At Black Hills Birth Boot Camp we are big supporters for chiropractic care in pregnancy, so we recently sat down with Dr. Arielle Loveridge from New Life Chiropractic in Rapid City to learn more about what she does and how chiropractic care can help you.
BHBBC: Tell us a bit about yourself?
Dr. Loveridge: I’ve lived in the Black Hills for most of my life. I went for my undergraduate degree at Black Hills State University and attended Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis for my Chiropractic training. I enjoy living in the Black Hills and taking hiking and camping adventures with my dog, Molly. I received my first chiropractic adjustment when I was just a few weeks old and have loved getting adjusted ever since!
BHBBC: When did you decide you wanted to become a chiropractor? What were your deciding factors?
Dr. Loveridge: I decided that Chiropractic was the perfect profession for me during the last year of undergrad. I started looking into medical/health professions as I wanted to help people get and stay healthy. I knew that I would need to expand on my education to help people in the way I wanted to. Chiropractic stood out as I thought it suit me. I believe in the power of the body. I think that by taking care of yourself through adjustments, exercising, and having a good diet (chiropractors have substantial hours in nutrition in comparison with most other healthcare providers) that the body can stay free of disease and heal itself when needed.
BHBBC: Tell us about the different philosophies when it comes to chiropractic care.
Dr. Loveridge: Each and every chiropractor has their own individual chiropractic philosophy; however, they are all somewhat based off of the philosophy of the developer of Chiropractic, DD Palmer. According to Palmer, innate intelligence is an individualized portion of universal intelligence. Innate functions of the nervous system can be blocked or impeded by subluxations or slight misalignments of the spinal column resulting in “a mechanical interference with flow of the nerve supply.” This causes tension on the nervous/skeletal system, decreased muscle tone, and eventually disease. Chiropractors can intervene and adjust subluxations, thereby releasing the flow and vibration of innate intelligence. My philosophy as a chiropractor is based off of the above original chiropractic philosophy of DD Palmer. I believe that by receiving chiropractic adjustments and relieving any nervous system interference, the body is free to work properly and can do great things. I also believe in a healthy diet and adequate exercise to complement the adjustment.
BHBBC: At Birth Boot Camp, we recommend seeing a webster-certified chiropractor during pregnancy. Can you explain the webster technique and why certification is important?
Dr. Loveridge: The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/SI joint dysfunction. In doing so, neuro-biomechanical function of the pelvis is facilitated.
Studies show that pregnant women receiving chiropractic care have shorter labors (1/3 shorter on average), more comfortable pregnancies (less back and other pain), decreased back labor, 50% decrease in the need for painkillers during labor, less probability of having a breech or other malpresentation birth.
If you are pregnant, you should see a chiropractor certified in the Webster technique because of the extra training hours spent focusing on the differences between the average adult person and a pregnant women. The ICPA (international chiropractic pediatric association) requires a 2 day course only focusing on the Webster technique. Most ICPA chiropractors gravitate towards the extra training the ICPA offers because of how valuable the information learned is at helping pregnant women and small children. These providers are better suited to adjust the special populations, as they have an interest and investment in these types of patients specifically.
A chiropractor that is certified in the Webster technique and follows it accordingly will not adjust a pregnant woman in a side lying position, referred to as “side posture”. This should be avoided especially during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters as it places unwanted pressure on the abdomen, specifically the round ligaments. The pelvis is less stable during pregnancy, more so towards the end and the twisting done during side posture may stretch and strain muscles and ligaments of the pregnant woman.
A chiropractor that has gone through training to adjust pregnant women will use a specific table that adjusts to fit a pregnant woman’s belly or a pregnancy pillow with a cutout for her belly. This allows for the pregnant woman to lie face down during her adjustments without any pressure on her abdomen.
To find a Chiropractor certified in the Webster technique, go to the ICPA website: http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/.
BHBBC: How often should a pregnant woman visit her chiropractor?
Dr. Loveridge: This varies greatly depending on the situation. I have women who come get adjusted who aren’t suffering from any low back pain. In this scenario, I would like that woman to maintain her body’s structure and function while carrying all the additional weight during her pregnancy. Often receiving adjustments once every two weeks throughout pregnancy up until the last month is a good frequency. Once at 36 weeks, I recommend to see mom’s weekly. This is because adjustments aren’t holding in place as well due to the increasing amount of relaxin in her body.
In the situation where the woman has low back pain, I want to see that woman 2-3x/week depending on the severity of their case and how close they are to their due date. I want to fix the problem well before they are at their 36th week. After a week or two or 2-3 adjustments, we will re-evaluate and maybe go to 1x/week, when their low back pain resolves. Low back pain during pregnancy, if not taken care of promptly usually results in them having back labor.
BHBBC: How can chiropractic care improve pregnancy? Labor?
