In 1979 I became pregnant with our first child and having heard all the stories about childbirth I was determined to have a different experience! Having decided on a Responsible Homebirth we were fortunate to be introduced to a wonderful Dutch lady who then introduced us to the Homebirth movement. We went on to have five children born at home naturally with the support of regular Chiropractic Care. In Holland today 30% of births are still homebirths. Through Henny we discovered Dr Grantly Dick-Read’s book – Childbirth Without Fear. I consumed the pages and determined – yes – there really was another way to bring our babies into the world. We are delighted to be able to introduce other prospective parents to the work of Dr Grantly Dick Read and his book Childbirth Without Fear.
Born in Britain in 1890, Grantly Dick-Read studied at Cambridge and at the London Hospital. He soon realised that there was something inherently wrong with the traditional methods of delivering babies, with their emphasis on intervention and the extensive use of anaesthetics. The publication of his book Childbirth without Fear caused widespread controversy, but, encouraged by many women who had given birth using the ‘Dick-Read method’, he dedicated his life to promoting natural childbirth. He conducted an extensive tour in South Africa investigating childbirth practices of African tribes, which he described in his book No Time for Fear.
At first glance most people don’t see the connection between chiropractic care and pregnancy and birthing, however there are four stages in which having an optimally working nervous system and structural support, help both mother and child and gives the birthing mother the confidence to trust her body.
Chiropractic care prior to conception promotes a more regular menstrual cycle and optimal uterine function. It prepares the body to be strong and supple and as balanced as possible to carry out pregnancy. Many couples who thought they were infertile have been helped by restoring proper nerve supply to reproductive organs.
Regular care during pregnancy helps maintain balance, alignment and flexibility. Many report less morning sickness and when the baby is comfortable, it can assume the optimal birthing position.
Labour and Birth
Mothers who get adjusted seem to require less high-tech intervention. Most report shorter, less traumatic births. With proper nerve supply, well-timed contractions help move the baby more easily through the birth canal.
Even natural births can stress a baby’s spine. Breastfeeding problems can arise if the baby is unable to comfortably turn it’s head.
Being born is a natural process. It’s what has been done to the birth process that has become increasingly suspect. In hospitals a severe drop in temperature, loud noises, bright lights, suction extraction and other insensitivities often accompany a newborn’s introduction to the world, not to mention caeserean, forceps or vacuum extractions. The routine administration of drugs and anaesthesia can have unfortunate effects too.
Groundbreaking research has, for the first time, identified changes that occur in the body with chiropractic care that may have important health benefits for the care of pregnant women and delivery of their babies. Auckland PhD researcher, Dr Heidi Haavik-Taylor, conducted a study that demonstrates that chiropractic care sends signals to the brain that change the way the brain controls muscles. “The process of a spinal adjustment is like rebooting a computer. The signals that these adjustments send to the brain, via the nervous system, reset muscle behavior patterns,” said Dr Haavik-Taylor. “By stimulating the nervous system we can improve the function of the whole body. This is something that chiropractors and their patients have known for years; and now we have some scientific evidence to prove it.”
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- Dr Richard McMinn - Chiropractor Brighton
- Dr Helen Martin - Chiropractor Brighton
- Dr Glenn Fredericksen – Chiropractor Brighton
Chiropractic care is essential for the pregnant mother. Her systems and organs are now providing for two and their optimal function is critical for the baby’s healthy development. The mother’s spine and pelvis undergoes many changes and adaptations to compensate for the growing baby.
The purpose of Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy is to help clear interference in the communication of the nerve system. Clear communication between brain and body is vital for the expression of full health potential for both the mother and baby. By making sure the nerve system is clear, Chiropractic care has shown to assist in an easier pregnancy and birth experience.
Another important reason for care throughout pregnancy is to help establish balance in the mother’s pelvis. Because of a lifetime of stress and trauma to a mother’s spine and pelvis, the motion of her pelvis may be compromised, resulting in interfered passage of the baby. Chiropractors define this as a subluxation.
Additionally, the subluxation of her spine and pelvis during pregnancy cause an imbalance in her pelvic muscles and ligaments. The woman’s pelvis supports her growing uterus with these specific ligaments. When the pelvic bones are balanced, the uterus is able to enlarge symmetrically with the growing baby. If the bones of the pelvis are out of alignment or subluxated, this will directly affect the way the uterus will be supported. Unequal ligament support of the uterus will torque the uterus reducing the amount of room for the developing baby. The term used to describe this is intrauterine constraint.
Reducing constraint on the mother and the baby offers both the best opportunity for a natural delivery process. Also, by easing the delivery, it is possible that less intervention and medication use would be requested. This is vital for the bonding of the mother and the baby during the moments of delivery and immediately following the birth.