Congratulations Mama! Your long-awaited baby is finally here. Welcome to the fourth trimester. This is a time of transition. For the past 40 or so weeks you grew and nurtured your little one inside, and then birthed them into this bright new world. Whether this is your first, third, fifth, or more, baby, it is always a time of newness. You are meeting this little human that you created and they are meeting you, outside of the womb. You are likely feeling a lot of things – elated, exhausted, so in love, possibly sore and weak, the list goes on.
This fourth trimester, the three months following birth, are such a special time for you and your baby. It is time to slow down and honor your and your baby’s needs. You need time to rest and heal. Huge hormonal shifts happened. Mentally and physically you have been changed. You may love being a mother. You may feel reluctant to be a mother. It is important to know that all feelings are normal. Crying, laughing, smiling, yawning – by you, the mom, is totally normal. Do you have a village around you to help? You are not meant to do this alone. You are not meant to be alone. Do not be afraid to seek out help and support.
Hopefully you saw a chiropractor during your pregnancy to support your growing belly and growing baby and for ease of delivery. Seeing a chiropractor postpartum physically ensures your hips return to a place of balance and ease. Mentally the adjustments ensure the brain-body connection is without interference, allowing your brain to process information. Chemically your body is being supported through the hormonal transitions as you move from pregnancy to postpartum. Most of all, your chiropractor is there to listen to you.
Welcome to Motherhood! We are happy to be here to support you and your baby during this time!
Peace Love and Wellness,
We plan and prep for our baby’s arrival and make our birth plans but do you ever consider creating a plan for postpartum? When your baby has arrived, you are caught up in a lovely haze of snuggles, feedings, diaper changes, and abnormal sleep patterns. The last thing on your mind is cooking or cleaning. Most of us no longer have a large support system around us when our babies are born, because families are more spread out across the globe. Lack of support is one of the main reasons mothers suffer from postpartum mental disorders.
There is a book called The First 40 Days that is primarily written for nourishment of the new mother, including meals, snacks, and lactation recipes. It is written by a woman named Heng Ou, inspired by the Chinese tradition of “lying in”, zuo yuezi. During the immediate days postpartum, while you are forming your bond with your new baby, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. There is an incredible amount of healing taking place in your body and make sure you take the time to honor this.
There is a lot of pressure in our society on moms to “bounce back” or to “get their bodies back”. Your body didn’t go anywhere. You didn’t go anywhere. You don’t need to move backwards. You have instead taken a wonderful leap forwards into motherhood. There is no need to rush anything during this time. Rest. Allow your body to recover. Set up a strong support system to come and take care of YOU. Call in friends, family members, coworkers, whoever. Your baby was just born and really, so were you, into a new phase of life. Good quality food, time for rest, help with cleaning, or just holding the baby are ways that others can help support you.
I am here to support you through this transition. If you are ever needing help or resources, never hesitate to reach out to myself or Dr. Liz, and join our Primal Mamas group on Facebook. We both have been there and know the power of support during the postpartum period. You are not meant to do this alone. Create your village and you and your baby will thrive because of it.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
I recently had a conversation with a client who is hoping for a VBAC, and have been reflecting on our conversations as of late. She had gestational diabetes with her first baby, and a late third trimester ultrasound measured him as being “large” so she was recommended a C section. At one of her last appointments during this pregnancy, her OB hesitated to tell her that she was still a strong candidate for a VBAC, due to the baby not being head down yet and the size estimate of the baby was unknown. So when I asked her about the possibility of a VBAC, she said she was going to have to wait and see what her doctor told her to do.
I have a couple thoughts on this. One, the validity of third trimester ultrasounds regarding a baby’s size are highly variable. It is well-known within the birth community that an ultrasound for size at this point in the pregnancy isn’t a great determinant of the baby’s size at birth. There is a fear of having a large baby, and mothers are encouraged to have C sections to avoid complications, but often times these “large” babies are actually quite normal (in the 6-9lb range). The change in growth and weight in the last 6-8 weeks of the pregnancies varies, and there is no standard to know if a baby is a certain size at an ultrasound, what size they will be at birth.
Two, she was waiting for her doctor’s opinion. Now, I believe in the sensibility of listening to a medical opinion. However, the birth is HER experience, not her doctor’s. Doctors don’t get to tell you what you HAVE to do. They are giving their best recommendations, but it often comes with a fear basis, meaning if you don’t follow their recommendations you and your baby are going to be at serious risk. Medical bias is a real, documented thing. How often has a medical doctor given a recommendation based on biased opinion instead of a valid physiological reason?
Far too often I believe mothers are bullied into making decisions that they don’t feel comfortable with. I’ve been there. I wanted to trust the medical staff at the hospital, but they were giving instructions that didn’t sit right with me. But I felt helpless and too vulnerable to say anything different, so I didn’t.