Dr. Loveridge: Chiropractic during pregnancy is so important. Women’s body’s go through huge changes, both to their anatomy/ (structural changes) and physiology (how things work: hormones changes, heart rate). Because of the changes to their anatomy, many women have low back pain, pubic bone pain, rib pain, neck pain, upper back pain, headaches, tingling in hands. The list could go on. The body shifts forward and this puts stress on the joints of the body and muscles tend to tighten. Chiropractic helps the body accommodate these changes, taking the pressure off of the body. Women that receive chiropractic are much more comfortable while pregnant.
Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy also improves labor. I’ve talked about this previously, now I’ll elaborate on how chiropractic helps make these changes. The low back has many nerves that come out of the levels of the spine; these nerves innervate muscles and organs. The nerves innervate the pelvic floor, uterus, abdominal muscles; all which are important to be working properly to deliver a baby. If the nerve flow isn’t working due to misalignment of the spine, then these muscles may not be firing at their best. Another scenario, if the sacrum (the bone at the bottom of the spine that’s triangular) is in the wrong position this limits the space in the pelvic canal for the baby to descend or their ability to be in the correct position. Women whose babies are in the breech position (head up) tend to have problems with their pelvis, specifically the sacrum. Also, when the sacrum is rotated, or turned more to one side, this causes tension on one side of the round ligament and will lead to torsion or twisting of the uterus. The uterus being twisted will cause less space and the baby may not position themselves in a way optimal for birth. Birth providers will usually not deliver a baby in a breech position vaginally.
These reasons are only some of the reasons why all women should receive chiropractic throughout their pregnancy, there are many many more. I cannot stress the importance of chiropractic during this period in a woman’s life!
BHBBC: Do you adjust babies? Why might parents of a newborn consider chiropractic for their baby?
Dr. Loveridge: Yes, I love adjusting babies in my office. Newborns should be checked by a chiropractor as birth is quite traumatic for the spine. Studies show that 95% of newborn babies have spinal subluxations at birth. Infants have very delicate necks and even gentle births may lead to strain on the neck, causing subluxations.
Babies that have subluxations may be extra fussy, have trouble nursing perhaps favoring one side, have constipation, frequently spit-up, and many more. Getting babies spines checked before symptoms begin is proactive and leads to happy babies and moms.
Last week, I adjusted a newborn baby that and had none of the above symptoms. This baby was a happy baby and her mother had no concerns whatsoever, she just wanted to have her baby checked for subluxations. After the baby’s first adjustment, the mom came in a couple days later and exclaimed what a difference she noticed in her baby’s sleeping (taking longer and sounder naps, sleeping for long periods at night.) For both mom and new baby to sleep well through the night, that’s so important!
BHBBC: What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Dr. Loveridge: I love hearing successful birth stories, where mom’s felt great about their labor and birth experience. I also love adjusting pregnant woman, because I know how powerful the adjustment is during this stage in life. Adjusting babies is wonderful. I always hope for my morning in the office to be filled with pregnant women and babies (all stages are so fun!)
BHBBC: Have you ever seen something so remarkable because of chiropractic care, you want to share it with everyone?
Dr. Loveridge: I have so many stories that are all equally great, none of them stand out more than the others. I have seen a patient with bells palsy (facial muscles are paralyzed-patient couldn’t smile or close his eyes) on his third visit, you couldn’t tell that he had Bell’s palsy. I have seen babies with colic be the happiest babies after an adjustment of two. I have seen a pregnant women whose labor wasn’t progressing for over 12 hours, after one adjustment her baby was born a couple hours later. I’m happy to play a part in my patients’ lives and see the difference that an adjustment can make.
BHBBC: For those that have never been adjusted - pregnant or not - what advice do you have?
Dr. Loveridge: Just don’t wait to get adjusted! It’s nothing to fear or dread. It should be painless and feel really good, especially after your first adjustment. You’ll feel better than you knew you could!
BHBBC: How should people go about finding a chiropractor that is a good fit?
Dr. Loveridge: Find one that is able to adapt to suit your needs and preferences. I enjoy seeing all my patients and look forward to their next visit, so of course I’d like them to feel the same way. However, if they don’t feel that “fit” then I would like if they found another chiropractor they did find that with. It’s important to like your chiropractor; I don’t want anyone to feel like it’s just another doctor’s appointment. It should be fun visit, most people really like getting adjusted.
Thank you so much Dr. Loveridge for taking the time to answer some of our questions! If you have questions for Dr. Loveridge or would like to book an appointment with her she can be reached at
New Life Chiropractic
A Chiropractor is a great addition to your pregnancy journey along with childbirth education and a doula! Mallory is now accepting doula clients due March-November. Contact her today at email@example.com or 605-391-7633 for a free consultation or to reserve your spot on her calendar!
This blog is written by Mallory and Donna - at Black Hills Birth Boot Camp. Expect birthy topics, parenting triumphs and trials, and community resources and interviews. Have a topic idea you’d like us to address? Drop us a note!