By Ron Robinson, DC, CACCP
In today’s fast paced highly technical world, the journey of pregnancy has become a mixed bag of emotions for women. With all of the doctor appointments and “routine” tests, it leaves many women feeling overwhelmed and fearful for the journey ahead. These feelings were very apparent during a recent casual conversation with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, and the conversation gradually shifted over to the fact that she was expecting her first baby in just under four months. I generally have these types of conversations quite often with women, because prenatal chiropractic has been my focus for nearly ten years. This conversation was no different from many of the others, but something she said really struck me: We were discussing who her birth provider was and where she was delivering, when she casually hinted that she wasn’t really happy with her current doctor. Her description of their relationship was, “I feel like I’m a backseat driver along for the ride.” To which my response was, “Maybe you need to take the wheel.”
As most of my conversations go, I started asking her all kinds of questions. Again, her description of what had occurred up to that point was very similar compared with most women. She had first met with her obstetrician around 8 weeks, because she was over the age of 30, and her doctor wanted to keep an eye on things from an early stage and get an accurate due date. Despite having no prior complications or previous pregnancies, the nurses informed her that she was going to undergo some simple blood work and a routine ultrasound. With no previous experience, she decided that her doctor knew best and had the test and the results came back normal.
If we fast-forward three more visits to her OB, she has now had three more ultrasounds, despite her previous normal results and her reluctance for all of these tests. She has also had the famous blood glucose test, which came back slightly elevated. This, of course, lead to another test, but these results came back normal. Despite these normal results she was labeled with gestational diabetes. At this point, she started to ask friends about their experiences. As it turned out, they had experienced very similar situations with many different doctors.
You are probably thinking, “So what?” right? Well, the ultrasounds and the gestational diabetes are merely the beginning of this journey. As technology has advanced, so has our utilization of technology in pregnancy and birth. This is leading to our current rates of inductions, epidurals, and C-sections. I won’t get into the controversy that surrounds the utilization of these procedures during pregnancy and birth, and actually that’s not the issue here at all. If you noticed, she was not alone in what she had experienced. The primary issue is that many pregnant women are feeling left out when it comes to how this journey may shape up. Women honestly ARE like a backseat driver. They are on this journey, and as they are moving down the path, they may say, “I would like to do this…” but often times are met with a dismissive response or are told, “because of x, y, or z we can’t do that,” or “we don’t do it that way here.” I have seen it first hand too many times; women will come to the office in tears, because they are told something along those lines, and they feel helpless and scared. They feel trapped with no exit options. Women may come to their doctor with their route planned, only to find that their doctor is using a GPS to navigate to their destination on a different route. Both routes will get the same result, the baby will be born, but they simply are not choosing the same route and probably not the same arrival time to that destination either. Women are put in the backseat and are saying, “no it’s not this exit, I wanted to take this route”, but the doctors still push forward with their own route. This is never the feeling anyone should have in their healthcare, especially not during pregnancy, when it is so essential for women to feel safe and confident, so their babies feel safe and grow healthy and unstressed. Not only are these women being denied control of their own pregnancy and birth journey, they are not being encouraged to seek out options and answers.
The truth is that pregnancy and birth MATTER! At Premier Wellness we unfortunately see this classic story all the time and its long-term effects. I would love to never hear these stories again. These stories are why I’m so obsessed with educating and empowering women to take control of their pregnancy and birth to start rewriting the classic story. I often get asked, “Why does a chiropractor even care about pregnancy and birth?” The answer can be quite simple, yet many people don’t see it. Most people have a skewed view of chiropractic. Our main role as chiropractors is not to treat headaches and back pain. Rather, we are trained to help each and every patient reach their full potential by allowing their body to work with ease and efficiency. You may still wonder how chiropractic helps with pregnancy and birth: when an expecting mom receives chiropractic during her pregnancy, it has been shown to decrease pain during birth, shorten birth times, and reduce the number of birth interventions to name a few. Each of these benefits are not only great for mom, but also important for what all parents want at the end of their pregnancy—a healthy, happy baby. The easier the pregnancy and the birth process is, the less stress and strain babies endure, which leads to better bonding, better nursing, better sleeping, and fewer digestive complaints (colic, reflux, and constipation).
With this classic story that we heard above, we find nearly 95% of children have stress at the base of the skull and upper neck, which hinders their ability to function with ease and efficiency. This stress on the neck is exactly what pediatric chiropractors are experts at detecting and correcting. Still people may offer objections to me discussing pregnancy or birth, because I’m not an OB. To be fair I understand that, but you see, an OB is trained to deliver your baby, not raise a healthy baby! When you receive chiropractic care prior to and during pregnancy, not only do you receive adjustments, you will be consistently educated and empowered to ask the questions and take the steps that help you achieve the birth that is best for you and your baby’s long-term health. We want what every family wants; for you to have a healthy, happy baby. The best way to achieve that is by preparing, educating, and taking control of your own care.
I find this quote by H. Jackson Brown quite fitting for expecting moms, “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” In order to have that healthy, happy baby, be a healthy, happy mom. To become that healthy, happy mom simply prepare your body to be at ease and to function with efficiency.
Become educated about the journey ahead. Plan your route. Know your destination.
Dr. Ron Robinson, D.C. is a prominent pediatric chiropractor and a passionate health promoter. He holds post-doctorate certifications in pediatrics and family wellness, and has invested countless hours into continuing education in the areas of prenatal care, sensory challenges, neuroimmunology and other wellness topics. Dr. Ron lives with his wife and three children in Crystal Lake, IL – where he practices in a leading chiropractic office serving thousands of families toward optimal health, coaching expecting mothers through an ideal pregnancy, and ensuring that McHenry County children live thriving lives.