Pregnancy can be an incredibly beautiful and exciting time in your life, yet it is never without natural fears and potential complications. Whether your pregnancy has been deemed a low- or high-risk, you may be afraid of or be experiencing your baby being abnormally positioned (a transverse, oblique or breech) near the end of term. If you also hope to experience a natural or limited intervention birth plan, these fears may be exasperated if your doctor suggests the need for a Cesarean or external cephalic version if your baby does not naturally move to the head down position.
First Step Family Wellness, in Kirkwood, understands the emotional toll that such fears and potential decisions can create, and it is our goal to make sure that every mother-to-be is equipped with the best knowledge and understanding of what options are available to reduce the need for a surgical birth. The Webster Technique has become a valuable chiropractic option for mothers throughout pregnancy, to improve fetal movement and optimal nervous system functioning that naturally increases the likelihood that the baby will reposition itself head down for delivery.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 out of 25 full-term pregnancies result in breech births. While the consistent cause of the occurrence is unknown, physiological misalignment and imbalance from multiple or subsequent pregnancies, excessive amniotic fluid, placenta previa, or abnormalities within the uterus are believed to be some of the most common culprits.
In addition, spinal and pelvic alignment is dependent upon the effects of pregnancy hormones, such as Relaxin, that both benefit and place strain on the woman’s body. Relaxin encourages the pelvic area and corresponding ligaments to relax, as to support the growing abdominal region. Yet, this same support also encourages the bones to shift and the lumbar region (lower spine) to obtain a curvature as the size and weight of the abdomen increases, which creates both instability and misalignment.
Not only does such increase the mother’s pain and discomfort during pregnancy and the birthing process, if not treated, such may also affect the communication process between the mother’s body and the baby’s instinct that tells that it is “time to turn” prior to labor. While there are no studies that inform us as to whether poor spinal and pelvic alignment in the mother directly affects the baby’s innate programming of when to turn to an optimal position, such can be hypothesized due to the strong success rate of chiropractic care during pregnancy that have led to vaginal births even after the complication of breech or transverse presentation.
Why are traditionally invasive surgical procedures risky?
Even with the vast improvements in healthcare since information about how to have a healthy delivery began surfacing throughout the 1970s, medical studies have regularly shown that the rate of cesarean deliveries has increased by 25% and the use of epidurals occurs in almost 3 out of 4 deliveries. Others argue that it is possible for cesarean rates to only be as high as 4% to 8%, and yet the medical community continues to push for more risky and invasive surgical options even when a natural birth is still entirely possible.
It is complications, like that of a baby in transverse, oblique or breech positioning (or head-up) by weeks 36 or 37 in the third-trimester, that often immediately move doctors to opt for quick, complicated and higher-risk medical options without providing the to-be mother with other potential and less-threatening options.
Often the first option suggested is the attempt of an external cephalic version, unless the pregnancy is believed to be high-risk due to medical concerns or a multiple pregnancy. An external cephalic version involves medication to relax the uterus and the doctor manually turning the baby from a breech or transverse position to the more optimal head-down (vertex) position prior to the beginning stages of labor to encourage a vaginal birth. Even for low-risk pregnancies, such a procedure can bring on numerous complications for both the mother and baby, and only has a 58% success rate. Serious complications can include abruption of the placenta, vaginal bleeding, premature labor, or stillbirth.
If the external cephalic version is not an option or you choose the “let’s wait and see” option, there could still be a chance that the baby will not naturally turn itself around to the head-down position. If no alternative treatment is attempted by the time labor begins, it is very likely that your doctor will call for a surgical birth unless certain conditions apply. Fairly recent studies by the ACTA Obstetricia et Gynecologica and the Term Breech Trial (TBT) Collaborative Group show that in the United States, over 87% of breech deliveries are done by C-section compared to vaginal delivery. While most tend to be successful, women who receive cesareans also face a longer healing process, a higher chance of postpartum depression (particularly if surgical intervention could have been prevented), and a greater chance of health complications. Furthermore, babies born via c-section are more likely to present with immune challenges and plagiocephaly from not passing through the birth canal.
