How to Choose TEAM BABY for Your Pregnancy
If You are Pregnant, You NEED a Pregnancy Support Team
There are many excellent alternative health professionals near you who EXIST to help make your pregnancy easier. We are in your communities. We are aching to make a difference in your life… all you have to do is find us.
Many pregnant women just don’t know about the different services that can help them have more comfortable pregnancy. Here is a list of support professionals who can help to make your pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum recovery easier:
Doulas are women (angels, really) who are comfortable with birth and physically comfort both the labouring woman and her partner during this time of intense emotional stress and physical strength. Doulas are there for you throughout your entire labour and birth. They come to your home when you are in active labour and will know the best time during your labour to leave for your birthing place.
The presence of a doula at your birth is scientifically proven to make a significant difference in your birthing experience.[i] Hiring a birth doula is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help you achieve:
A shorter labour and birth
Reduced need for pain medication
Fewer cesarean births
Less frequent use of oxytocin (a drug used to speed up labour)
Less frequent use of forceps
Greater success with breastfeeding and breastfeeding for a longer time after birth
Greater satisfaction with your birth
Without doubt, your birth experience will be better because of a doula. Doulas provide physical and emotional reassurance as you labour along and they include your partner and help him (or her) to help you. Doulas provide comfort measures such as touch, gentle massage, movement, warm showers, baths and much more. Many doulas will take pictures for you and write a birth story, if you’d like them to.
Pregnancy Focused Chiropractors
Chiropractic care can relieve the physical discomforts of pregnancy, such as pain in the low back, hips, sacroiliac joints, ribs, mid-back and neck. Adjustments are safe and effective and can ease the aches and pains that pregnant women experience, especially when walking, getting up from chairs and turning over in bed.
Chiropractic care for pregnant women focusses mainly on the pelvis. As your baby grows and your belly gets bigger, your pubic bones are pulled downward. You start to lean back to balance the extra weight of your belly and breasts and most women notice low back pain, especially in their third trimester.
Chiropractic adjustments are safe and effective and focus on keeping a pregnant woman’s pelvis balanced and ready for birth. Chiropractors trained in Webster’s technique also correct torsioning of the pelvis that can easily happen with the looser ligaments caused by the hormone relaxin.
What I call a torsioned pelvis in my practice is when the woman’s tailbone shifts either right or left and the hip bones move forward or back to accommodate the movement of the sacrum and the tailbone. A torsioned pelvis can create back pain and the Webster technique is a gentle way to get the tailbone back into its optimal position and the pelvic bones level.
Because adjustments maintain a woman’s pelvis and sacrum in a balanced position and moving in an optimal pattern of motion, women who are adjusted regularly during their pregnancies can experience up to 25 per cent shorter labour times for first-time moms and 33 per cent shorter labour times for moms who have had previous babies.[ii]
The pregnant moms in our clinic find that when they are adjusted regularly, they are more comfortable, they can move their bodies more easily and they have an abundance of energy throughout their day.
If your baby is reluctant to turn into a head down position, find a chiropractor who is certified in the Webster technique and make an appointment as soon as possible. If a woman’s pelvis is torsioned (one side moves into flexion, the other into extension and the tailbone tips to one side) then the baby has a more difficult time engaging their head into the pelvis itself. The Webster technique helps move a torsioned pelvis into a level, balanced position so that the baby becomes better able to get his head into an optimal, head down position.
After birth, chiropractic adjustments can help your body return to your pre-pregnancy state more easily. New mothers find that the discomforts of pregnancy in the low back and pelvis shift to become discomforts of the mid-back and neck because of breastfeeding and carrying a newborn wherever you go. Adjustments keep your spine moving and flexible, and your body posture will be greatly improved as the ligaments in your body slowly tighten back into place.
Choose a chiropractor who is experienced with treating pregnant women. Your caregiver might know who in your area offers prenatal and postnatal chiropractic care. Ask your family members, friends and co-workers if they know of someone to recommend. A great place to look is the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) at www.icpa4kids.org and search your location for those of us who are certified in Webster’s technique.
Registered Massage Therapists
Massage during pregnancy can help to soothe tired, aching muscles, especially in the neck, shoulders and low back. In your early pregnancy, you might lie face down on a pregnancy table that opens to provide space for your belly. During the latter half of your pregnancy, you should be positioned on your side supported by pillows during your massage. Pregnant women who are massaged throughout their pregnancy enjoy comfort, relaxation and the added benefits of:
Decreased stress levels
Less swelling of the hands, legs and feet
Please choose a massage therapist who has taken pregnancy massage courses and who massages pregnant women regularly.
Doctors of naturopathic medicine are primary health care providers (just like medical doctors and chiropractors) who offer counseling on nutrition, lifestyle and exercise during pregnancy. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) assist in all stages of pregnancy care and postpartum recovery and can help to alleviate routine pregnancy complaints and chronic problems, such as nausea and gestational diabetes.
NDs use a wide range of therapeutic modalities, including herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutritional medicine and diet therapy. Naturopaths involved in maternity care offer homeopathic labour and birth kits, and classic herbal labour assisters, like pregnancy tea and mother's cordial.
As with all support professionals, choose a naturopath experienced in pregnancy care. To find an ND close to you, visit www.cand.ca in Canada, and www.naturopathic.org in the United States.
Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine
For doctors of traditional Chinese medicine, each month of pregnancy corresponds with a different acupuncture meridian. As practitioners, doctors of traditional Chinese medicine balance these meridians and strengthen the baby’s constitution throughout the pregnancy.
Traditional Chinese medicine helps to alleviate fertility problems, habitual miscarriages, morning sickness, back pain, swelling of the hands and feet, and urine retention. Doctors of traditional Chinese medicine can also provide natural labour induction.
If one of the above mentioned services interests you, ask your friends and family for the alternative health professionals they have on their own team, or search the web for someone local as soon as possible. We do better work the earlier we start care, and for some professionals, their available spaces on their schedules get taken quickly.
Good luck and all the best to you!
[i] Rachel Gurevich. The Doula Advantage. New York: Three Rivers Press: 2003.
[ii] JM Fallon. Chiropractic and pregnancy. A partnership for the future. ICA Intl Rev Chiro 1999; 46(6): 39-42.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.