Did you know that chiropractic care can be beneficial during pregnancy? We've had many expecting clients take advantage of chiropractic and share their positive experiences with us. According to American Pregnancy and Spinning Babies, some of the potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
Controlling symptoms of nausea and heartburn
Relieving back, neck, or joint pain, and
Balancing the pelvis to prepare for birth
Some of our clients are also surprised to learn that chiropractic care is available for their newborns too! Newborn adjustments are very gentle and can help babies release tension in their neck and spine. Adjustments can help them feel more comfortable and feed and digest more easily.
There is a special group of chiropractors who have advanced training in working with pregnant patients and newborns. If you're looking for chiropractic care in pregnancy or for your little one, be sure to seek out a Webster Certified provider. You can search here to find Webster Certified chiropractors near you.
If you live in south Orange County, we'll save you a step - you have a wonderful Webster Certified chiropractor in your own backyard! Dr. Annie Langford (formerly Dr. Annie Yeakel) is a kind, thoughtful, and compassionate provider with a passion for working with pregnant people and babies. She practices in San Clemente, sharing an office with home birth midwife Lauren Slak.
Read on to learn more about Dr. Annie's practice and perspective on how chiropractic care can be helpful during the childbearing year and beyond!
Tell us a bit about yourself, and what led you to become a Webster Certified chiropractor.
I have always had a passion for babies (I wanted to be a neonatologist when I was in high school) and as I got older, that passion expanded to pregnancy and birth. Before I started chiropractic school, I was a certified yoga instructor. I took a prenatal yoga teacher training and have been hooked ever since. During chiropractic school I pursued the Webster Certification so I could have more tools available to help my pregnant patients. I also interned with Dr. Elliott Berlin (renowned LA prenatal chiropractor) and worked for several years with the wonderful team at Bloch Chiropractic in Long Beach. After working with Dr. Berlin, I was inspired to learn even more, and did a doula training. The learning never stops!
How can chiropractic care help throughout the journey of fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum?
Chiropractic care improves the neuro-biomechanical functioning of your body, allowing your organs (in this case your uterus) to function optimally. For those looking to get pregnant, chiropractic care can take stress off of the nervous system, improving the health of the reproductive organs and helping to improve blood flow.
For those that are pregnant, chiropractic care can help reduce the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, such as low back pain, sciatica, hip pain, and round ligament discomfort. As I mentioned before, chiropractic can also improve the neuro-biomechanical function of the pelvis, which allows for an easier labor and delivery, and can help facilitate ideal fetal presentation. Chiropractic care is often sought by women who are told their babies are in the "breech" presentation. The Webster Protocol can often allow the baby to turn into the vertex (or head down) position within 1-4 visits.
After birth, moms are typically faced with even more aches and pains. This usually comes as a result of labor and delivery or from holding and breastfeeding their babies. Chiropractic after birth can help keep moms feeling great so that they are in the best shape to take care of themselves and their babies. HBOT is also a great way to speed up the healing process after a cesarean, perineal tear, or episiotomy.
How often do you recommend pregnant clients visit you?
I recommend my patients visit 2-4 times a month for treatment during their pregnancy, and weekly during the last 4-6 weeks of pregnancy. If they are working to get a breech baby turned, I typically see them 2-3 times a week until the baby is head down.
Is chiropractic something people should turn to when they are having a pressing issue, or is it more valuable to receive regular care?
BOTH! Chiropractic is a fantastic way to feel better when something goes wrong, but it is even better to prevent the pain before it ever starts. Your car needs regular maintenance to address wear-and-tear, and your body is no different!
Chiropractic after birth can help keep moms feeling great so that they are in the best shape to take care of themselves and their babies.
Are there any common misconceptions about chiropractic that you want to clear up?
There are so many misconceptions surrounding chiropractic that it's hard to know where to start!
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that chiropractic is only for back pain. While chiropractic is very effective at helping to alleviate low back pain, it can do SO much more.
Walk us through a typical visit with you. What can a new client expect for their first session?
When a new patient comes to the office I talk to them about their health history, their current complaints, their fears, their hesitations, and their expectations. I perform a detailed evaluation to get to the root cause of their complaint (assuming they are their for a pain/discomfort related issue). And most importantly, I explain what we will be doing in the session and how each part of the treatment is designed to help.
For the majority of my prenatal patients, the treatment consists of about 30 minutes of targeted soft tissue therapy, focusing on the low back, hips, glutes, and hip flexors. We have custom pillows that even allow pregnant patients to lay face down, which is something that most moms tend to look forward to during their pregnancy!
Following the soft tissue therapy, I assess the movement of the spine and adjust any areas that are restricted. The adjustment can be performed using a variety of low-force techniques, including drop table and Activator to ensure the patient is completely comfortable.
We hear from many parents that they feel apprehensive about having their baby adjusted by a chiropractor. Describe what that process is like, what parents can expect, and what the benefits are of early chiropractic care for babies.
Adjustments for infants are extremely gentle and are tailored for their smaller, more cartilaginous vertebrae. I assess the spine the same way I would an adult to determine any areas of restricted movement, then adjust using very gentle techniques, including using the Activator, a pediatric drop pillow, or very light oscillations. There is no twisting or "popping" with an infant adjustment.
Infant adjustments can help boost the immune system, improve latching, decrease the symptoms of colic and reduce the incidence of ear infections.
What are the signs that an adjustment could be beneficial to a newborn?
All babies can benefit from an evaluation - being cramped in utero for the last few months of pregnancy and squeezing through the birth canal or being tugged during a cesarean can result in spinal misalignments that can result in some of the symptoms I mentioned above. If a baby is not picking up their head during tummy time, or prefers nursing on only one breast, these can be signs that there is a restriction in the spinal vertebrae.
What other modalities compliment chiropractic care? How can parents combine them during pregnancy for optimal wellness?
I am a big advocate of yoga. Keeping the body flexible and the hips open is imperative for reducing lower back pain and sciatica, and for helping labor and delivery go more smoothly.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love when my prenatal patients come back with their babies! It is so amazing to see new families together.
Do you offer in-home visits?
Yes! I love visiting families in their homes. I make house calls throughout south Orange County and north San Diego County.