful intercourse, or heavy pressure in the pelvis, you could have PFD.

Most women think that Kegels are the answer to correcting this problem and so that is all they do.  Kegels are important for strengthening the muscles when they have low tone, however, many women with PFD have muscles that are too tight, so constantly contracting them could worsen the problem.

Some women also think that since they haven’t had a baby, vaginal birth especially, or they are young that they don’t have to worry about PFD.  They are wrong.  Two common causes of PFD are sitting too much and standing with poor posture.  This affects many women.   As a chiropractor I see patients every day with pelvic tilt issues, sacral problems and bad daily habits of sitting.

Make sure to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor in your area to have an evaluation of your posture and spinal health.  If you already have a chiropractor, don’t be embarrassed to discuss PFD.  When I am assessing someone’s sacral alignment it is important to know if they are having any PFD symptoms.

Two keys to improving PFD are strengthening the glutes and improving flexibility in the hips.  Squats are a great way to strengthen the glutes, just make sure to watch your form.  You can start by using a chair to sit and stand with.  The yoga pose pigeon is great at stretching deep into the hips.  There are several deep hip stretches that I show my patients, just ask.

Some DON’Ts to be aware of are :

Don’t hold urine as it swells the bladder and increases risk of infection

Don’t go to the bathroom too often because it shrinks the bladder and increases the urge to urinate

Don’t push or strain to empty bladder or bowels

Don’t decrease fluid intake to decrease bathroom trips because dehydration is bad for the kidneys and increases risk of constipation

Don’t do high impact exercises such as running or jumping

Don’t consume a lot of caffeine and sugar

Don’t stand with a tucked pelvis

And please please please don’t keep quiet about your symptoms.  Your health professional can help and PFD is very treatable.

Contact Dr. Brie at 724-940-3900.  Belong to a women’s or mom’s group?  Dr. Brie is happy to come and talk about PFD and demonstrate stretches and discuss tips for treatment.

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Pubic Pain and Pregnancy

During pregnancy the body goes through many changes and we commonly get told the aches and pains are “normal” and “just a part of pregnancy”.  Yes, pains during pregnancy are common, but most of them can be controlled and we don’t need to just suffer through it until baby is born.  It is important for women to feel strong and confident during pregnancy and enjoy their growing belly.  It is important to sleep well, move well and feel well to keep the experience positive and keep mom’s body healthy.  Up until the insomnia kicked in the last few weeks and I was on the couch watching Gilmore Girls all night, I felt awesome and slept great during pregnancy.  It is also important to feel confident going into labor.  Mentally I was excited and nervous the morning my water broke, but physically I was ready.

One of the more common pains I treat during pregnancy is lower abdominal and pelvic pain.  Some women have associated lower back pain, some do not. The most common causes of anterior pains are round ligament stretching or pubic symphysis issues.  Both are treatable with chiropractic care.

The round ligaments are located on both sides of the abdomen.  They attach the uterus to the soft tissues of the groin.  Think bikini line, if the bikini went fairly high up on the hips like in the 80s (and coming back now I think).  The round ligaments support the growing baby and with that growth they stretch and become thicker.  The stretching can cause pain symptoms, often described as a quick jab or short stabbing pain.  The pain is most often present during transitional movements such as changing position in bed or going from sitting to standing.  Laughing, coughing, prolonged sitting or standing can also cause pain.  The pain can be sharp and intense, but usually lasts only seconds.  These pains often start during the 2nd trimester and get more intense in the 3rd if not treated.

Prenatal chiropractors use a technique called Webster’s to help reduce the pain associated with round ligament tension.  There is usually a connection between this ligament pain and a sacrum that has moved out of position.  Your chiropractor will address both issues.  It is important to have this taken care of so your pelvis is in the ideal position allowing baby to move freely and drop down into the pelvic outlet during labor.

Pubic symphysis issues can also be the culprit of anterior, lower abdominal pain.  Your chiropractor can address this as well.

Additionally, a warm bath may help or lying on your side with a pillow under the belly and your knees tucked up towards your stomach.

If you experience any severe pain or cramping, bleeding, nausea, vomiting, burning urination, pelvic pressure like baby is pushing down, sudden intense back pain when you haven’t had any prior or the pain feels like a contraction that never stops, call your OB or midwife immediately.  These could be signs of preterm labor, preeclampsia, placental abruption or another medical condition such as a UTI or appendicitis.  It is better to use caution.

