I have often suggested that my clients look into chiropractic care as part of their labour preparation and wellness. After all, I’ve certainly noticed a difference in the way labours have progressed for clients who had incorporated Chiro into their prenatal care.
It’s almost a knee jerk response from doulas, some midwives, and even many obstetricians and family doctors – are you seeing a chiropractor? “Oh! You have back pain in pregnancy – have you been seeing a chiropractor?”, or “Oh, you’re hoping to improve the health of your pelvis for birth – any chance you’ve been seeing a chiropractor yet?”, even “A chiropractor can help influence your breech baby to turn with the Webster technique – would you like a referral?”.
I have to admit though, I didn’t know much about how chiropractic care actually works, or how to reply when a client asked me “When should I see a chiropractor during pregnancy?” (Spoiler …go now! It’s never too early or too late!)
This past week I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Claudia Sacco of Quarry Park Chiropractic and Wellness Centre who was kind enough to walk me through all of the basics!
Originally from Calgary, Dr. Sacco has been practicing at Quarry Park Chiropractic and Wellness Centre since 2013. As a certified Webster technician she is able to help with many of the aches and pains of normal pregnancy AND with more specialized needs such as influencing breech or transverse babies to turn. I quickly learned that she has both a very body positive, holistic approach to prenatal care as well extremely healthy respect for women’s bodies and our ability to conceive, grow, and birth our children.
Dr. Sacco explained that when the spinal and muscular systems are in optimal alignment, all of the hormone and chemical reactions in our bodies become optimal (or at least closer to optimal) as well. In the case of less than perfectly positioned babies, the Webster Technique can help to ensure that there is adequate space for your baby to rotate and come down into the pelvis in a more appropriate (and less uncomfortable for you) shape and position. This can help with shortening the dilation and pushing stages of labour and may help to avoid the need for an External Cephalic Version (ECV) to try to turn your baby, and may help to avoid having a caesarean for malpositioned babies.
What I did NOT know though, is that you can also see a chiropractor BEFORE you become pregnant. If you are dealing with infertility, seeing a chiropractor can help not only in terms of optimizing your muscular and skeletal health, but by connecting the dots between the various specialists, symptoms, and diagnoses. This may help when nailing down an action plan for you and your partner. A chiropractor is also able to refer you to a specialist if needed.
So if a chiropractor can help you before and during your pregnancy, what about after? Dr. Sacco talked with me about the physical changes your body goes through as it shifts into a new normal after birth (did you know your spine does a complete rotation?! Me neither!). Between your hips, shoulders, and ribs, your entire body has to (fairly quickly) pop as close to being back into place as possible after your baby is born and chiropractic care can help to ensure that this happens as smoothly and healthfully as possible.
Dr. Sacco and I also chatted about one other type of care that I had not given much thought to. Newborn adjustments. Now I don’t know about you, but when I imagine a tiny tiny brand new little baby going to a chiropractor…I cringed. It scared the heck out of me! After learning more about the approach, learning that it is extremely gentle (not the same treatment that a football player would get that’s for sure) I had much less trepidation about the process. Treatments are done with baby on mom’s chest using Dr. Sacco’s pinky fingers and the baby’s own body weight. Of most benefit to babies whose births included forceps, vacuum, or who were born by caesarean section, newborn chiropractic care can help with sleep, digestion (colic), and overall wellness.
Have you considered seeing a chiropractor as part of your perinatal wellness plan? Comment and tell me what your experiences were like!!
For more information about Dr. Sacco, visit her website at www.quarryparkchiropractic.com
Other perinatal chiropractic resources: