When pregnant mothers frequent my office, we often discuss their birth plan along with their pregnancy experience. Typically, women committed to chiropractic care are of the more natural mindset and plan for unmedicated births whenever possible. One of the biggest pieces of advice that I offer is to hire a doula. Not just any doula, but a doula who you feel connected with.
You will read about how a doula will support a birthing mother and help educate couples about birth; some are even known as postpartum doulas and help after the baby is born. But what you will not read is about the emotional support, the true in-the-moment help that a doula provides. There is an unselfish act of giving herself – her entire being – to ensure that a mother brings her child into the world safely, and as peacefully as possible. A doula does not push her believes or choices on families, but instead, she accepts and fights for what a mother wants. She will spend hours, even days, foregoing her own needs to support the birthing mother. These are the events that the research cannot tell you.These are the stories you must hear from mothers who have given birth with a doula present.
There is also a science behind childbirth and doulas. Actually, there is quite a bit of science. Researchers have studied how doulas impact birth, and the results are nothing less than I would expect. Labors involving doulas are significantly shorter with greater progress (dilation) made before entering a hospital or place of birth – and far more progress before the accepting of medical interventions (epidural). Research also shows the having a doula lowers the risk of an unplanned cesarean section and increases APGAR scores at both 1 and 5-minutes post-birth.
to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, “Doula-assisted mothers (are) four times less likely to have a low birth weight (LBW) baby, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding. Communication with and encouragement from a doula throughout the pregnancy may increase the mother’s self-efficacy regarding her ability to impact her own pregnancy outcomes.”
It is more than just emotional, physical, and educational support that a doula gives to a birthing woman. She is her advocate. Her voice helps account for the reduced need for interventions during birth, less complications, and an overall happier experience during and after birth.
Research shows that doulas create a:
- 12% increased chance of spontaneous vaginal birth
- 28% decreased chance of c-section
- 31% decreased chance of accepting an epidural
- 34% decreased chance of being unhappy with the birthing experience as a whole
It is important to note that doulas can be utilized for any birth situation. A planned c-section still needs support and advocating – just as much as an unmedicated vaginal birth.
I feel as though many couples are afraid of having “another body” in the room with them, but to these couples, I encourage you to reach out and interview doulas in your area. The right doula will never feel like a body taking up space, but as a partner in your birthing team. Hospital nurses have been reduced and their time is spread thin. The days when a nurse was by a woman’s bedside throughout her labor as a supportive figure are gone. This paired with our society’s need to intervene with the birthing process, leaves many couples feeling defeated. A feeling that belongs nowhere near pregnancy, labor, or birth.
One of the largest take aways from the research is this: There is absolutely zero harm that has been proven in having a doula present for birth.
The rate of surgical births (c-sections) has declined from 32.2% to now 32.0% (as of 2015); a statistic that means close to 1 in 3 pregnant women will still be in the operating room to bring their baby into the world. While there are numerous ways to help prevent this from happening to you, the top of the list includes being educated. Understanding pregnancy, labor, birth, and the natural abilities of the body can lower the risk of delivering via c-section. However, the odds are against so many mothers, and unfortunately many of the mothers and infants in my practice began seeking my care after experiencing a surgical birth.
One of the first questions that I am asked by these mothers is, “Can I see a chiropractor after having a c-section?” The answer is an overwhelming, “Yes.”
There are several reasons for a c-section to take place, but even when completely necessary, the mother and newborn may have negative side effects. Chiropractic care can be life-changing for these families suffering from daily pain and problems with their baby.
During a C-Section:
· An epidural is given. This can cause issues within itself for both mother and baby in relation to chronic pain after delivery.
· The baby is pulled from the womb through a small incision, which means that the neck and head are forced into an unnatural angle, the plates of the skull do not experience the pressure they need for proper placement and development, and the lungs are not compressed through contractions as the baby passes through the birth canal. All of these issues are linked to weakening the immune system, as well as evoking stress hormones to be released.
You can imagine the impact this has on the infant’s alignment.
Babies born via c-section are at an increased risk of experiencing:
· Chronic Pain. Stress hormones are released and can cause mental and physical discomfort.
· Chronic Illness: Obesity, allergies, asthma, and diabetes top the list.
· Subluxations (neurostructural dysfunction) due to delivery method and position in the womb.
· Improper Microbiome Balance due to not passing through the birth canal and avoiding the absorbing of the mother’s bacteria meant to create the foundation of proper gut health in the baby.
Studies show that infants are affected for at least the first two year of life after being born by c-section. The research points to these problems continuing throughout childhood and into adulthood as well, but more time is needed to continue the studies.
Chiropractic care can eliminate the subluxations that cause the above-mentioned problems. Most women who choose chiropractic care do so because it is not invasive, there are no medications needed, and it is a safe and effective option for healing both mother and her baby. A highly-qualified family chiropractor can work wonders.