Becoming a mother is vulnerable, but it should not be filled with fear. It is my goal that every mother in our office feels empowered going into her birth experience, no matter which way she chooses. Birth should be judgment free. You should be making the decisions that you feel most comfortable with, and not feel judged by your provider for it. I recently read a powerful book by a woman named January Harshe called Birth Without Fear. I HIGHLY recommend it, no matter what you have decided for your birth (hospital or home), feeding your baby (breastfed or formula), and how you recover postpartum.
There is far too much judgement and fear in the parenting world; let’s lift one another up and empower each other in the decisions we make! As your prenatal chiropractor, I am here to support you, empower you, and of course, keep your nervous system functioning as efficiently as possible during these times of transition in your life.
If a prenatal chiropractor is not on your team, give our office a call! We would love to be a part of your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.
Peace Love and Wellness,
I chatted with Rachel Hauser, owner of Healthy Self. She is a massage therapist, craniosacral therapist, and student of homeopathy. We discuss the road she has taken in her business and how she is pivoting her practice, thanks to the "pause" given to her by COVID-19. Bodywork is meant to free us and give us the potential to be our most vital, healthy selves. You can find Rachel at her website, Vital Healthy Self, or her new project, Maintain Forward Movement on Facebook and Instagram @maintainforwardmvmt.
Ever feel like you’re doing all of the right things, but somehow you’re still exhausted? Ever heard of adrenal fatigue? Your adrenal glands are responsible for creating your stress hormones, such as cortisol, metabolism regulation, preventing inflammation, and your energy levels.
Stress hormones are needed during times of stress, specifically situations that put you into fight-or-flight. The cortisol levels will be increased in your body, which is good for short periods of time, so that you can “fight” or “flee” from whatever the situation is. However, if the situation goes on for an extended period of time, that increased level of cortisol in your body will begin to have deleterious effects. Your adrenal glands will end up becoming fatigued.
There are three stages of adrenal fatigue: wired and tired, stressed and tired, and full burnout. When “wired and tired”, cortisol levels are increased not only in the morning (which is normal), they are increased in the evening. This causes difficulty sleeping and a “wired” feeling in the evening. When “stressed and tired”, cortisol is high in the morning and then decreases after lunch, which can lead to a feeling of brain fog and exhaustion in the afternoon. A second wind of energy may come in the evening, often in the middle of the night causing difficulty in falling back asleep. The third stage is full burnout, with you feeling exhausted all of the time, no matter how much rest you get. Cortisol levels are completely disrupted, and can lead to other health issues involving your thyroid, gut, and immune system.
Symptoms (and keep in mind these are wide ranging and applicable to a variety of conditions): needing a stimulant like caffeine in the morning, tiredness when you wake up, no matter how much sleep you get, difficulty falling asleep or waking up, reduced ability to handle stress or feeling stressed more often, decreased sex drive, blood sugar or digestive problems, reduced memory or ability to concentrate, dizziness when standing up too quickly, thyroid problems, cravings of salt and sugar, get sick frequently, body aches, depression, and irritability.
So what do I do to help myself recover and become more resilient? The good news is that there isn’t anything beyond common sense things to help your adrenals recover. Eat high quality food - lots of leafy green veggies and those fruits/veggies high in Vitamin C. Foods high in Vitamin B. Eat a protein meal first thing in the morning. Get 8 solid hours of sleep a night. Modulate your screen time at night before going to bed. Move your body daily (not necessarily in a workout, but movement of some kind). Herbs like ashwaganda, minerals like magnesiusm, or adaptogens can be beneficial to help with your adrenal gland function (disclaimer: please check with your health care provider to be sure these are safe for you if you have current health conditions occurring). Recognize when you’re being triggered to reach for caffeine, sugar, or salt, and replace it with a healthier response, like getting up and moving around.
If you have any questions, please reach out to myself or Dr. Liz! We are here to support and empower you on your health journey.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
There are so many different types of magnesium, it's easy to get overwhelmed when you go to the store. Here's a simple breakdown of why magnesium is so important, the benefits of magnesium, and our favorite supplements and topicals.
Magnesium is necessary for HUNDREDS of bodily functions including turning food into energy, creating proteins, creating and repairing DNA & RNA, contraction and relaxation of muscles, and nervous system regulation. Magnesium occurs naturally in a bevy of foods! Leafy greens, seafood, and nuts are all high in magnesium. But, are we eating all we should be of these nutritious foods? Sometimes we need a little boost and that's where supplements come in!