Dr. Brie is a Webster certified practitioner.  The treatment is gentle, effective and usually covered by insurance.   If you are expecting or know somebody who is, make sure to share this information.

#roundligamentandchiropractic #websterpractitioner #drbriewexfordchiro

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Bed-Wetting and Chiropractic

Imagine you are a 10 year old boy and you love hanging with your friends and playing video games and all your friends get together for sleepovers but you can’t join them because you have bed-wetting issues.  How would that affect you?  Imagine you are the parent of this child who has to console them daily from the embarrassment as you hurry to change their bed sheets or repeatedly deny them consent to attend a slumber party.  Recently I have seen an influx of bed-wetting cases come into my office.  Most of them have been 8-12 year old boys, however, girls can be affected too.

Bed-wetting aka Enuresis  is often considered an “unfortunate childhood problem” and is often times left untreated.  Many parents sit anxiously and wait for the problem to resolve itself.  The traditional chiropractic approach is to adjust the spine, usually in the area of the lumbar spine or sacrum. Emptying of the bladder is controlled by the detrusor and trigone muscles.  The nerve supply to these muscles is via the sacral parasympathetic nerves from S2 to S4.  Bladder function is also controlled by the urogenital diaphragm which derives its nerve supply from the L2 spinal nerve.  Adjustments designed to reduce any nerve irritation in these areas can help improve bladder function.  Improved bladder function will likely reduce bed-wetting.

It makes me so happy when I child excitedly tells me about their first sleepover or a relived parent gives me a hug because they no longer have to console an embarrassed, sad child.

There are dietary changes that can help as well and some parents even use medications.  But it is important to correct the actual function of the bladder or the problem will only be resolved for the short term, if at all.

If you have a child that is bed-wetting make sure to send them for a chiropractic evaluation.  724-940-3900

 

More information can be found at http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Bed-Wetting/

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Concussions and Chiropractic

Concussions are a common issue with sports of any age.  We are seeing better diagnosis and protocols in regards to these injuries, but just like any injury, after it has happened there are limitations in treatment. Recently more attention has been focused on sports-related concussions in part due to the concussion-related deaths of high school athletes, cognitive problems in professional football players, and head injuries sidelining professional hockey players for extended periods of time.  Penguin’s fans will remember the extensive rehab that Sidney Crosby went through a few years ago to return to the ice after his concussion.  He had chiropractic treatment from Dr. Carrick that gave him great benefit and got him back to play.

I have heard from several parents over the years about the wait and see, trying several different medications with no changes while their child misses school, has changes in behavior, is no longer active, and is no longer enjoying activities.  We are blessed to live in Pittsburgh where we have some of the best medical doctors and practices.  One thing that most parents, and medical doctors, still don’t know about is the importance of chiropractic for these injuries.  There are several chiropractic techniques and the one that we use for concussion patients involves no rotation and is very gentle.  Concussion recovery can take a long time and is not only about getting back to play.

A few years ago I had a teenage girl who suffered a concussion from a slip and fall.  She missed most of her junior year of high school.  Not only was that difficult on her physically because concentrating and doing school work increased her symptoms, but it was difficult on her emotionally.  She was separated from her friends for a year, which in teen time is like a decade.  She missed school activities and dances.  She missed field trips and all the college prep that happens that year.  Once she was feeling better she was so excited to return to normal teen life and be involved in school activities again.

Concussions are not an easy fix and they take time, but chiropractic can be very beneficial in the healing process.  We work with all other doctors to make sure the patient is getting the best care.  If you know someone who has suffered from a past concussion or if currently receiving treatment, pass along our information.  Here are two articles with more information:

http://www.tihcij.com/Articles/Chiropractic-Management-of-Post-concussion-Headache-and-Neck-Pain-In-a-Young-Athlete-and-Implications-For-Return-To-Play.aspx?id=0000307

https://www.nhl.com/news/sidney-crosbys-recovery-to-include-more-treatment-from-chiropractor/c-612012

We are here to help.  www.livewellpgh.com  724-940-3900

#happyteenagain #dontwaitgethelp #choose2livewell

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Analyze Your Child’s Posture

When most people think of chiropractors they think of back issues and posture.  While we help patients with a variety of health areas, we absolutely help with back and posture issues.  Children don’t experience the same pains as an adult.  As an adult we earn our pains over years of trauma both physical and emotional.  We experience our pains as dull aches, soreness, spasms, cramps, sharp stabs.  We do repetitive activities for years to create layers and layer of damage (work duties, family duties, same hobbies, same sleeping position).  For children, the pain receptors aren’t as well developed so that is why your kid can fall or bump into a wall and bounce off and keep going.  In any person, pain is only a small portion of the nerves, about 10%, so it is easy for someone to have a problem without having pain.