The Webster Technique was first developed by Dr. Larry Webster as a natural way to reduce the amount of stress on a pregnant woman’s pelvis, which directly supports the uterus and neighboring ligaments.
More specifically, this specialized non-invasive and gentle chiropractic adjustment technique gradually realigns the sacrum, soft tissues, and ligaments that support the mother’s abdomen so that less constraint and twisting occur. While the mother may start to feel some physical relief after the initial visit, it is over the course of several treatments throughout several weeks that will truly improve the baby’s ability to move freely within the uterus and, hopefully, naturally turn itself to a head-down position.
While chiropractic care is encouraged throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy to ensure her body remains balanced to reduce potential complications, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics recommends that the technique be utilized particularly in the 8th month of pregnancy, which has shown over an 82% success rate.
To learn more about how you and your baby could benefit from The Webster Technique, stop by 1st Step Family Wellness today in Saint Louis, Missouri. Our very own doctors Jeanne Sandheinrich and Jana Flora are Webster Technique Certified chiropractors and they are always happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your pregnancy, nutrition, exercise, and spinal health.
Like many women throughout pregnancy, you are constantly thinking about what routine steps you can take to ensure both you and your baby are healthy and ready for a smooth delivery. At the same time, you probably feel – perhaps even worry – that there is something more you can do.
Every pregnancy book and OB/GYN you speak to will tell you that to feel balanced (on the inside anyways) you should be regularly keeping up with some key things each day. They tell you to eat wholesome and fresh foods that includes lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins to keep you energized. To drink lots of water and less caffeine, too cut back on overly processed foods that make those mood swings even worse, and items with high salt content that won’t help those swollen legs and feet. To stay fit and improve your sleep with consistent exercise through low impact activities such as daily walks, pregnancy yoga, and dance. And to keep a strong support system around you, while also finding a way to manage the stresses of daily life (more…)
As Phillip Day of Food Matters once said, “What we need to be able to do is to persuade the public that you are what you eat, food can change your mood, and the choices you make directly affect the outcome of your life.”
In other words, you may not be able to control everything in your life, but you can control everything that you consume. Having a natural health mindset can ensure that you not only achieve physical wellness, but that you are also unconsciously happy and content with the life you lead.
While achieving a consistent, positive set of emotions may seem difficult to achieve to some, the reality is that once you understand why you are more prone to a negative mindset and how to avoid those reasons, the easier it will be to make better nutritional choices each day that will have a direct impact on your mood. (more…)
The new school year is well on its way. The initial frenzy is over and the kids are now getting knee deep in a new semester of knowledge, the stresses of schoolwork and exams, and are likely being introduced to a new set of emotions and confusions that are directly impacting their behavior and overall concentration. While it may feel like all you can do is either wait it out, talk it out, or seek professional assistance; there may be another solution right under your nose
Think about your child’s diet at-home and during the school days. While you may be able to ensure that they are eating all their vegetables and other necessities while at home, do you know what they are consuming when you are not around? Do they choose from the breakfast and lunches provided at school, grab a soda or candy bar between classes, or opt for sugary and artificial snacks while doing homework and studying? (more…)
Do you think about your skin when choosing products from the store? Do you read the labels to see what added chemicals are getting up close and personal with your skin? Do you pay attention to how the products you choose are affecting your skin’s appearance and touch?
If your answer is “No” to these questions, it’s time you start getting to know your skin a bit better and treating it with more love. Why, you ask? Because your skin is more complex and important than you may think… (more…)
It is completely natural for mothers and their newborns to experience any number of issues when breastfeeding, from latching problems to poor milk supply, but many do not realize that these may be linked to even large issues. One of the most significant is called TOTs, or Tethered Oral Tissues.
Here at 1st Step Family Wellness, Dr. Jeanne and Dr. Ryan Sandheinrich want to ensure that your family stays well-informed about such challenges, including how to identify if your child is Tongue Tied and what you can do to help them live a healthier, more comfortable life.