Here's the short list of our favorite benefits from taking magnesium supplements:
Sounds good, right? Let's talk about routes of administration. We have topical (epsom salt baths, magnesium spray, and float tanks) and oral (pills, powders, and liquids). Transdermal magnesium absorption is best for muscle aches and general relaxation. Oral magnesium provides systemic benefits- but be warned!! A high dose can have a laxative effect. When you first start taking magnesium, start out with a quarter or half dose and work up to the full dose to avoid upsetting the digestive system ;)
Our favorite oral magnesium supplement is MagSoothe. This product combines three types of magnesium for maximum benefits. For topical absorption, you can simply and inexpensively fill the tub with epsom salts. If you are looking for a product that moves with you check out a Magnesium Spray to spray and go!
If you have questions or are unsure about which is best for you, feel free to reach out! We are always here and want to help you on your journey to become a healthier happier human!!
I cannot claim credit for this quote - Dave Hollis was the man who said this gem. But really, consider what he is saying here. Many of us have spent this quarantine time wishing for life before, life as we knew it. Wouldn’t you say though that there have been some positive aspects to this “Great Pause”, as I’ve heard it called?
Was everything in our world perfect before COVID-19 turned it upside down? Likely not. I think the quarantine presented us with a beautiful opportunity to observe how we could still function and thrive, even in the midst of crazy upheaval. We spent time thinking about how we were taking care of our bodies so that we didn’t get sick. We were intentional with how we spent our time out in public. We learned how to juggle new schedules while working from home with our kids out of school.
Now presented with extended time with our loved ones at home, what surprised you? I’m sure there were hard aspects to it, and we all have looked forward to having more freedom in our lives, but what were some positive things that you noticed?
My husband was home more, meaning that my kids and I got to spend more time with him. I spent more time talking with my parents and siblings. We had a Zoom birthday party for my dad (my siblings and I all live in different states so we usually aren’t with him on his birthday anyway), which would have never happened if we weren’t all confined to our homes and needing to connect with each other. My husband and I have also been more intentional with spending our money locally, opting to eat at local restaurants and giving bigger tips. The “Howl for Missoula” effort was a really great way to connect our community together.
There has also been a conscious effort by others to focus on the positive things happening in our world. A lot of the mainstream media stories focused on horror and hysteria, which can be very mentally and emotionally exhausting. Actively seeking joy and creating joy for others was another way I saw come together, like putting bears in windows for “bear hunts” for kids or writing encouraging chalk messages on the sidewalk.
If we rush to return to life pre-covid, I think we missed the opportunity to learn some interesting lessons about life could look different and still be sustainable and enjoyable. Consider the aspects of normal you want to return to and consider the aspects from this time that you want to carry forward as well.
And as always, be well, stay healthy, and get adjusted my friends!
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
I sat down with Ian Marshall of 5 Valleys CrossFit to chat about how to overcome working out at home, changes to your routine and how to get started moving your body if you have been out of the game for awhile (or always!).
5 Valleys CrossFit has a free online community class every Wednesday at 5pm. No experience or equipment necessary. And they are starting a 14 day challenge to help people stay on track or get on a healthier track through the continued closures of the gyms in Montana. I highly recommend getting involved, nothing like a little bit of accountability!
Reach out directly to them for more information or to get signed up!
Salutogenesis: a healthcare approach focusing on factors that support human health and wellbeing, rather than on factors that cause disease.
The salutogenic model is concerned with the relationship between health, stress, and coping. Your body is incredibly intelligent in knowing what it needs to do to keep you alive and thriving, it just needs no interference. Chiropractic falls under the salutogenic model as the philosophy behind the adjustment is focusing on clearing the nervous system of any interference, allowing for a better expression of life.
We all experience stress on a daily basis, but our resiliency to the stress is what matters. If we want to live a vital, healthy lifestyle, we need to have higher resilience. Decreased resiliency often leads to a breakdown in function in our bodies and can ultimately lead to symptoms. We want to stay on the other side of the spectrum of health, and continually support our bodies physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we focus on the ability of the body to heal as opposed to thinking outside intervention is needed (ex. drugs or surgery), we allow for the innate expression of health to happen.
The chiropractic adjustment is facilitating that innate expression to happen, facilitating healing happening within your body. The magic happens between the adjustments, as your body integrates the change in information between your brain and body. YOU are the healer of your own self.
When we are caught in the vicious cycle of symptoms that only resolve short term, we miss out on the potential to have a thriving expression of health. You are capable of so much more, if only you would allow your own body to do the work without interference.
The salutogenic model is not focused on removing symptoms, it is focused on expanding life expression. The salutogenic model is about the bigger picture of health. Chiropractic care is about the bigger picture of health.
Get adjusted, be resilient, and THRIVE, my friends!
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
Miri Disney-Faller is the owner of Back on Track Physical Therapy here in Missoula. She specializes in vertigo, neck and back pain, and headaches. We have a conversation about her work, the importance of being proactive with our health, feeling empowered in health, and her new project, Humans4Humanity!