Fertility, Prenatal and Postnatal Care
There is perhaps no more important time to focus on your health than when you are preparing for pregnancy and carrying a child. Not only do you need to support your own body as it grows and changes, you need to be sure you are nourishing and protecting the child inside you! The Well of Life Center would love to come alongside you through this time to support you, whether you are struggling to become pregnant, preparing for pregnancy and childbirth, or have just given birth!
At the Well of Life Center, we support pregnancy before, during, and after, in order to facilitate a smooth and healthy pregnancy. Not only do we support the growing baby, but also the demanding needs that will be on the mother’s body.
Our prenatal vitamin contains all the vitamins and known trace minerals that are necessary for pregnancy. It also contains phosphorous, calcium, and protein to make it highly digestible and able to be broken down and assimilated. We nourish and support the growth and development of the baby’s brain with folic acid, while fish oils rich in omega 3’s support neurological, visual, and immune development in the baby, and a healthy mood in the mother.
We also support the mother’s body with specific nutrition that will allow her body to transition smoothly into all the phases of her pregnancy and reduce or eliminate common symptoms that pregnant moms struggle with, such as morning sickness, fatigue, constipation, complicated deliveries, and difficulties with breast milk production. Unlike traditional methods, we support the uterus nutritionally in order to increase the likelihood of a full term pregnancy.
Mothers that are nutritionally supported during their pregnancies typically have less complications during their pregnancy, while their babies are typically healthy and well-adjusted, with less issues of their own.
As any pregnant woman would tell you, your body will go through a lot of changes during a pregnancy. One of the most significant changes is in regards to her spine and biomechanics. As a pregnancy enters into later months, the mother’s center of gravity is shifted forward, which puts more strain on the lumbar spine and pelvis. As the lumbar spine and pelvis are pulled forward, the upper back and neck must compensate for that by pulling backward. This translates into pain and stiffness, not only in the low back, but also the mid-back and neck.
Some other symptoms women may experience with pregnancy are headache, sciatica, and rib and shoulder pain. From a biomechanical perspective, the pelvis can be twisted and torqued during pregnancy, which can decrease the size of the birth canal and lead to longer and more uncomfortable labor.
Another factor to keep in mind is that as the pregnancy progresses, a hormone called relaxin increases in production, especially during the first trimester. One of the purposes of this hormone is to relax the ligaments of the pelvis so they can spread apart for the birth of the baby. Of course, the ligaments around the pelvis are not the only ones affected by this hormone. All ligaments in all joints will be affected, which can cause pain, achy joints, and a feeling of instability in general.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can establish and maintain pelvic balance during pregnancy. Adjustments are designed to correct pelvic misalignments, which can increase the room available for the developing baby. Adjustments can also allow the baby to get into the best possible position for a natural delivery. Chiropractic is also safe for babies and children, allowing them to reach and maintain optimal health and wellness.
Massage can be a great addition to your prenatal care at the Well during your second and third trimesters. Prenatal massage works to relax muscle tension and improve blood and lymphatic circulation through the application of mild pressure to the muscle groups of the body. This can reduce the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, including those in the neck, back, hips, legs, glutes, and joints. Nerve pain, especially Sciatic nerve pain, can be reduced or eliminated, along with headaches associated with muscle tension and restricted blood flow.
Increased blood and lymphatic circulation have many great benefits, especially during pregnancy. Swelling during pregnancy is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure from the uterus. Massage encourages the lymphatic system to remove any collected fluids, while the boost in blood circulation increases blood flow to the placenta and improves overall immunity.
Prenatal massage also helps to regulate hormone levels, leading to decreased anxiety and symptoms of depression. Norepinephrine and cortisol, hormones associated with stress, have been shown to decrease with regular massages, while the hormones dopamine and serotonin have been shown to increase; low levels of dopamine and serotonin are associated with depression. Hormone regulation also aids in better sleep and increases energy levels during the day. It also leads to fewer complications during birth and lowers the chance of postnatal complications in newborns.
The soles of the feet are like a mini map of the inside of the body, and are linked to our inner organs and systems, including the fallopian tubes and ovaries. By massaging different points on the feet, we can unblock energy pathways in the body and so help the body to regain its natural balance and heal itself.
By stimulating the parts of the feet relating to the reproductive organs and endocrine glands, it is possible to promote greater health and balance in these areas. Reflexology has been known to aid in certain conditions and symptoms such as those related to PCOS, endometriosis, irregular periods or ovulation, and stress-related fertility issues.
Throughout pregnancy, reflexology can support the mother to maintain health. Reflexology seems to reduce emotional stresses, such as depression and anxiety. Reflexology may even be helpful after you give birth – some studies show it helps stimulate milk production.
MLD is beneficial before, during, and after pregnancy, and is one of the safest treatments available to pregnant women. It is incredibly gentle and uses no oils or lotions. MLD helps to detoxify, boost the immune system, balance hormones, and relieve fluid congestion. It is also incredibly relaxing and can help you sleep better.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help reduce fluid retention in pregnant women, improving comfort, especially in the legs and feet. Breast swelling and plugged ducts associated with the beginning stages of breast feeding can also be improved with MLD. Fixing these two problems can help reduce soreness in the breasts, leading to better milk production, and allowing the mother to continue providing the health benefits of breast milk to her child.
MLD during your second trimester can help support the immune system, prevent stretch marks, reduce symptoms of edema, and relieve symptoms of constipation.
MLD post-delivery can help your body shed the extra pounds from pregnancy, heal faster from delivery, minimize scarring from a Cesarean Section, and increase milk production.
Anyone suffering from the following symptoms may not be viable candidates for MLD: high-risk pregnancy; malignant tumor; acute inflammation; Deep Vein Thrombosis; heart, kidney, or liver failure; kidney disease, morning sickness.
If you have been cleared by your doctor to exercise, Pilates is a great choice that can provide many benefits throughout your pregnancy. The main focus in a prenatal Pilates program is to address the major muscular imbalances that occur due to the physiological changes in the body with a very specific emphasis on the abdominals and the pelvic floor. Because Pilates exercises can be easily modified, your program can change with the changing needs of your body at each stage of your pregnancy.
Prenatal Pilates strengthens the transversus abdominus, the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles, and helps to minimize the diastisis recti, the normal separation of the rectus abdominus muscles. The muscles of the spine are also strengthened, which can help to alleviate the low back pain that is so common during pregnancy. As the pregnancy continues, your ligaments relax and your center of gravity shifts. Pilates can help you to strengthen your global muscles and maintain your balance to avoid falls. Through carefully selected exercises and well-directed cues, you can not only build strength and endurance through the entire body, but also stretch and relax the muscles that shorten and tighten as the body changes shape to accommodate your growing baby.