One quick way to assess spinal health is to look at posture.  Looking at someone straight on, from the front we should see a level head, level shoulders and level hips.  From the side we should see the ears over the shoulders and shoulders over the hips.  We should be balanced and upright with only minor changes.  The body is good at compensating so these changes are the way the body deals with stressors and trauma.  Chiropractic corrects which the body cannot do alone.

In children who are not standing yet, we analyze the spine by looking at range of motion in the head.  Do they nurse equally from both breasts?  Can they turn in both directions?  When they are in the car seat or swing does their head flop to one side or stay centered?  Are their hips rotated?  Are there flat spots on the skull?  We also look at crawl pattern, bowel movement frequency, sleep habits, and primitive reflexes.  Primitive reflexes are something we are born with but they should go away as we age and our higher centers of brain function develop.  If we retain these reflexes then we know there is a neurologic issue with development.  One example of a primitive reflex is the grasp reflex where a child will grab your finger if you place it in their hand.  There are several that we check.

Last week I had a 3 year old boy brought into my office by his mother.  She noticed that his head was severely tilted to one side and he wouldn’t turn his head on that side.  He would turn his whole body and hold his head still.  When asked if he had pain he would point to his neck.  She did not recall any trauma.  An exam revealed a spinal misalignment of the second cervical bone which controls most of our rotation.  It also controls nervous system connections to the sinuses and the eyes and the scalp.

The posture exam revealed a severe head tilt to one side.  His ear was almost to his shoulder.  When asked to turn to that side he would rotate his body at the waist instead of the neck.  When I put a little pressure on the area he would flinch and pull my hand away.  Chiropractic treatment is very gentle and the amount of force is based on the person’s size so for a small child it is very light.  He did great with his treatment and after one visit his range of motion and posture were greatly improved.  He LOVES coming to the office and at night he excitedly asks his mom if “tomorrow do I go to Dr. Brie’s?” I love to see his big smile when I walk into the room.  He is feeling good, moving well, and playing like every child should.  Had mom not paid attention to the posture change she may have not gotten him help until an ear infection or sinus problem or balance issue showed up.

Check your child or bring them into the office for an evaluation.  www.livewellpgh.com 724-940-3900

#chiropracticforlife #posturepointers #choose2livewell

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Chiropractic for Constipation

My last blog focused on poop so I figured it was naturally a good follow up to discuss what happens when there is a lack of poop.  Constipation.  Late last year I had a patient referred into my office for constipation.  The patient is 3 years old and had been having only 1 bowel movement a week for several weeks.  She would cry because the pain of pooping was extreme, she would avoid having bowel movements for fear of pain and the parents were forced to use enemas.  This is devastating for a child and equally stressful for a parent.  After one adjustment she was having a bowel movement every 3-4 days, after the next it was every 2-3 days and after just a handful of treatments she was having daily bowel movements.  I love when she comes into the office with a big smile and says “I pooped!”  She is no longer afraid, no longer having pain and is back to being her playful self. The parents’ stress level is dramatically reduced.  The family was referred to my office by a friend and former patient.  Imagine if that hadn’t happened?  What colon issues were being created?  How was the stress affecting sleep?  How was the stress affecting the parents and their relationship?  What are the long term effects of medications and enemas?  What other issues were arising from holding toxins in her body vs. excreting them?  What about social and emotional stress?

Why do these complaints respond to Chiropractic care?

Chiropractic is not condition specific.  The goal is not to “treat” the constipation.  The goal is to make sure the body no longer has blockages in functioning.  A fully functioning body will be able to perform the task of having regular bowel movements to rid the body of waste.  Adjustments are used to structurally optimize the spine which reflects nervous system function.  Think of a garden hose that has a kink in it.  How well does the water flow out?  Same disruption happens when the spine is “kinked” by being out of alignment.  The nervous system is like the electrical system of the body.  The brain’s job is too gather sensory information, assess the situation and then transmit a proper response.  If the system is hindered then the proper response will not be sent and ultimately the body will have dysfunction (constipation, diarrhea, cramping, pain, etc.)