TOTS, or Tethered Oral Tissues, may occur when the thin portion of skin under a baby’s tongue limits movement of the tongue and/or when movement of the mouth is constrained by the upper lip being anchored to the gum.
This is found in anywhere between 0.2% and 2% of babies, believed to be genetic, and can cause a multitude of problems for both mom and baby. The condition is recognized as “tethered,” since it is the thin membrane of tissue that is meant to undergo cell death during the baby’s development in the womb, that instead becomes wrapped and remains secured to a portion of the inner mouth. (more…)
Ladies, we all have this one friend that we both love and hate. She’s always cranky, slow and almost unbearable at times, but you continue to make the best of all the pain she may cause from month to month with chocolate and ice cream, heartfelt romance movies while snuggled in odd positions on the couch, and long hot bubble baths. You know exactly which frenemy I’m talking about – the saboteur of your baby box – your Aunt Flow, queen of the crimson wave.
Well, despite the awkwardness you might be feeling right now, there is something you might not know. Something very important, that could change your whole relationship with your period. (more…)
Ah, spring is in the air! Well, maybe not this past week, but it has been and will be back shortly. It’s beautiful and refreshing. Birds are chirping in the morning, trees and flowers are budding and even blooming, but oye…those allergies. Since we had a mild winter we can anticipate spring allergies to be even worse. We’ve already heard people complaining of allergy symptoms, and if you’ve been into an M.D. lately they’ve probably advised you to “get ahead” of your symptoms with your handy Claritin and Mucinex. But should you?
You see, like many other facets to your health, allergies can invade your world due to more than one cause. The cause is what we should be interested in, not the symptoms. Sure we need to rid our body of the symptoms because they can make a beautiful day unproductive and miserable. Finding the source, or cause, of those symptoms and eliminating that is the long-term solution though; eliminating the source will eliminate the symptoms. (more…)
Our senses are what guide us through everyday life. Keeping us in tune with ourselves and the rest of the world. Yet, occasionally our sense of taste, smell, touch, hearing or sight becomes misguided by something physical or environmental.
It could be anxiety that spawns from family life, work responsibilities, or the effects of depression. It could be seasonal allergies or irritation from the tag on your new shirt. Or you maybe a picky eater, find it difficult to focus with surrounding ambient sounds, and have pain in your hands from repetitive tasks.
While such things are usually temporary for many of us and easily treated, the STAR Institute has previously found that approximately 16% of children (ages 7 to 11 years old) have a unique disorder called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It is unclear what percent of adults are diagnosed with SPD, considering that many times SPD is overlooked and misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, depression, or another mental disorder. This makes it important for individuals and parents to be able to recognize what everyday symptoms are associated with the disorder, and what steps may be taken to help them find greater sensory balance in everyday life.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological problem that causes disruptions and over-stimulations in the sensory areas of your brain; which in turn impairs your ability to respond, process, and organize daily sensory information.
This not only includes the five senses you were taught throughout upper elementary school and middle school, but also the most significant elements of your sensory processing system – the vestibular and proprioceptive systems – that you most likely have never heard of if you’ve never studied anatomy at some point in your life. The vestibular sensory system is in your middle ear and is what balances how your sense of smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch interact with themselves and the space around you. Meanwhile, the proprioceptive system controls the reactions, sensations and motions of your joints and muscles that may become imbalanced or disoriented. In other words, it’s what controls each of your body parts and is your physical awareness.
Studies have found that Sensory Processing Disorder can often develop when, if, and how a child has successfully reached primary developmental milestones. If the senses are underdeveloped, such as with infants in the first four-months of life, then what is called the Moro reflex may become activated. By definition the Moro reflex is losing partial or full control of your body – the same feeling you get when you have a shiver up your spine, or are startled by a person or unexpected sound.
If these milestones are not readily developed and practiced, then they remain under-developed throughout our lifetime; often increasing the likelihood of being more stressed, depressed, introverted, under-achieving, anxious, and unhappy on a daily or consistent basis.
