At MFT we love all things parenting and pregnancy. Even more so, we love the people who we can rely on and who helps us when we most need it. MFT Meets is our space where we chat to people we find extraordinary.
This week's talk is with Ami-Bree Said, an Australian chiropractor in London, who has a special interest in pregnancy, women's health and our babies early development.
MY FOURTH TRIMESTER: Hi Ami-Bree! Tell us a little bit about yourself - what made you become a chiropractor? Do you have a specialty?
AMI-BREE: Hello! My name is Ami-Bree Said and I'm a chiropractor, practicing at Putney Chiropractic, in London. I am Australian, and undertook my studies there before moving to London 6 years ago. I had my first adjustment at 15 years old, and it was a life changing moment for me - it is why I am a chiropractor today! I have a special interest in pregnancy, women’s health and supporting a healthy nervous system from birth.
How can a chiropractor help women postpartum?
Birthing a baby demonstrates just how phenomenal the female body is! Your body takes its time to change throughout pregnancy, however, seemingly ‘overnight’ your weight distribution changes and you are no longer ‘front heavy’.
All of your activities of daily living change to looking down, feeding, and holding your beautiful baby. That centre of gravity shift, and continuous hunched posture, coupled with hormone changes, can be a lot for your brain to adapt to, and I often find mothers discomfort shifts to their upper back and neck. It takes time and support to recover from pregnancy, and to adapt to this new chapter. Chiropractic allows the body to adapt to changes, and supports the healing process.
Postural pains during pregnancy
A pregnant woman’s body is literally creating another human being and undergoes many changes as a result. The following changes during pregnancy may contribute to pelvic and spinal misalignment, which in turn can lead to neuro-biomechanical dysfunction, PGP and/or a host of other symptoms.
🤰Shift in centre of gravity. As a woman’s bump grows, the added frontal weight increases the natural curve of the lower back and may therefore affect other areas of the spine, due to a change in biomechanics.
🌀Thoracic (mid back) and cervical (neck) stress may also result due to an increase in chest size, depth of breath, and hormonal and postural changes
🤸 Pelvic alignment may be affected due to the increase in joint mobility and ligament laxity that a woman’s body undergoes in preparation for birth.
🤕 Previous injuries or physical trauma. Unaddressed misalignments or weakened areas of the spine may be aggravated by the added weight and postural stressors, predisposing women to early aches and pains, PGP and associated discomforts.
🖥️ Desk work throughout the majority of pregnancy. Poor posture/seated position for a prolonged period of time may lead to altered biomechanics and tightened muscles/ligament imbalance
〰️ Weak or under/over active muscles. Muscles have to work harder during pregnancy, due to ligament laxity.
🔢 Number of previous pregnancies/ recovery postpartum.
Chiropractic assesses pelvic and spinal biomechanics and restores neurological function to areas that are moving sub-optimally.
Tummy time tips and benefits
💪 Strengthens neck and shoulder muscles
⛓️ Forms neck curve
🐤 Helps head shape (preventing flat spots)
🧠 Stimulates brain stem
✋ Sensory input to hands
⏭️ Precursor for many other milestones
Tummy time should begin from birth (chest to chest is a great way to start) and should be increased, as your baby builds strength and stamina
⏲️ Every time you change a nappy, roll your baby on their front for 30 seconds. This is a great way to add in extra tummy time!
🦦 Instead of holding your baby in a seated position, pop them across your lap
👀 Get down to their eye level
🐅 Tiger in the tree hold
⚖️ Pop a rolled towel under their chest or prop up on a pillow so that they are inclined
🔎 Get checked by a chiropractor to ensure that tummy time isn’t uncomfortable
How to avoid flat head in babies
Simply put - avoid containers. If a babies movement is restricted, they will be placing more pressure on one side of their head, leading to flattening.
If you notice your baby has a head preference, please do get it seen by a paediatric chiropractor, as soon as you can. Head preference more often than not, will also lead to flattening.
- Tummy time from the start.
- Practice full neck rotation by shaking a toy in their line of sight.
- It is important to note that flattening needs to be addressed ideally before 3 months, but within 6 months. It gets harder to correct (and takes longer), the older they are.
Why is a balanced pelvis important for pregnancy?
This can be simply explained by the three ‘P’s’
🔌 POWER: ensuring good nerve communication between brain and body, including nerves that supply the pelvic floor and uterus
🚣 PASSAGE: the pelvis is a ring, therefore a balanced pelvis ensures the most amount of space for baby to navigate the birth canal
🧘 PASSENGER: if the pelvis is balanced, there is less soft tissue distortions (ligaments, muscles, diaphragm, pelvic floor etc), that could be minimising the space that baby has to move
Why should we see a chiropractor throughout the pregnancy, and what does the care look like?
The reasons are endless - preparation for birth and postpartum, optimal nervous system function, aches and pains, improving function, comfort, overall health, and so much more!
Your chiropractor will assess your spine and pelvis (not just the sore bits) and gently adjust specifically to you and your body - this may include cranial (skull bone) work, neck, upper/lower back and/or pelvis. They may use a small drop in the table to adjust the pelvis or a spring loaded tool (activator); specific muscles and ligaments will also be released. All is very gentle, and shouldn’t cause any discomfort!
What does chiropractic care for babies look like and what can it help with?
Chiropractic care for babies uses no more pressure than one would exert in order to test the ripeness of an avocado 🥑
There is no popping or clicking or twisting - just to be clear! I believe that all newborns should be assessed for subtle shifts in their cranial and spinal alignment as it is far easier to support children as they grow, than to try and unwind compensatory patterns that they have had throughout life.
Sciatic pain in pregnancy – any tips?
Common, not normal. Definitely book in to see a chiropractor. They can help determine where the pain is coming from (‘sciatic’ pain is often a buzz word, and may not be what is actually going on!).
Sacroiliac / SI pain in pregnancy or postpartum? Can it get better by seeing a chiropractor?
Yes! Helping SI pain by balancing the pelvis is something that I do all day everyday! Important to note - where the pain is, isn’t necessarily where the problem is! Addressing the person, assessing the whole body, helps to facilitate healing!