I sat down this month with Drew Biggs, DC (Doctor of Chiropractic), to learn more about the similarities and differences between Chiropractic and Chinese Medicine, and their respective approaches to prenatal care. I wondered if it would benefit an expecting mother to receive both chiropractic treatments and acupuncture during pregnancy. At Holistic Health Palm Beach, in Wellington, Florida, my clients have asked if these two modalities should or can work together to help them best achieve their health goals. I have found that among many physicians/practitioners, we sometimes don’t know how to answer this because we don’t specialize in each others professions. Well, I’m here to create dialogue and bring these communities together, so we can learn together! Each month, I will be interviewing a different physician/practitioner in the holistic health field or western medicine arena, with the goal of shedding light on how we can all work together to best achieve wellness for our patients.
According to Dr. Biggs, chiropractic prenatal care has two main goals; one is keeping the mother comfortable and functional throughout her pregnancy, and the other is to create optimal birth outcomes for both mother and baby. Dr. Biggs stated, “Most women come in because they have heard that chiropractic can help them have a better birth experience. Chiropractors look for pelvic distortion and any rotation or torsion of the pelvis, which is a common scenario for any adult. Most adults and kids have it in varying degrees, although never ideal, it’s particularly problematic for a woman at the time of labor or during delivery of the baby. The pelvis needs to expand so the baby can come out as easily as possible.”
In Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, Asian massage, and more, the goal is quite similar. Acupuncture creates space, moves what is potentially “stuck” and harmonizes and tonifies the body. In addition to helping with proper placement of the baby and comfort for the mother, acupuncture is ideal for stress, hormonal changes, anxiety, and the many emotional changes that woman experience during their pregnancies. Instead of looking at structural alignment, as in Chiropractic, Chinese Medicine looks for pathological imbalances which are manifested through the eyes, tongue, pulse, and what the mother is subjectively feeling.
Dr. Biggs goes on to explain that the pelvic bones expand to create an opening for the baby to come out. If these are distorted, the bones don’t expand properly and this keeps the aperture (or opening) smaller. If the aperture is larger, this means the baby can come out relative ease. Chiropractic keeps the pelvis aligned so it can expand and open up, minimizing the necessity for birth interventions. It may be less likely that the baby gets “stuck,” resulting in the necessity for a C-section, or requiring the use of forceps or vacuum suction delivery, or Pitocin injected for stimulation of uterine contractions.
What about fetal positioning during pregnancy? How can Chiropractic and Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture help? Acupuncture has long been indicated to help induce labor or stimulate the repositioning of the baby while in utero. Clients come into my Chinese Medicine practice for special labor induction sessions that are focused on needling and stimulating points that are indicated for encouraging contractions to begin for the mother. This is usually done around 38 to 42 weeks. There are special acupuncture points that are also indicated for turning or repositioning a baby.
According to Dr. Biggs, “Improper fetal positioning, also known as dystocia, can be positively affected with chiropractic care, although it isn’t a primary focus. Chiropractic does not aim to turn babies, rather it balances the pelvis, and in turn, balances tension on the four ligaments that attach between the pelvis and the uterus.” If there is torsion, there is an uneven tension on those ligaments that causes the uterus to distort its position, thus leading to intrauterine constraint. If this becomes the case, there is likely less free movable space for the baby, creating a challenge for the baby to get into an optimal position, i.e., breach, face forward, etc. Through balancing of the pelvis, this constraint is eliminated and the baby may find its way into proper positioning. Dr. Biggs stated, “Ultimately, all I am focused on is addressing misalignment patterns and pelvic ligaments. Many woman come in with breach presentations, and its common for them to get that resolved.”
Chiropractic care and Chinese Medicine at the same time? We both agree that this can be an excellent combination of two modalities; two different approaches to holistic health, that can work together to create optimal outcomes for our patients. At Dr. Biggs practice, Principled Chiropractic, in West Palm Beach, Florida, he uses a hands on approach to create proper alignment of the bodies structure, particularly the spine, which may enable the body to heal itself. At Holistic Health Palm Beach in Wellington, FL, our focus is also on the well-being of the client. Sometimes, that means thinking outside the box and looking at what can best benefit the patient. In the case of prenatal care, it may be optimal to receive both Chiropractic and Chinese Medicine during your pregnancy. The best patient is the one who is committed to long term success. There are no quick fixes in holistic healing, but there are great benefits and rewards if you stick with the program, keep regular appointments, and be positive. There is hope!
You can call Drew Biggs, DC at Principled Chiropractic (561) 791-2225 or visit www.LivePrincipled.com