Category Archives: Pregnancy

Wellness Delivery

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A Wellness Delivery

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

One of the most exciting times in a woman’s life is when she finds out that she is expecting a baby. She’s so excited about the prospect of being a mom but there’s really only one thing on her mind: she wants the baby delivered safely and healthy.

Suddenly she’s not just making decisions for herself, but also for the still-developing person inside of her. Yet, the reality is that the decisions she makes during her pregnancy will probably not actually be hers.

OB/GYN or Midwife?

This is a decision that the mom-to-be must be allowed to make for herself based upon the most accurate information available to her. The truth is, many women don’t realize how available and accessible midwives are becoming and so they tend to immediately begin researching Obstetrician/Gynecologists (OB/GYN’s).

Once the news gets out that they’re expecting, most women find themselves being encouraged or even pressured by friends and family to use a specific OB/GYN that once delivered the baby of someone in their circle of influence. While that practitioner may be more than capable, he or she might not be the best choice knowing all the wellness options available.

When studying negligence in the gynecological and obstetrical profession, despite the fact that obstetricians make up only 3% of all medical doctors, OB/GYN’s account for almost a third of all reports of negligence.

On the other hand, Suzanne Arms, an advocate for pregnant women and midwives, states that science has proven that “midwives are the specialists in normal birth and most women don’t need a doctor [for delivery].”

Home or Hospital?

An idea that was once thought archaic is becoming the recommended option for delivering a baby naturally. A landmark study by the British Medical Journal in 2005 shows that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth for low risk women, while carrying a much lower rate of medical interventions, including cesarean section.

In 2000, Canadian researchers Kenneth Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss studied over 5,400 low-risk pregnancies in the United States and Canada where the decision had been made to deliver at home, and compared their results with the outcomes of 3,360,868 low-risk hospital births. The results were telling:

  • Planned home birth carried a rate of 1.7 infant deaths per 1000 live births, a rate “consistent with most North American studies of intended births out of hospital and low risk hospital births”
  • There were no maternal deaths
  • Medical intervention rates were dramatically lower when compared to those in hospital births
  • Episiotomy rate of 2.1% compared to 33% in hospitals
  • C-section rate of 3.7% compared with 19%
  • Electronic fetal monitoring rate of 9.6% compared with 84.3% in hospitals
  • 97% of over 500 participants who were randomly contacted to validate birth outcomes reported that they were extremely or very satisfied with the care they received during their home birth

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“Most women find themselves encouraged to use a specific OB/GYN instead of looking at the best wellness options.”

There was a time when home birthing was considered old-fashioned, but women armed with the facts are choosing to have their babies at home, recognizing that it’s best for both them and their unborn child.

The Midwives Alliance of North American (MANA) recommends the following website for midwife referrals: http://mothersnaturally.org/midwives/findAMidwife.php

Surgical or Natural Birth?

Despite the advancements in technology and the reported improvements in medical care, c-sections have risen to 1 in 3 deliveries for women in North America. About 1.3 million women gave birth via cesarean section in 2005, which is a 38% increase in just 10 years, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported in 2008.

This increase is not surprising considering vaginal deliveries decreased by 3% during the same time span, with the sharpest decline being among women who had previously delivered via c-section. It was determined that vaginal deliveries among these women dropped by an astonishing 60% between 1995 and 2005.

The decision to have a vaginal delivery after a c-section is being taken out of the hands of the mother by hospitals requiring that the OB/GYN remain in the hospital for the entire labor. Since these practitioners refuse to do so, the decision is taken away from the mother and she is forced to have another c-section.

The truth is that vaginal deliveries are no more dangerous after a c-section than prior to one, and the fact that the decision is ultimately the mother’s are two pieces of information that hospitals don’t want pregnant women to know.

Induce or Wait for Nature?

This may not seem like it’s a choice that the mother can make, but it is, and the right choice is always to wait. Due dates have proven to be notoriously inaccurate and, according to Dr. Katz, et al, they should be eliminated entirely.

Dr. Vern Katz and her colleagues from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon reported that the calculations used to set a woman’s “due date” based upon her menstrual periods is “flawed”. The use of an estimated gestational period to determine the best care for the patient is causing confusion and the patient does not treat this date as an estimate. She, and her entire family, considers that date a very specific point in time that they are looking forward to quite anxiously.

As the “due date” approaches, if there have been no signs of labor, the mother begins to grow anxious and distressed. This typically leads to a recommendation by her OB/GYN to induce delivery, usually leading to further interventions in birth. The problem with this is that intervention in the delivery process frequently leads to trauma for both the mother and the baby.

Dr. Kats and her colleagues conclude that doctors should expand the concept of a due date to a “due week” and, in this way, “allow biology [or nature] to take it’s course a bit more”.

The Chiropractic Factor

Whether or not to see a Chiropractor during pregnancy is one of the most important decisions an expectant mother will make. Pregnancy is an impor- tant time for nerve impulses to flow uninterrupted from the brain to all the parts of the body.

A slightly misplaced vertebra (Vertebral Subluxation) can create nerve irritation, which can and will interfere with the body’s nervous system. By using special or modified techniques, your Family Wellness Chiropractor can restore the function of your nervous system and improve your overall wellness. This can help ensure a more quality labor 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 verses the “accepted average labor time”
  • With women who had given birth in the past, that number rose to 33%
  • Postpartum pain was relieved in 75% of moms

Picking Your Prenatal Wellness Team

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Picking Your Prenatal Wellness Team

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

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 verses 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:

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

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“Ask your Chiropractor today about prenatal Chiropractic care for you and your baby’s health.”

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 with whom you’re talking. 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 1970’s 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 natural childbirth in a hospital. That’s why so many women are choosing homebirths or birthing centers where their choice to have a 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. A home birth 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 obstetrician/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.