Once you have learned that you have gestational diabetes, it is up to you to handle your blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association states that there is no known cure for gestational diabetes, but that treating the condition is done in two ways: Diet and Exercise.
Even if you are required to monitor your glucose levels daily and administer insulin shots, you will still be asked to change your diet and increase your exercise level. (Always ask to alter your lifestyle and retest before accepting insulin shots.)
As a chiropractor, I have had the opportunity to discuss this topic in length with many clients. I’m going to break down my gestational diabetes diet and exercise recommendations into easy to manage ideas that you can incorporate into your daily life without feeling deprived, and at the same time lower your chances of having a c-section. Remember to consult your midwife or doctor before altering your lifestyle drastically.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) does not meet our nutritional needs. 6-11 servings of breads and grains per day? Are you kidding? That’s a diabetic’s nightmare. It’s easy to see just why so many people are experiencing conditions such as gestational diabetes. We are addicted to sugar and other foods that break down into sugar. We cannot let go of dairy or pesticide-sprayed gluten and wheat. We can’t put down the GMO-filled, processed products. But we are suffering. Not only are we suffering, but our children are too – even in utero.
You do not have to wait until the diagnosis has been handed to you before you change your diet. Ideally, you should alter and follow a healthier diet and lifestyle before you are pregnant, or at least once pregnancy is confirmed. But, if you are now wondering how to help manage your condition, then it is definitely time to reevaluate your diet:
DROP ALL PROCESSED FOODS. If it comes in a box or bag, drop it.
Stay away from sugar.
Eat every 2-3 hours – including a midnight snack. It is recommended to eat small meals every 2-3 hours so your body becomes used to regularly processing and absorbing nutrients, which helps to prevent the highs and lows of blood sugar levels that characterize diabetes.
Keep carbohydrates to a minimum and eat them in the middle of the day. Complex carbohydrates break down to more valuable forms of sugar that are harder to digest and have less of an impact on the insulin fluctuations in your body. Eliminating simple carbohydrates could help prevent or treat gestational diabetes.
Increase your protein. One of the important functions of protein is to help break down carbohydrates. Eating at least 85-120g of protein a day is essential for optimal pregnancy health and fetal development. If you are eating whole-food carbohydrate, pair it with protein. This will ease the digestive process and regulate your metabolism to only release or utilize the necessary amounts of insulin.
Follow the Brewer’s Pregnancy Diet or other high protein, low carbohydrate/sugar diet. This will give you a great way to track your food and influence your decisions.
Increase your fiber. Fiber can stimulate the activity of insulin receptors and can also inhibit the release of excess insulin into the bloodstream, helping to balance the levels of insulin and prevent the onset of diabetes.
Foods to include:
- Flaxseed (fiber)
- Brewer’s Yeast (natural chromium)
- Eggs (Free range, organic if possible – 1-2 each day): Eggs are high in choline, which helps promote baby’s growth and brain development.
- Whole Fat Yogurt (or greek yogurt): avoid added fruits and sugars
- Grass Fed Meat (local or organic if possible)
- Grass Fed Butter
- Wild Caught Fish (salmon especially): high in omega-3’s
- Tomatoes: The main antioxidant in tomatoes is Lycopene, which has been linked to the reduction of preeclampsia.
- Sweet Potatoes: Full of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and B6, folate and fiber
- Dark, Leafy Greens: Full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Spinach is also a great source of non-dairy calcium and fiber.
- Beans: Full of fiber, protein, folate, iron, calcium and zinc.
- Apples (Pair with a protein like peanut butter)
- Citrus Fruits
- Green Beans
- Chia Seeds
- Fats/Oils: animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil, olives, avocados, fish oils, etc. should be high quality.
Note that some fruit and vegetables effect blood sugar levels more than others. For example, the following should be eaten with protein:
- Ripe Bananas
Foods to Avoid:
- White Foods – White potatoes, white rice, white bread, white pasta.
- Candy, Cookies, Cakes – Sweets in general.
- Processed Products: Processed, packaged, and most restaurant food quality is impossible to predict.
Supplements to Consider: (Again, talk to your doctor before adding or altering your diet or supplements.)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Chromium – it is used up whenever sugar or flour is digested. It naturally runs low in the third trimester, but an unhealthy diet completely depletes it. (Some people have seen drastic results in their glucose numbers with two weeks of supplementing with chromium.)
- Inositol- studies show improved insulin sensitivity and decreased glucose levels with the use of inositol while pregnant.
- Dandelion Herb
- Astragalus – Research shows that astragalus (along with traditional treatments for gestational diabetes) is linked to significantly better blood sugar control and milder symptoms of gestational diabetes.
One hour of exercise each day, even broken into two 30 minute sessions is enough to help raise the heartrate for the body to manage weight gain, prevent or manage gestational diabetes, and help maintain a healthy pregnancy overall. While walking technically is exercise, you need to make sure that it is more than a leisurely stroll. The body doesn’t truly recognize your normal walking pace as needing an increased heartrate.
