Midwives, Doulas &
Chiropractic During Pregnancy
~How to build a holistic prenatal care dream team~
Midwife and doula care, childbirth education and chiropractic during pregnancy should make up your core prenatal care services. Find out the many benefits of using these and other holistic care providers...
Those you invite into your inner circle during pregnancy and especially when giving birth will make a big difference in the experience you will have. Chosen consciously and carefully, your prenatal care providers can help set you up for the experience of a lifetime. Choose poorly and it can mean a journey into motherhood that is mediocre at best, unsafe and traumatic at worst.
I encourage you to choose care providers in the spirit of selecting a "Holistic Prenatal Care Dream Team." Hand pick people you feel comfortable with and whose principles and values regarding pregnancy and birth reflect your own. And like any great team, you want people you trust to really have your back when you need them!
So who should be on your team?
The answer will vary depending on your individual needs, interests and budget, but ideally these members will make up the core of your holistic team:
~Your Birth Coach/Partner~
Most often this is the baby's father, but may also be a family member or close friend. This will be your primary advocate and support person starting in pregnancy, but will have the greatest responsibility and role during labor and birth.
Trust and communication are the ideal foundation of this relationship. And to be a fully contributing member of the team, your birth partner must be educated and prepared for his or her role in the process. Pursuing childbirth education together in some form or another is essential.
Midwives are the preferred prenatal care providers and birth attendants for low-risk women in most parts of the world and for most of history. You can choose a midwife who attends births in a hospital setting or one that serves women giving birth at home.
Did you know that midwives spend on average five times longer with their patients than obstetricians? (Thirty minutes versus 6 minutes per visit on average.) And midwife attended births have better birth outcomes- fewer interventions, C-sections, etc.
This is because midwives practice within a holistic model of care that includes honoring the natural process of birth and getting to know the mother as a whole person. Midwives also provide counseling in nutrition and other aspects of health.
Many women report feeling more like a patient than a person with an OB GYN doctor. I've heard many share experiences of feeling rushed and uncomfortable asking questions during their prenatal vistis. Unfortunately, the bar has been set so low in maternity care today that most women don't expect or demand anything better.
But I have had students from my birthing classes come to me crying tears of joy after meeting with a midwife. They couldn't believe it was possible to find a care provider who talked with them, answered all their questions and wanted to make sure they felt comfortable and heard.
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is considered low risk, a midwife is by far the best choice for a primary care provider.
A birth doula is a professional labor assistant hired to provide physical, emotional and informational support to women during pregnancy, birth and just after the birth. Their presence and support during labor is continuous. I believe it provides the perfect complement to the male energy and support provided by the baby's father during childbirth.
Doula care has been scientifically proven to result in shorter labors, fewer complications and reduced use of medications and birth interventions. You will even be less likely to have a C-section if you have a doula! As OB/GYN and women's health expert Christiane Northrup says, "If doulas were a drug, it would be unethical not to use one."
Couples who use doulas also report a more positive birth experience overall with increased success with breastfeeding and lower incidence of postpartum depression.
Chiropractic during pregnancy has two main benefits:
1. Staying comfortable and pain-free during pregnancy
2. Encouraging optimal fetal positioning for an easier labor and birth
During pregnancy you have the perfect recipe for misalignment and back pain: hormones are relaxing all of your joints and connective tissue as the growing baby is adding weight and throwing off your center of gravity. This misalignment can also cause the uterus to become misshapen and restrict the baby from getting into an optimal position, even causing it to be breech.
Be sure to find a chiropractor that is specially certified in doing chiropractic during pregnancy and in what's called the Webster technique. This is the technique unique to chiropractic during pregnancy that facilitates optimal positioning of the baby and has proven very successful in turning a breech baby.
A chiropractor will even adjust a woman during labor if the labor has stalled or is not progressing as quickly or easily as expected.
~A Childbirth Educator or Consultant~
In the past birthing classes were the only way to connect with an expert in childbirth education and preparation. However in the age of the internet and busy schedules, couples are now finding other creative ways to prepare themselves for birth.
You may look into hiring a doula who is also qualified to provide more formal childbirth education. Also becoming more popular are pregnancy and birth consultants. Such a service provider may be called a pregnancy or baby planner, concierge or consultant.
Many still will opt for a traditional class, and choosing the right birthing class is as important as ever. You will also find shorter childbirth preparation workshops and intensives to accommodate busy schedules and other considerations.
Online childbirth classes are another effective option couples now have available to them.
~Other Team Members~
These important providers will round out your holistic dream team by playing a smaller but still important role in helping to optimize your prenatal health and wellness:
- Nutritional consultant
- Yoga and/or fitness instructor
- Massage therapist
- Acupuncurist/Chinese Medicine practitioner
To recap: Besides your partner/birth coach, your holistic prenatal care dream team will ideally provide:
- Midwifery care for primary medical care
- Doula care for physical, emotional and educational support
- Chiropractic during pregnancy for comfort and optimal positioning of baby
- Childbirth education to empower you with information, preparation and birth planning
- Other holistic health and wellness services based on your needs and preferences to complement your core providers
Your best birth is the product of setting yourself up for success way before the big event. With the help of a holistic team, you will empower yourself with health, wellness, education and support.
Get the scoop on OBGYN doctors vs. midwives
How to choose the right birth place
Find providers near you: hospital, midwife and OB GYN doctor reviews
Return to Natural Pregnancy Guide from Chiropractic During Pregnancy & More
Return to Holistic Birth Choices from Chiropractic During Pregnancy & More