In addition, other common factors have been found to also contribute to the 16% prevalence of SPD in children and adults. The physical and social environments that surround us have a direct effect on our growth and evolution as individuals, such as a heavily polluted city or a neglectful and hateful family life. It also includes the type of labor and stress-level of your child’s birth; such as natural, medicated, cesarean, and any correlating problems before, during or after. In addition to the elements of your DNA, the primitive nature retained from our ancestors, and spinal misalignments that affect your joints and range of motion can also cause Sensory Processing Disorder.
The evidence of your child having Sensory Processing Disorder is likely to be different from the signs another person with SPD has, however it is likely that – depending on the affected sense and area – all signs are severe across the spectrum. Not only is it possible for only one or all five of the senses to be over- or under-stimulated, signs may appear at different times in one’s lifetime.
Generally, here are the most common red flag symptoms that you should watch for:
Touch: Social anxiety, poor concentration, poor academic grades, aversion to touching others or craves a need to be touched, overly-controlling, easily irritated, hates being dirty or messy, can’t sit still, uses mouth to explore objects, and poor dexterity.
Smell: Excessive food or environmental allergies, often smells objects or other people, does not like new objects due to odd smells, and poor behavior or health around certain chemicals.
Taste: Picky towards many foods, show signs of pica, and problems eating.
Auditory: Becomes easily angry or irritated towards certain sounds, makes particular and repetitive sounds towards technological or other environmental noises, has issues following directions, hypersensitivity, consistently messes with ears and speaks loudly, little or no vocalization, and difficulty understanding speech.
Visual: Poor hand-eye coordination, visual pain or discomfort, consistent headaches, problems reading by themselves or in-front of others, difficulties walking up or down stairs, etc.
Vestibular: Dislikes certain physical or environmental movements, likes watching repetitive movements (such as fans), issues reading and writing in cursive, poor listening skills while active, poor balance, motion sickness, or consistent and violent head banging.
Proprioception: Has a need for physical contact, dislikes having their head touched, sleep problems, inability to keep eyes closed for lengthy periods of time, sleepwalking, restlessness, need to be covered by heavy materials, dislike of team sports, poor math skills, extreme clumsiness, and so on.
When your vestibular sensory system is out of balance with one or more of your senses, it is directly linked to a physical imbalance or stress in your upper neck. Thus, if you are injured, sick, stiff or stressed your Moro reflex becomes activated and your nervous system goes in overdrive. If left untreated, this begins to reduce the support, stability and strength felt throughout the rest of your body. It is something you will easily recognize, due to the overall discomfort it brings, and will need to sway you towards effective at-home and chiropractic treatments.
Before taking matters into your own hands, it is best that you speak with your general physician and licensed chiropractor about your symptoms and the right treatment options for you or your child.
Generally, it is important that you practice a consistent stress-free lifestyle that keeps you mentally and physically active, to ensure that your sensory pathways remain strong and well-balanced. This includes stretching and exercising daily, particularly in the morning after you wake up to open and re-align your body from the day and night before. Many practice tai chi, yoga and/or meditation, take moderate outdoor walks or runs, body-strengthening exercises, hula-hooping, dance, and any other strong therapeutic movements. While also eating well, like reducing or eliminating sugar, artificial ingredients and caffeine. I know, the latter may seem impossible!
You will also want to schedule a session with your chiropractor, like Dr. Ryan and Dr. Jeanne Sandheinrich of First Step Family Wellness in Kirkwood, Missouri; who will be able to tell you which receptors (electrical impulses) in your cervical spine are being negatively affected, reducing your control and increasing your discomfort. Having regular chiropractic adjustments to fit your needs will effectively rebalance your seven senses and gradually improve your sense of control in your daily life.
Since mid-2013, Dr. Ryan and Dr. Jeanne of First Step Family Wellness, have successfully treated individuals of all ages suffering from general pain and discomfort to disorders like Sensory Processing Disorder. If your main complaint is an over-abundance of allergies, consistent headaches or migraines, and neck or back pain; then Dr. Ryan uses his chiropractic skills to help your body heal and re-balance itself. Alternatively, if your child suffers from similar issues or has shown any of the symptoms discussed above, then Dr. Jeanne uses her expertise in chiropractic care and acupuncture techniques to balance their sensitive sensory pathways.
