(This post is sponsored by Golden Gate Chiropractic Center.)
My second pregnancy was officially kicking me in the butt. I generally felt bigger, and felt bigger sooner, compared to the first time around. And as a stay at home mom chasing around a preschooler all day, I was asking more of my body than I did by sitting at an office job during pregnancy #1. I had swollen feet and rib pain, but the worst symptom was an on and off pelvic ache that couldn’t be massaged away. At its worst, it felt like getting stabbed with every step. A maternity support belt helped tremendously, but the symptoms, though less intense, lingered. I’d been curious about seeing a chiropractor for a while and figured this would be a great time to take the leap.
What to Expect at Your First Visit
I didn’t know what to expect, but Golden Gate Chiropractic Center was very helpful walking me through what my first visit would be like, and where we would go from there. Upon arrival, their light-filled office in a converted flat put me at ease. The seemingly small touches, like baskets for your shoes, and the receptionist’s offer of water or tea, felt more akin to a yoga studio than a doctor’s office. There was even a children’s nook with toys off to the side of the waiting room, a baby swing in the treatment room, and a changing table in the kitchen.
The experience started with an assistant recording my posture, gait, and a sample squat. I then met with Dr. Adrian, who answered anything and everything I had to ask him about my body’s ticks, and about chiropractic care in general. It was a refreshingly relaxed conversation compared to the first (and last) rushed physical I had with an impatient primary care physician. Dr. Adrian explained that by looking at a squat, they can break down micro movements that are telling of how we utilize our body for different everyday tasks. He then completed the Comprehensive Functional Exam with some muscle and orthopedic testing, such as testing muscle resistance, ranges of motion, and body alignment.
How Moms Benefit from Chiropractic Care
I learned a lot about chiropractic care and how I could relate to it more than I expected. A lot of themes I equate with self-care popped out at me. In the noise of city living in San Francisco, it’s easy to let our bodies passively carry our weight and fall into an imbalance, but for the systems in our bodies to work their best – and for us to be our strongest – our muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, and nervous systems must all engage and work together. This is where chiropractic care can help.
I particularly appreciated the role it can play for moms, and, of most interest to me at this time in my life, new moms. Dr. Adrian created a mama movement class and video series all about how to properly utilize our bodies for all the tasks that come up on an average day (e.g. picking up toys and holding the infant car seat).
For his prenatal patients, he employs the Webster technique, which is known to optimize fetal position but does not promise to turn breeched babies. He’s also certified in Foundation Training and uses functional movement to help pregnant women and the birth professionals who assist them learn how to perform deeper core exercises. Dr. Adrian talked about how chiropractic care can help us mamas allow our pregnancies to strengthen and empower our bodies rather than wearing us down. He detailed how activating the right muscles can help aid different laboring positions and ultimately prepare the body for postpartum healing.
What to Expect at Your Second Appointment
In my second appointment, Dr. Adrian shared my assessment results. I was given a progression of exercises and positions to make improvements. I learned my posture is not nearly as bad as I thought, which was reassuring. He also called out that when bending, I should be putting less pressure on my knees. (I guess I took the phrase “bend with your knees; not your back” too literally.) He explained smaller muscles (my knees) are not meant to take the load. Bigger muscles (hamstring and butt) should do the moving. The first adjustment would help address some of the imbalances he had found, but he called out the value of ongoing chiropractic maintenance for lasting results (versus a quick band-aid) and investment in your health and self.
Right before Dr. Adrian started the adjustment, I asked if there were any recommended breathing patterns to utilize, but he said it was fine to breathe normally. Likely sensing my apprehension, he explained that he only adjusts what is accessible. He is able to sense nervousness by tightened up muscles and would not adjust these areas my body was closing off.
The adjustment included a variety of different treatments. There was the neck manipulation people often think of when they think of chiropractic care. This felt similar to when I do a singular crack of my neck by myself, except he did multiple cracks in a very rapid and short succession on each side. Dr. Adrian also used an activator tool (an instrument that looks like a pen and applies pressure) that was a new sensation for me but not painful. Lastly, he also had some poses to position myself that were reminiscent of yoga. One felt a little bit like a trust fall but included landing on a block. This exercise really struck me in the moment. I was amazed at how difficult it was for me and my body to just let go.
The Results of My Chiropractic Adjustment
The night of my adjustment I felt a little worn out (as if I had exercised lightly), and then was surprised to later experience uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions. The next morning, I felt amazingly re-energized. When Dr. Adrian followed up with me to see how I was feeling, he said everyone responds to adjustments differently, but that Braxton Hicks are not common following an adjustment. I was 36 weeks pregnant and had also experienced Braxton Hicks after a prenatal massage during pregnancy #1, so I decided to just let my body focus on the final weeks of pregnancy and did not proceed with a second adjustment. Dr. Adrian was very understanding and did not pressure me to return for additional treatment.
In the week that followed, I noticed the absence of pelvic pain! And coincidence or not, when I saw my OBGYN the week following to check the positioning of baby, she was head down and ready to go. I felt good knowing that by adding a chiropractic assessment and adjustment to my preparation for baby, I felt I had done everything I could to get my body ready for the next chapter in my life.
Do you incorporate a chiropractor into your health maintenance and self-care? Have you noticed improvements?
Have you taken your baby to see a chiropractor? Tell us how it went!