Great ways to exercise while pregnant:
- Continue your normal exercise routine, if you have been active.
- Enroll in prenatal classes, such as bootcamps, yoga, aerobics, or basic prenatal fitness.
- Walk farther and quicker than your leisurely pace, trying to break a small sweat.
- Elliptical or other stationary equipment
- Strength Training with or without weights
It is also worth northing that Berberine has been shown to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism in vitro.
Studies Prove 70% improvement of Asthma with chiropractic alignments!! So, why aren’t more children under chiropractic care?
By Dr. Brenda Fairchild
I hear all the time in the office from parents that their doctor has told them that there is not much that he or she can do about their child’s asthma. Conventional pediatricians suggest that the child may outgrow it, and in the meantime prescribe steroid treatments and/or inhalers for acute symptoms. Parents often feel like they have tried everything. Inhalers, steroids, and all different types of medications and nothing has helped. They are sick and tired of hearing their child struggle to breathe. They are sick and tired of missing work and for their kids missing school … according to the American Lung Association, “Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism; in 2008, asthma accounted for an estimated 14.4 million lost school days in children with an asthma attack in the previous year.” How much school as your child missed?? http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/resources/facts-and-figures/asthma-children-fact-sheet.html
Parents come to me, Dr. Brenda Fairchild, because they are frustrated, feel helpless watching their child gasping for air, and feel like they are failing as a parent. They are tired of their child being one of the 7.1 million children chronically suffering from asthma. When I first meet a parent and child(ren), I always ask why they are in my office. Did they hear that chiropractic can help with their child’s condition? Were they referred by a pediatrician (highly doubtful…but you never know)? Most parents aren’t always sure why or how they ended up at Pea and the Pod, but they know they need to make a change in their family’s health and NOW! So, what can a pediatric chiropractor do to help their family? I am going to give you a best kept secret to help your child’s asthma. You will be amazed how much better they will feel!
First and foremost, any child with Asthma, difficulty breathing, or other health condition, will be physically adjusted. This is not an option in care at my office. And here is why: the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery conducted a study of 3,013 patients with bronchial asthma published in 2004 found they were able to “alleviate bronchial asthma and allergies by improvement of neurology causes by chronically narrowed intervertebral foraminae from the 2nd to 4th and 8th to the 10th thoracic vertebrae…Asthma patients improved by 70%.” This is just a complex way of saying that professional adjustment of the spine in the right place can alleviate breathing difficulties by 70%. That’s right!! A 70% improvement!!! I don’t think any medicine can claim that much of an improvement. What this means to YOU and YOUR child, is that misalignments of the spine in the mid-back of your child can be exasperating the asthma. This is why chiropractic care is SO important for the health of your child! This is why I will not see children whose parents do not what their children adjusted. I cannot ignore a 70% improvement of asthma and you should not either. https://ispub.com/IJOS/2/1/8061
Another random clinical trial of 36 children with chronic asthma were studied over 3 months with chiropractic care along with medical care. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11514813 Those with chiropractic care had greatly improved quality of life and decreased asthma severity, while those children under standard medical pulmonary treatments, showed little to no statistical improvement. Please read that sentence again. Chiropractic care along with medical care improved symptoms, while medical care alone did not!
Another study by the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research of 81 asthmatic children reported an improvement in 90.1% after being under chiropractic care for 60 days, ages ranged from 1-17 years of age. The number of asthma “attacks” decreased by an average of 44.9%, and 30.9% decreased their medication by 66.5%. The authors concluded that “Chiropractic care, for correction of vertebral subluxation, is a safe, non-pharmaceutical health care approach which may also be associated with significant decreases in asthma related impairment as well as a decreased incidence of asthmatic `attacks.’”
This is why, before you change anything, your child should be being seen by a pediatric chiropractor ASAP. But it just doesn’t stop at chiropractic care, you have to look at diet and make changes, and possibly add supplements. In my office, I generally order blood work on my clients as it can help to reveal the big picture. Is your child also allergic to milk or gluten? I like to start with removing dairy from the diet first, as it is the a more common intolerance, and easier to remove from the diet than gluten. In addition, dairy products are implicated in excess mucus formation. How much added sugar is your child consuming? Is your child vitamin D deficient?? Many children are, especially in the winter months, and supplementation can help breathing (and overall health and immunity) improve significantly. Are there pets in your house? How often do you clean your house? What kind of cleaners are you using? What other medications or supplements are your children taking? These are all questions you should be asking yourself. Taking control of your child’s health is important and I know from the conversations in my office that many doctors are not addressing these questions. At Pea and the Pod Chiropractic we will help guide you and your family, and help you figure out the best way to heal your child. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for children. Individuals need individual care and we will be your partner in health!
Call Pea and the Pod Chiropractic today to make the change! 302.368.0800 And don’t forget, Dr. Brenda is specialized in Pediatric Chiropractic Care!