#bowelmovementsforthewin #chirokidsarehealthykids #poopingproblems #choose2livewell

Do you know a child who suffers from digestive issues?  Send them to the office today.  724-940-3900

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Parents Know Poop #chiropractickids #knowyourcolors

Never in my life have I thought about, talked about, or studied poop more than once my son was born.  Most of this discussion will focus on the bowel movements of a breastfed baby so remember that diapers of a breastfed baby can vary compared to a formula fed baby.  Many new parents become concerned when they see their child’s diapers and the colors of poop vary.  It is just one of the many things that we are unsure about and have never experienced.  Most of the time a slight change in color or consistency is normal and not concerning, just like in an adult, however there are a few things that parents should be making note of.

In the first 5 days after birth, your child’s poop is going to change in color from black to yellow.  Baby’s first poop is black and sticky. This is called meconium and it is odorless because until the intestines contain bacteria there is nothing to make poop stinky.  That doesn’t last long because bacteria starts to build with the first feeding.  Some babies will pass meconium while still in the uterus, usually as a result of an infection or a difficult delivery.  This is dangerous because the baby can aspirate the meconium and get a lung disease. Babies should have their first bowel movement sometime in the first 24 hours.  If it takes longer than this, doctors may start to look for problems such as intestinal blockages, an underdeveloped anus, or stool that is stuck, called a meconium plug.

By day 3 or 4 poop should turn a greenish color.  Then by day 5 it should be yellow.  Breastfed babies usually have bowel movements that are watery with little whitish seedy-looking bits. It is often described as mustard.  Formula-fed babies may have less watery stool, usually pasty in consistency and yellow or tan in color. Many parents get concerned if they see the stool is green rather than yellow but all earth tones are fine, from yellow to green to brown.

Parents should make note of 3 color changes- red, white and bright green.

Red: While blood in a baby’s stool may simply be the result from mom’s nipples bleeding, it’s always wise to have a doctor check the baby out.  Blood can be an indicator of illness, injury or allergies.

White: Poop the color of clay can be a sign of serious liver disease

Green:  The occasional green poop is not unusual in the breastfed baby but consistent green bowel movements are not normal for a breastfed baby. Most of the time, green poop is not a cause for serious concern.  It can indicate an imbalance of foremilk/hindmilk and mom may need to keep baby on one side longer for feedings. More serious, and fairly common, is bright green poop that is due to a sensitivity to something in the mother’s diet, most often dairy products.  Viral infections/colds can create mucusy green poop. Teething, eating large amounts of green foods and starting solids are also common causes.

Babies should have 6-8 wet diapers, ideally half wet and half bowel movements.  After the first 1-2 days you should not notice any orange or red urine.

Baby should not go more than 24 hours without a wet diaper.

As a parent you will have many dinner conversations regarding poop.  When was the last BM?  Was it big?  Was it solid?  And you will discuss the change as baby moves to solid foods and bowel movements get more solid and more stinky.  You will undoubtedly get poop on you at some point.  Have to use ninja maneuvers to get your child out of their onesie after an explosion.  But you will figure it out and before you know it you will have superparent powers and be able to analyze them, clean them, change them, and discard that diaper before that little hand even tries to sneak down to grab a fist full.

A Parent’s Choice

I often get asked from parents and grandparents “how do you know if a child needs to be adjusted?”  Or “how do you know if a child has brain and nervous system impairment?”  Just like any condition there are varying degrees of severity.  Children on the lower end of severity or children in whom issues take years to develop sometimes slip through the cracks and early intervention gets missed.  Did you know that most children are diagnosed on the spectrum at age 5, yet most parents recognize an issue around age 2?  How many times do parents get told that their child will “grow out of it” or “it is normal” and then by age 10 they are on a handful of medications for asthma, allergies, acid reflux, and other “normal” illnesses?  A friend of mine has a daughter who as an infant who would sleep no more than 45 minutes.  45 minutes!  Ever!  During the daytime naps, during the night time….no more than 45 minutes.  She also would keep her fists clenched tightly and would scream if not held.  The pediatrician said this was normal and would probably go away after a few months.  Normal?  No, this is not normal!  Luckily she reached out to me and within 3 visits her baby was relaxed and sleeping and smiling and has developed into a fun and active now 2 year old.

