Picking Your Prenatal Wellness Team

If you are expecting a baby then you probably have a lot on your mind. While it is the most natural thing in the world, having a baby has become an industry of products and recommendations; and you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Unfortunately, no one can make those choices for you, but your Chiropractor can help you make informed decisions.

Your Doctor of Chiropractic

A properly functioning spine and nervous system is an important part of a wellness pregnancy. In addition to the noticeable changes your pregnancy will cause your body, pregnancy can also cause subtle changes in the musculoskeletal system; changes your chiropractor is able to detect and correct.

The position of your growing baby will cause your center of gravity to shift and your spine will naturally alter itself to
accommodate this change. As a result, you may experience low back and pelvic pain. The increase in hormones during
pregnancy can also cause muscles, ligaments, cartilage and even bones to “soften” and become more pliable. Pelvic
bones may even become displaced or fixated. Since your hips will need to spread to accommodate the delivery of
your baby, fixated pelvic bones can lead to complications during delivery.

It’s especially important during pregnancy for nerve impulses to flow from your brain to all the parts of your body. A
slightly out-of-place vertebra can create nerve irritation, which can and will interfere with your body’s communication
system. By using special or modified techniques during your pregnancy, your Family Wellness Chiropractor can restore
the function of your nervous system, improving your overall wellness and increasing your comfort during your pregnancy and delivery.

In fact, research has proven that:

• 84% of pregnant women treated by Chiropractic care received profound relief from low back pain
• Women who received Chiropractic care had nearly a 25% reduction in the average labor time versus the “generally accepted average labor time” with women who had given birth in the past, that number rose to 33%
• Postpartum pain was relieved in 90 of 120 moms that received regular Chiropractic care

During your pregnancy, your Doctor of Chiropractic can do the following:

  1. Correct vertebral misalignment and relieve nerve interference with gentle adjustments.
  2. Help ensure that pelvic bones are properly aligned, contributing to a shorter and easier delivery.
  3. Re-establish the natural position and mobility of the joints.
  4. Provide freedom from the interference of normal nerve energy.
  5. Decrease the likelihood of your fetus being in the wrong position during the last trimester

More than just a treatment for low back pain, many mothers have come to recognize the vital role that Chiropractic care plays in a healthy pregnancy, reporting back to their Chiropractors that regular spinal adjustments helped them feel healthier during their pregnancy, decreased morning sickness, facilitated shorter labor and delivery times, and increased an overall sense of well-being.

A Midwife or A Non-Invasive Ob/Gyn

The term natural childbirth has become subjective – it depends on whom you’re talking about. A woman who delivered her baby vaginally in a hospital without the assistance of an epidural may claim to have chosen natural childbirth, but only the woman who had her baby at home with only a midwife and her family nearby would be telling the complete truth.

The term “natural childbirth” encompasses a variety of methods. In the Lamaze method, natural childbirth means the laboring woman consciously participates in the birth while medical techniques are applied freely as considered necessary.

The Bradley method focuses on avoiding pain medication but is open to medical intervention if necessary, but others do not consider it natural childbirth unless it occurs at home without any medical intervention.

Whatever your desire it’s important to make sure that your care provider is in agreement with your wishes. While the medical community claims that they will support your decisions the facts say otherwise.

Efforts have been made to educate and inform women about healthier deliveries since the 1970s but, despite how it looks, the situation hasn’t changed:

• Studies have shown that it’s possible to keep cesarean sections down to between 4% and 8% of deliveries and yet they’ve risen to almost 25%
• Epidurals are being given during almost 75% of all deliveries

With medical personnel convinced that they’re doing the “right thing,” it’s almost impossible to have a natural childbirth in a hospital. That’s why so many women are choosing home births or birthing centers where their choice to have natural childbirth will not only be accepted but encouraged.

Despite rumors to the contrary, home births are no more dangerous than a hospital birth; in reality, they may be safer since a home birth setting allows the care providers to engage in nutritional and health education while eliminating exposure to anesthetics that interfere with neonatal neurological development, and to bacteria or viruses that flourish in a hospital. Homebirth also means less disruption of bonding for the mother, baby, and the rest of the family.

Before you make your delivery decision, ask your Family Wellness Chiropractor for a list of local midwives and non-invasive obstetricians/gynecologists. Explore your options and make an informed decision.

Doula or Dontcha?

The word “doula” is derived from the Greek word for the most important slave or servant in the household who helped the lady of the house with childbearing. Today, the word has come to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth.”

If you are considering using a doula remember that an experienced doula:

• Recognizes birth as a life experience that the mother will always remember
• Stays by the side of the laboring woman through the entire labor and assists in preparing for and carrying out the parent’s plans for the birth
• Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance
• in getting the information an expectant mother needs to make good decisions
• Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience

With the recognition of their important contribution to the improved physical outcomes and emotional well-being of mothers and infants, the acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly.

In Summary

Pregnancy can be the most exciting time of your life, but concern about making the right decisions can tarnish the glow. Speak with your Doctor of Chiropractic today, if you’re pregnant or considering conceiving. Just as the decision to use a doula, midwife, or OB/GYN can affect your overall childbirth experience, so can your nutrition, exercise, and spinal health.

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Dr. Kim Harper

Dr. Harper's pre-med study was completed at the University of Iowa followed by her doctorate from Palmer College of Chiropractic. Upon graduation in 1993, Dr. Harper began practice in the Indianapolis area and has continued to work with families on the north side ever since.