If you spot SPD symptoms in you or your child, come visit us at First Step Family Wellness in Kirkwood, MO today to start living a more balanced and content life.
For most households, the turkey has been carved and served, and it’s time to plan for the next holiday. Be it planning for a party, searching for that perfect gift or prepping for the next family meal, the holidays tend to put pressure on a person. The stress we feel during this time of year can stem from a couple of different places. One example is when we try to meet or exceed our own or others’ expectations. Those expectations can be created from what we see on TV and social media, from warm memories of a previous holiday, or from our faith community. A poll by the American Psychological Association has shown that during the holiday season, 69% of people are stressed by lack of time and money. The other 51% are stressed from the pressure of giving and getting gifts. For a time that is supposed to be “Merry”, there is a lot of stress associated with it.
Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, or that neck and back pain you just can’t rid yourself of. But stress may actually be the culprit. Stress can negatively affect your spine, it causes the muscles in the back and neck to tense, which can cause the vertebrae in the spine to shift. This shift can potentially cause subluxation or nerve interference. The symptoms are those of common illnesses, such as a stuffed up or runny nose, or difficulties with digestion.
Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high cortisol levels leading to weight gain, sleep interference, metabolic disorders, gastrointestinal distress, heart disease, and many more. With the average person having a modest amount of stress on any other day of the year, try not to add to it this holiday season.
Most people these days use Facebook, take advantage of the “Events” option on Facebook. You can easily create your holiday event and invite those who are on Facebook, this will limit the time needed to reach out to everyone individually. Using a Facebook Event, you will be able to see all who has accepted your invitation and not frantically scrounging around looking for the random names you have wrote down throughout the house trying to get an accurate head count.
Using your smartphone or other forms of technology, create a shopping list. 51% of people are stressed from giving and getting gifts, ease your stress by first creating your budget. Figure out what you can afford and what you want to spend this holiday season and stick with it. Then find an app that you like the best and create your shopping list. There are many apps out there such as: Santa’s Bag, Gift List, Gift Plan, and more found at iTunes. Available for Androids are Gift List Manager, Christmas Gift List, and more. Check out which one is best for you and start your holiday season off with as little stress as possible.
The shadow side of this period of light and hope, is darkness and despair. Many people fall into darkness at this time of year. Adam Anderson, Ph. D., associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has hypothesized, the effect media has taken on those during the holiday season. With the joy and cheer flaunted throughout the commercials and shows, this can trigger those who are lonely throughout the season. A Canadian study of patients that had received emergency psychiatric care during the holidays, found that the most common stressor was the feeling of being alone or not having family. The feeling of melancholy during this time is not uncommon. Below are a few causes of holiday depression.
Family-Related Issues: Some people rarely see their families outside of the holidays, which may make this particular season a little more difficult to deal with than others. Spending time with parents, siblings and other relatives can cause tension in some families, and the anxiety of these get-togethers can also be a trigger for depression.
Loneliness: While some are experiencing family issues, other people have trouble during the holidays for the opposite reason. Not being able to spend time with loved ones due to financial constraints, distance, or other reasons can cause severe loneliness during the holidays. Also, those who have family members or friends who have passed away may miss them even more during special times like the holidays.
Unrealistic Expectations: Some people get overly excited about the holidays, but when the reality of the events set in, they may find themselves disappointed with the actual outcome. Whether it’s holiday parties not being as much fun as hoped for, loved ones not getting as excited about their gifts as you’d hoped or other bad experiences, the sadness of a holiday season sometimes doesn’t match up with an individual’s idea of what a picture-perfect holiday season should be like.
Think of a pressure cooker when thinking about stress. Your feelings are building up with the pressure of the holiday and you need to release steam before the whole thing blows up. The best step to de-stressing is to recognize when you need to take a breather and step away for a moment.