At DGC recently I highlighted some topics you may like to cover in your Pregnancy Workshops. I would recommend one pregnancy workshop for those couples in trimester one and a subsequent workshop for those couples in second and third trimesters.
Obviously I don’t need to give you all the details as you will have your own language for describing many aspects, and this would also create a post that was very lengthy. Many chiropractors use Well Adjusted Babies to pad out this workshop.
Some of your pregnant couples may have been to your “Health Workshop” so the first few themes will be a refresher for them.
Initial themes for both workshops relate to communicating the importance of…
*What Is Health?
*The Power of the Nervous System and How It Works
*The Impact of the Subluxation
…Then moving onto…
*Chiropractic and the Pregnant Mother (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 8, Preparation For Birth)
- Chiropractic Offers Comfort for Mother, Baby and Birth
It is estimated that 50-90% of pregnant women have back pain in pregnancy. (References 1-6) Many of these women are concerned about taking pain-relieving drugs during pregnancy because of the unknown effects of their unborn child. Unfortunately three quarters of these women continue to experience pain after the birth.
Chiropractic Offers Comfort For Mothers
Chiropractic is often coined – “a pregnant woman’s secret weapon in pregnancy” because adjustments help women adapt to the enormous number of changes her body is experiencing. During pregnancy we see tissue growth and changes to the spine and joints and as the hormones surge ligaments become more relaxed. From week 14 strong, fibrous ligaments that support the pelvis and the spine start to ’let-go’ and loosen. This can create significant problems particularly if the mother has ever had accidents or falls as weaker joints feel less supported. When the spine moves out of correct alignment it impacts how well the nervous system communicates and performs.
With each successive pregnancy – pelvic musculature and ligamentous tissue stretch. Therefore, women who have had multiple pregnancies and have not consciously re-strengthened abdominal and spinal musculature is often highly susceptible to spinal misalignments.
Chiropractic offers comfort to mothers as it supports the spine and the nervous system to combat these physiological (body) and biomechanical (joint) changes.
Chiropractic Offers Comfort For Mothers Post Birth
Here elaborate on how when the nervous system functions well – then ultimately health and well-being improves. This is vitally important post birth when couples may be pushed or taxed through lack of sleep and physical demands. It is important to be able to rely on our health.
Chiropractic Offers Comfort For Babies
When hormonal changes and weight gain occur in pregnancy ultimately the alignment of the spine and pelvis is affected so to – is the environment of our babies. Chiropractic creates comfort for babies by allowing the pelvis to sit correctly, which then allow the baby to move freely within the womb rather then be being restricted and confined in anyway. This is EXTREMELY important because at this stage of life – babies learn via their brain stem via movement in the womb. Adjustments help to keep babies moving freely within the womb assisting good neurological feedback to the brain. This activates primitive reflexes and the development of vestibular system.
Chiropractic Offers Comfort For Births
Explain how when the pelvis sits correctly our babies are more likely to be able to move done into the birth canal, putting even pressure on the cervix which helps to create even dilation and more straightforward births.
A study by Diakow (1991) involving 400 pregnant women looked at the percentage of women suffering from back pain in pregnancy and whether chiropractic care helped to reduce back pain in labour. Of the 170 pregnancies with reported back pain, 72% also reported back pain during labour. Of the women studied, 37 received chiropractic adjustments during their pregnancies. It was found that 84% of these women reported relief of back pain during labour and 80% felt they required less pain relief or medical intervention.
Another study by Dr.Fallon (1990) reported on her clinical findings regarding the duration of labour with and without chiropractic care during pregnancy. While only a small group of women were studied she found that first time mothers on average went through a labour time of 14 hours whereas for those who had undergone chiropractic care the mean labour time was only 8 hours. Women who had previous experienced birth had an average labour time of 9 hours compared to a 4 to 5 hour labour time in the chiropractic group.
The next section of the workshop discusses…
- How pregnant mothers often stand and what is more ideal (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 4 Self-Care and Healthy Habits pages 75-76)
- Correct Sleeping positions — Lying on their side (left side later in pregnancy) pillow between legs and pillow against chest to prevent forward roll (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Preparation for Birth Chapter 8 page 168)
- Correct Sitting positions and positions to avoid — Avoid semi recumbent positions on the couch and in the car (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 8 Preparation for Birth page 186)
- Demonstrate correct technique for moving in and out of the car
- Carrying — Avoid carrying heavy items and reminders for pelvic floor strengthening. Avoid carrying toddlers. (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Preparation for Birth Chapter 8 page 177 TIPS FOR CARING FOR YOUR SPINE DURING PREGNANCY)
*Weight Gain, Exercise, Yoga
- Women who exercise have been shown to have shorter, easier labors (decreased by an average of two hours), less medical intervention (24% less caesareans and 14% reduced use of forceps), less fetal distress and a faster recovery. There is also less need for induced labors or epidurals. (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 4 Self- Care and Healthy Habits pages 76-78 and 174)
*Nutrition, Foods To Avoid, Allergies, Foods that Nourish
- Avoid trans fats, artificial sugars,
- Avoiding allergies in newborns and babies. Research indicates that if a mother has food allergies (e.g. cow’s milk protein allergy, wheat or gluten) then she is best to avoid these foods during her pregnancy (particularly last trimester) and whilst breastfeeding.
