Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy Part I

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Amber Galipp over the last year and I can’t sing her praises enough. I found her while I was pregnant myself and searching for a Webster Technique certified chiropractor. She has taken such good care of my entire family. She owns Legacy Family Chiropractic in McKinney and provides chiropractic care for all ages, specializing in pregnancy. I asked her to tell us a little bit about her practice and the benefits of chiropractic care.

I have always looked to the more natural ways to treat things and was treated by a chiropractor at a young age. I suffered from migraine headaches in elementary school that would cause me to have to go home. The doctors all thought I was faking it because a child with migraines just wasn’t common. It wasn’t until I began seeing a chiropractor for sports injuries I sustained in middle school, that I began getting relief from these headaches. I just thought they were a part of life and was so glad to finally get relief. Like many of my patients I had no idea that these things were all connected and were not normal. I had learned to just deal with it and never knew that this was something unusual at such a young age. While in day care as a young child I was thrown off of the monkey bars landing on my head and neck. No one ever connected the dots and back then chiropractic was unheard of for kids. In my practice I strive to change that perception.

Naturally when I started chiropractic school I thought I wanted to have a sports based practice. It wasn’t until I had the unbelievable opportunity to serve on a mission trip to Haiti and Dominican Republic that my passion for pediatrics was revealed. While on this trip I was blessed to treat entire villages shortly after the 2011 earthquake in Haiti. It was on this trip that I realized the power of a single adjustment. There was an infant with a severe spinal curvature that would be detrimental to his development later in life. With one atlas (C1 vertebra) adjustment his issue completely resolved within 30 minutes. This impacted this child’s life forever, as it did mine. This trip was when I felt the calling placed in my heart to help spread the word about the powerful impact of chiropractic care for kids! My heart has never been the same since. One of my first patients in the Parker clinic was a little one with severe reflux issues. I was able to help this little one get better and now this sweet girl runs in the office and jumps straight on the table to get adjusted. With my passion to help kids came my passion to start their journey in the womb off in the right direction. Now I have a family focused practice that starts from before conception, through birth and after. My office is my baby and I really enjoy the chaos that kids bring with them. I encourage kids running around the office, nothing makes me happier.

I asked Dr. Amber to explain a little bit about chiropractic care in general and to talk about how it can benefit pregnant women.

Chiropractic care helps to keep the body connected to the brain. The nervous system is the master control center of the body. Many people think it is the heart and circulatory system, however the heart only pumps because the brain tells it to. When you get adjusted nerves fire signals to the brain telling it how to function. When there are chronic misalignments (subluxations) of the spine the nervous system cannot effectively communicate with the rest of the body. These miscommunications in the nervous system can cause things like pain but more importantly they cause functional deficits like disorders of the brain (ADD/ADHD/Autism, seizures, sensory processing issue). Misalignments are called subluxations and occur in children from birth trauma to the elderly. During pregnancy these misalignments are vital to the development of the baby. This structural alteration, or misalignment, is often very uncomfortable and even painful as the pregnancy progresses.

One of the hormones that run through a pregnant person’s body is relaxin. Relaxin helps ligaments to loosen up, especially those in the pelvic area, to accommodate the expansion of the growing baby and uterus. However, relaxin can be a double-edged sword. While it helps those bones shift in order to make way for the baby, the ligament laxity can make those pelvic bones very unstable in their position, allowing them to misalign in a very painful way. Couple this with the fact that a pregnant woman’s lumbar spinal curvature can increase as the size and weight of the belly increase, you have the recipe for a very painful, very uncomfortable pregnancy.

This is where chiropractic helps. In Chiropractic, the two most important parts of the spine to pay attention to, more than any other areas, are the very top and very bottom of the spine. At the top is the atlas, or C1 vertebra. Proper position of this vertebra is important because of its close proximity to the brain stem, as well as its ability to create a domino effect of spinal misalignment from the neck all the way to the pelvis and sacral areas.  Proper alignment of the atlas and sacrum is vital for a healthy mom, baby, and delivery.

Dr. Amber also explained some common misconceptions about chiropractic care.

A common misconception is that adjustments are scary or hurt. I use very gentle techniques and strive to adapt my adjustments to my patient’s comfort level. Many people think that something has to pop in order to move and have a “good adjustment”. That is simply untrue. I adjust newborn babies every day in my office and I do not pop anything on an infant. This same care can be taken with any spine no matter the age.

Adjustments are very safe and effective and can be beneficial for anyone who has a nervous system. As part of a mom’s prenatal care in my office, I offer their newborn a complementary spinal check. It is truly an honor when a mother hands over her child to you and trusts you to help them. I have had the honor of helping balance nervous systems of kids and in turn help them with issues like colic, reflux, inability to latch, ear infections, ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorders/Autism, digestive issues, headaches, etc…

A popular misconception is that one adjustment will correct what is wrong or that once you go see a chiropractor, you have to keep going back. Many of our patients are on maintenance care plans and want to keep coming back to see us because they see how their health has improved overall when they are consistent with their treatment. I get people who come into the office that think one adjustment will fix them. What they don’t understand is that most of the time they have been misaligned for years. Adjustments move the vertebra millimeters and with each adjustment we have to re-educate the surrounding muscles and tissue to hold the new position. This process takes time and every person’s neurology is different so I cannot predict how long it might take. I have a good idea how long most cases usually take but everyone is unique and I strive to honor that when I suggest a care plan. Some cases are more complex that others so treatment plans will vary greatly. I strive to make my plans custom to each person and to make care for the entire family affordable.

Next week, we will have Dr. Amber talk more about the benefits of the Webster Technique specifically and how she works collaboratively with healthcare providers for comprehensive prenatal care. Dr. Amber can be reached at Legacy Family Chiropractic at 214-880-6330.