Every parent has a choice.   Every parent needs to determine what choice is best for their family.  That may not include chiropractic care.  That may include wait and see.  But for those families who are open to an evaluation, then an open mind is all I ask.  Once you have the information you can then make another choice.

The reason we recommend a baseline evaluation on every child is because once we know their baseline health it is easier to monitor for changes and potential problems.  There are several areas that we evaluate, in additional to spinal health, and several areas we recommend parents monitor.

  1. Emotional – Does your child shut down? Do they cry a lot?  Does their reaction seem to “not fit” the situation?  Are they impulsive?  Do they have a hard time transitioning from one situation to another?
  2. Behavioral- Do they become easily frustrated? Do they have a hard time communicating or using their imagination?  Are they delayed in milestones such as walking?  Are they clumsy?
  3. Personality- Have you seen them change from kind to mean? Have you seen a change from good student to failing?  Have you seen them change from social to isolated?  Do they have a poor self image?
  4. Sensory- Do they have an overreaction to touch, movement, sight or sound? Or an under-reaction?
  5. Learning- Do they have delays in speech and language? Do they have delays in academic achievement?

You may be wondering what this has to do with chiropractic.  Chiropractic is about whole body wellness.  About your body being able to grow and adapt and adjust.  The nervous system controls everything.  If a child has a learning disability and they get tutoring (which is also a super important step) then they may be able to pass a class and improve their classroom skills but it doesn’t help their brain and body function or remove past damage.  Dr. Chad has specific training for acute injuries that help many people.  I have specific training in child development and prenatal care.  Happy pregnancy = Happy baby.  Healthy mom = Healthy baby.  A baseline assessment as well as routine chiropractic care can help a child grow without interference and help us recognize delays and changes sooner allowing for earlier intervention.  Most children I treat are healthy and their parents have been patients and the family is on a wellness routine with chiropractic.  Many parents of children with health issues don’t realize they may be helped with chiropractic.  If you are one of those parents or you know someone who has a child who is always sick, taking a bunch of medications, always at doctor’s appointments…..share our information.  Don’t give up on your child’s health before speaking with me.

#chiropractickidswexford #chiropracticforthewin #proactivenotreactive

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Happy Mom = Happy Baby

Today when I dropped Dane off at daycare one of his teachers mentioned to me how he is such a good eater, is always so content and happy and just loves to play and move. She said that in all her years of taking care of children she has always noticed that the happiest children seem to have moms who were happy when pregnant. I could not agree more! Happy moms = happy babies. Creating a positive environment during development is crucial. That is why I am devoted to helping moms feel confident and strong during pregnancy and labor.

I loved pregnancy as much as one can.  I didn’t enjoy the reflux or having my feet look like footballs but being pregnant was such an amazing journey.

You are already aware that stress and conflict affect your health. Think about how your body posture and tension changes when you are stuck in traffic.  How your jaw tightens up when speaking to someone who is stressing you out.  How your heart rate increases when you recall a stressful memory.  When pregnant, this also has an impact on the baby growing inside of you.  There have been studies that prove these stresses and negativity can cause a greater likelihood for lower birth weights, or that traumatic events can even impact a baby’s brain development. One Danish study of babies born between 1973 – 1995 showed a 67% bigger risk of developing psychological disorders, such as bipolar or schizophrenia, when the mother was subjected to extreme stress.

Preterm or premature delivery is another hazard, which can also be dangerous for your baby. Although technology has come a long way to help save premature babies, the risks involved with your baby’s health can be very costly. Remember that your baby feels what you are feeling.

“Excessive worrying and negative feelings take a physical, mental and emotional toll on a pregnant woman,” says Irene E. Aga, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “A woman with a positive attitude can focus on eating well, sleeping enough and staying active. She is also able to focus on the miraculous changes within her body and on the developing relationship with her unborn infant.”

 

So make sure you are surround yourself with positive people and do what you can to stay active, feel great and ENJOY your pregnancy.

If you know any expectant moms make sure to tell them about Live Well and share our information. #choose2livewell #healthymomshealthybabies #positivepregnancy #chiropractic4life

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