When I asked for recommendations for local chiropractors, one of my friends recommended Dr. Elise. I poked about her Facebook page and website, and realized quickly that this woman was exactly what I was hoping to find: someone knowledgeable, welcoming, and well aware of some of the unique needs for pregnant or postpartum mommies. She was kind enough to let me bop in before her office officially opened for the day, and I am so grateful, because I feel like I have found a treasure to share with you.
Essential Health Chiropractic is newly located in the great big building on Bickford, just barely out of town in Snohomish. Parking is easy to get to, close to her door, and not so busy that a Momma of small, fast people needs to keep a death grip on anyone. And walking into her lovely space was a treat. It’s gorgeous….she has carefully created a space that is restful, beautiful, and peaceful to either wait in or, after receiving treatment, just “sit for a hot minute” while children play. She even has a keurig available so you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee during your hot minute. God bless her.
As I was proclaiming over the welcoming environment for children, she told me a little about the Sensory Integration that she helps with, and how she actively supports growing Vestibular Systems. This brought me right back to my old Kindermusik days, when we moved and twirled first one way, then the other, and rocked and changed directions to help the Vestibular System. It was joyful to hear about those developmental concepts again, and how they were focused on as part of a child’s entire health.
But it was when she showed me her treatment area that everything got really fascinating.
I had to admit nearly complete ignorance about chiropractic care–my husband loves it, and would have a hard time functioning without seeing his chiropractor a few times a year, but I’ve just never gone. Dr. Elise was very patient in explaining terms and concepts for me–and I love people who educate as they do their job–and she shared with me some of the best benefits that she sees for women who are both pregnant and postpartum.
You don’t even have to be pregnant to understand that there’s a lot of weight and bulk that comes with a growing baby, and that it can really mess with your posture and muscles. One of the things Dr. Elise pointed out is that, if baby is hanging out over the pelvis–which is pretty much what happens–then there can be significant torsion in all of the ligaments. Dr. Elise said that she first focuses on maintaining balance through the pelvis first, checking that the sacrum (see picture) is well-aligned with the rest of the pelvic structures.
Her second focus uses the Webster Technique, which is a pregnancy-specific technique that addresses the soft tissue and round ligaments surrounding the uterus and baby. The benefits included with this are a balanced body for mom, and therefore a bit more room for baby, allowing both to have good positioning that helps with labor.
My clients know that I love getting into how to move so that baby’s head can have optimal positioning–how many of you have heard me talk about opening up the pelvis in front of baby’s head so that the little one’s descent is as easy as possible, there is a nice, even pressure on the cervix, and we can encourage steady dilation. Everything that Dr. Elise talked about struck a massive chord with me–that balance, that straight aligning, that softness and relaxed nature of ligaments all helping set a woman up for a smooth, and potentially shorter, labor. I may have gotten a little excited as she talked.
Dr. Elise went into a familiar scenario when I asked her about postpartum benefits. Before birth, many of us are walking to encourage labor, moving all sorts of ways, and then going through the physical marathon that birth just simply is. However, as soon as we have that baby? We nearly immobilize ourselves–sitting and resting, which is the needed activity, but the sudden change from active to sedentary can cause the body to kink up on itself a little bit. When we add a customary posture of bending our heads down to look at our precious babies, then the added weight of holding the little one, and honestly?—the additional weight of breasts full of milk, it all adds up to the potential to really torque your back and all the muscles associated. And that’s a good few muscles.
According to Dr. Elise, chiropractic care eases the whole body during the postpartum period. By helping maintain a balance, inflammation is decreased and this also allows the nervous system to balance itself out. She spoke about helping the body be in a calm, relaxed place, what she called “brake-pedal mode.” She described this mode as the opposite of the “fight or flight” syndrome, and a state where the body feels at peace and is able to heal. One huge benefit of helping a woman’s body get to this place is that hormones are balanced, and a new mom can get an even better milk supply going.
This was all so fun to learn about–I think I could have delved deeper into some of these topics for hours, and Dr. Elise would be a wonderful person to talk with much more. While I have to put in the caveat that, as a doula, I cannot necessarily recommend any medical procedure, I can offer information, and help you find resources to implement care that you feel is right for yourself. I’m hoping that what I’ve been able to share is information that you find fascinating, also, and if you are considering chiropractic care, I feel that I can recommend Dr. Elise with full confidence.
As a final note: you may have noticed a “BirthFit” logo above her mirror in her main waiting area. I discovered that she also offers prenatal and postpartum fitness classes–something that I had been looking for! It sounds absolutely wonderful, but I think that side of her practice deserves its own post, and as this one got a bit long, I’m saving that for later. However, if you’re curious now, she said that you can find more information here.