- Is fish safe, Which Fish? (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 5 – Good Nutrition for You and Your Unborn Baby)
- The benefits of probiotics, essential fatty acids and B vitamins for mothers and babies
- The dangers of Candida for mothers and babies during pregnancy and for post birth (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 14 Post Birth ABC’s – pages 329-339)
*Toxins – Drugs, Environmental, Foods
- Toxicological studies now clearly demonstrate there is no such thing as a placental barrier and studies have clinically found many insecticides and other toxic chemicals cross the placental and blood–brain barriers.
- Human fetuses are particularly sensitive to pesticide exposure because the brain is developing very rapidly and the fetus’ ability to detoxify contaminants is not fully developed.
- Help parents consider the effects of pesticides, phthalates (found in personal care and grooming products), BPA’s (found in plastics and packaging), mercury, Trans fats etc. (Please search for related posts on https://welladjusted.co/magazine/ )
- Placenta – Not the Barrier we once thought! — https://welladjusted.co/magazine/the-placenta-not-the-barrier-we-once-thought/
- Alcohol and Breastfeeding — https://welladjusted.co/magazine/breastfeeding-and-alcohol/
- Discuss impact of drugs in pregnancy (References and details in Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 14 Post Birth ABC’s – pages 126-129)
*Impact of Stress on unborn baby
- Explain Epigenetics role in allergies and immune stress – Stress in pregnancy is an environmental ‘driver’ for allergies and heightened immune responses – effects after birth often for a lifetime
*Birth Team, Birth Options
- Practitioners need to use a balance between HUMILITY and VITALISM when discussing birthing options. Explain that you’ll go into more detail in Workshop 2.
- This topic can be prefaced by a conversation around the following:
- Medical intervention in childbirth is fine when it is needed and there’s no doubt it can save the lives of some mothers and babies. As a mother and a practitioner would not ever want to assume to know the needs of another birthing woman. I believe we each have unique references around birth and therefore unique needs. What is important is that women look back on their births and feel pleased and satisified with their outcomes. One and five Australian women suffer post-natal depression these cases are linked to feelings of disappointment related to their births – so it is vitally important that women make empowered decisions around various birth outcomes.
- It is important that prior to birth parents investigate the smorgasbord of birth options available and select a birthing method that honours their needs. Further to this, exploring the risks involved with each option is imperative, as all births (and all forms of intervention) involve an element of risk —even natural vaginal births involve risk.
References and details in Chapter 10 The Realities of Intervention of Well Adjusted Babies.
*Discuss Birth Trauma
- Unfortunately many of us do not realise that the way our children enter the world may have a direct effect on their health. Birth trauma has the capacity to affect the baby’s nervous system, which in turn may then in some cases effect digestion, an infant’s capacity to breast feed or sleep well. Chapter 11 of Well Adjusted Babies outlines Birth Trauma further.
- Spine and nerve distress can at times arise from restricted or abnormal positioning in the uterus and also from the journey through the birth canal or potentially during the delivery process itself.
- Left unresolved, this spine and nerve dysfunction may place further stress on the communication systems of the body. The Journal of Neuroscience (2008) states that, although the first year of life may be a period of developmental vulnerability, it may also be a period in which therapeutic interventions would have the greatest positive effect. Chiropractors encourage parents to have their baby’s spine checked as soon as possible after birth to assess for nerve dysfunction which may have been induced through labour (and possibly during pregnancy).
- A chiropractor’s focus is to increase the neurological function of your child.
Further details in Ticklish – New Ways to Help Your Child Learn, Love and Play
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From the desk of…
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
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2. Skaggs CD, Prather H, Gross G, George JW, Thompson PA, Nelson DM. Back and pelvic pain in an underserved United States pregnant population: a preliminary descriptive survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007;30:130-4.
3. Skaggs CD, Nelson M, Prather H, Gross G. Documentation and classification of musculoskeletal pain in pregnancy. J Chiropr Educ 2004;18:83-4.
4. Pennick VE, Young G. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev 2007; Issue 2. Art No.: CD001139. DOI:10.1002/ 14651858.CD001139.pub2.
5. Perkins J, Hammer RL, Loubert PV. Identification and management of pregnancy-related low back pain. J Nurs Midwifery 1998;43:331-40.
6. Fast A. Low Back Pain in Pregnancy. Spine. 1987;12(4):368-371.
Diakow P. Gatsby T. et al. Back Pain During Pregnancy and Labour. JMPT. 1991;14:116-118.
Fallon J. Chiropractic and Pregnancy, A Partnership for the Future. International Review of Chiropractic. November/December 1990