12201 Big Bend Rd., Kirkwood, MO 63122


Before You Induce Labor—Understanding Your “Due Date”

Induce or Wait for Nature?

This may not seem like it’s a choice that the mother can make, but it is, and the right choice is always to wait. Due dates have proven to be notoriously inaccurate, and according to Dr. Vern Katz, et al., they should be eliminated entirely.

Dr. Katz and her colleagues from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, reported that the calculations used to set a woman’s “due date” based upon her menstrual periods is “flawed”. The use of an estimated gestational period to determine the best care for the patient is causing confusion and the patient does not treat this date as an estimate. She, and her entire family, considers that date a very specific point in time that they are looking forward to quite anxiously.

As the “due date” approaches, if there have been no signs of labor, the mother begins to grow anxious and distressed. This typically leads to a recommendation by her OB/GYN to induce delivery, usually leading to further interventions in birth. The problem with this is that intervention in the delivery process frequently leads to trauma for both the mother and the baby.

Dr. Katz and her colleagues conclude that doctors should expand the concept of a due date to a “due week” and, in this way, “allow biology [or nature] to take it’s a course a bit more”.

Baby Too Big for My Body?

At this point, your baby is no longer growing bone density wise. Baby is only getting pudgier, and fat can squeeze through tight places. Your baby is not too big for your body to deliver, regardless of the size of your pelvis. Receiving Webster technique chiropractic care throughout pregnancy allows your body and baby to be in the optimal position for vaginal childbirth.

The average gestational time for an unmedicated, first time mother is 41 weeks and 3 days. Some babies come before, and some come after. If the fluids are still safe, the placenta will remain intact and able to give nutrients to your baby.

44 Weeks—A Personal Testimony

Dr. Jana Flora, Doctor of Chiropractic at 1st Step Family Wellness in St. Louis, safely delivered her second child, Miles, at home after a 43+ week pregnancy.

“With my first born at 40 and 3, I never expected to go 43 and 6 with my second. But both my formal education and my spiritual beliefs kept me grounded in those long final weeks with the understanding that my body has an innate intelligence that supersedes any guideline or expectation. And with the expert care of my homebirth midwife, my baby and I were blessed to experience the beauty and intensity of natural childbirth.”

Check back for her full birth story in a future post, or ask her yourself next time you are in the office.

Natural Ways to Induce Labor from Home.

If the care provider you’ve chosen is not comfortable waiting for your body to go into labor naturally, and wants to induce labor, know that you have the power to change providers at any time during your pregnancy. There are OB/GYNs and midwives out there that understand and respect the natural birth process, and will not push to induce labor. Often, it is the labor facility’s policies that restrict even the most well-intentioned doctors from supporting a woman’s natural birth plan. Contact our office for a list of local, natural-minded care providers.

If you are comfortable with your care provider and facility and are aware of the risks of a medical induction, but are in a situation where you want to avoid an immanent medical induction, you can find  a list below of natural ways to promote labor from home.

As mothers ourselves, we understand the emotional stress that can occur in those last weeks of waiting and wondering “when will I hold my baby,” but be encouraged that you are not alone, we have been there too. So we understand women asking, “What triggers the start of labor?”

Remember, your baby cannot stay inside you forever, so your body will inevitably kick into labor naturally if you’re not induced. These natural, at-home options will support your body’s innate timing for labor and delivery without the potentially harmful side effects of inducing labor.


How Can I Induce Labor Naturally?

  • More frequent Webster Technique chiropractic adjustments
  • Lengthy walks of 30 minutes to several hours duration
  • Acupressure at Spleen 6 (a point located four finger widths above the inner ankle bone) maintain pressure for 10-15 seconds for 3 repetitions. Repeat as often as possible. This helps to dilate the cervix.
  • Drink A LOT of Water
  • Increase intake of good fats—wild caught fish, avocados, etc.
  • Nipple Stimulation- You can use fingers or a breast milk pump, which cause the release of oxytocin.  
  • Sex- Sperm contains prostaglandins and can work in the same way as prostaglandin gel.  Make sure to have your husband ejaculate inside you and lie there for 30 minutes. Although the prostaglandin is less concentrated in the semen, frequent sex is reputed to help.
  • Orgasms create a uterine contraction.
  • Evening Primrose Oil- can be started after 36 weeks. Take one capsule orally in the morning and insert 1 capsule vaginally in the evening. Helps to ripen the cervix.
  • Clary Sage Essential Oil—can be started after 39 weeks. Using only therapeutic grade essential oil (Young Living or DoTerra) apply several drops topically and massage the oil upward along the inside of the ankle up along the calf muscle. You can do this several times a day.  
  • Pelvic Tilts- Do 100 pelvic tilts per day.
  • Walk up the stairs sideways
  • Scrub the floor on hands and knees
  • Suck your thumb
  • Eat ripe young pineapple
  • Drink red raspberry leaf tea
  • Turn off the TV- Nothing frightening should be watched since your animal instincts naturally take over telling the baby to stay where it is safe.
  • Dim the lighting in your home—Think about being in a cave or other dark spaces where most other mammals can focus, relax and birth their babies.
  • Share a bottle of wine with a friend–relax
  • Borage Oil- rub on the cervix— causes ripening of the cervix
  • Castor Oil- This is a traditional treatment, although revolting to the palate, it does sometimes start labor for women. 1st Dose- 2 oz castor oil in 1 part vanilla ice cream, 1 part orange concentrate. If after 2 hours there is no bowel movement, do another dose. This can cause nausea and vomiting—make sure you are well hydrated.

Stand strong about denying a medical induction. You are ultimately in charge of your body, and you do have a choice about what happens. Your body was perfectly designed to birth your baby! You can do this!

Still have questions, or feel like you need help? Call us at 314-805-7837.

5 Steps for the Optimal Breastfeeding Latch

Breastfeeding: mastering the latch

“Although breastfeeding is ‘natural’ so is giving birth, and most of us expect to get help with that. Many of us didn’t grow up around breastfeeding and have lived in a society with historically low breastfeeding rates. We may not even have seen breastfeeding up close until we come to do it ourselves. It’s not always easy. It’s important to find help and not struggle alone.”


Breastfeeding should be a restful and enjoyable time for mother and baby to bond. The goal of the breastfeeding team at 1st Step Family Wellness in Kirkwood is to provide each mother with the breastfeeding tips, tools, and support she needs to continue a successful breastfeeding relationship with her baby.

Not having an optimal latch can lead to symptoms relating to colic, reflux, less than ideal weight gain, and dental decay; which can result in the need for otherwise unnecessary medications and treatments. Making sure baby has a proper latch on the other hand, can ensure baby receives all the breastfeeding advantages.

Having the proper breastfeeding latch can:

  • Eliminate nipple pain and allow damaged nipples to heal naturally
  • Improve the transfer of milk, which can result in increased weight gain
  • Increase mother’s milk supply
  • Improve sleep patterns—by increasing the efficiency of milk transfer, less time is spent at the breast, which means more sleep for mother and baby

The best time to feed baby is whenever baby is showing hunger cues–sucking on hand or searching. If baby is fussy, bring baby skin-to-skin for several minutes to calm them, prior to bringing baby to breast.

1st Step Family Wellness’ Certified Lactation Counselor, Renee Muehlfeld, has compiled these 5 steps for achieving the optimal breastfeeding latch:

  1. GET COMFORTABLEGet yourself in a comfortable position, with a pillow within reach if you need it to stabilize your arm.
  2. NOSE TO NIPPLE-Express a drop of milk onto your nipple and bring baby’s nose to your nipple.
  3. 140 DEGREE– We want baby to tilt their head back and open their mouth wide (140 degrees is the goal) which will happen naturally by bringing baby’s nose to your nipple. Big mouth, then slide baby’s body up and onto the breast. Aim your nipple at the roof of baby’s mouth to avoid pinching. If baby appears to have a tight or tiny latch, pop your pinky finger into the corner of their mouth to release the latch suction and try bringing baby’s nose to nipple again. This will correct a shallow latch during breastfeeding.
  4. HANDS OFF-Watch your hand placement on baby’s head. You want their neck to settle into the cup between your index finger and thumb. You want baby close, nose to breast, but not smothered in breast. Also, hands off your breast. Bring baby to breast, instead of breast to baby. When you push and pull your breast into baby’s mouth, your breast will slowly go back to where it naturally lies and baby may “pop off”, so it is best to bring baby to where your breast naturally lies to avoid having to relatch.
  5. LIPS CURLED OUT-Like a good vacuum, for optimal performance you need a good suction. Similar for breastfeeding. You need a good suction to have optimal milk transfer. You want to see baby’s upper and lower lip slightly flanged out, enough where you can see the beginning of the inner, wet part of baby’s lips. You can use your pinky to flip the lips out, if necessary. If baby’s lips seem tucked in or tethered to the roof/inside of the mouth by a thin piece of skin or gum, give us a call for further instruction.  Read more about Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding.

How long does the average mom breastfeed?

Remember, it is not about the amount of time spent at the breast. It’s about how much milk is transferred. A successful optimal latch leads to less time on the breast, a happier, full-bellied baby and a happier, well-rested momma!

Need breastfeeding help?

Call us to get connected with one of our Certified Lactation Counselors or find a local breastfeeding group to join, like the groups hosted at Kangaroo Kids on Manchester.

The Webster Technique: A Way to Reduce Pregnancy Worries and Delivery Complications

The Webster Technique for Pregnancy

The Webster Technique: A Way to Reduce Pregnancy Fears and Delivery Complications

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.


Chiropractic Care Can Be Vital for a Healthy Pregnancy

prenatal chiropractic

Chiropractic for a Healthy Pregnancy

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…)

Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding

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: What is it?

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…)