I'm so happy to be able to share this question and answer with Julie Qualle, DC! She is an amazing chiropractor who specializes in prenatal, postpartum and pediatric care. Not only have I had clients rave about her, I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Julie myself. She is such a caring, nurturing person and truly gifted healer. Read on to hear directly from Dr. Julie.
Q: Would you please share a little about your background and what led you to chiropractic?
A: I was first adjusted as a baby. My parents knew the benefit of natural, gentle means of encouraging movement and healthy body functions. As I got older, I knew I wanted to serve people, help them alleviate pain, if possible. I also knew I wanted to do this without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractic was a natural choice. I had two delightful daughters born at home, went on to homeschool them for several years, and worked hard at being an attached, compassionate mother. I breastfed until my girls were nearly 3.5 and nearly 4. We co-slept, carried, and learned a lot about each other through elimination communication. I love being a mom. I love supporting pregnancy, birth, and the child-rearing years.
Q: How does chiropractic work?
A: Chiropractic works by helping the joints of the body move more freely. When we have spinal joints moving freely, the nerves exiting the spinal cord can more effectively do their job, whether that job is speeding up a heart or colon, or slowing down respiration and adrenal gland output. Every part of the body functions better when it has free, easy movement. I use my hands to help joints move, and I gauge the necessary amount of force to use based on the individual patient. Babies benefit from early adjustments (ideally, the day they're born) to help minimize restriction from tight fits in the uterus, as well as any spinal trauma from birth itself. Birth is normal, natural, and necessary, but it can be pretty tough on babies' tiny bodies. When I evaluate their spines after birth, I'm able to find and then eliminate restrictions that could otherwise lead to trouble nursing or feeding, difficulty digesting, trouble sleeping and calming, etc. Adjusting babies is NOTHING like adjusting adults! An infant adjustment is done while snuggling the baby, is much more like a massage, or gentle pressure and hold, and babies often fall asleep or stay asleep through the adjustment. Before babies are born, though, I adjust Mom.
Q: Can you talk a little about the Webster Technique?
A: Webster Technique is a series of steps to evaluate and balance the pelvis and uterus. Mom starts face-down, and I evaluate and adjust her sacrum. She then turns over (I have tables assist with this, because we all know turning over when we're carrying a large baby is no easy feat!), and I evaluate and release tension on her shortened and tight round ligament(s). This is a very gentle, really subtle, but extremely effective manner of balancing the pelvis. The Webster Technique sometimes gets mislabeled as "the baby turning technique." We need to make sure to explain that yes, many babies will move head-down after this adjustment, but that is just the result of having a balanced pelvis. Once Mom's pelvis is balanced, baby automatically moves into their most beneficial, efficient position, which is almost always head-down. A baby already head-down will not turn to then be head-up.
Q: What other ways can chiropractic be beneficial specifically during the childbearing year?
A: Chiropractic is especially beneficial during the childbearing years because Mom is doing such hard, amazing work during this time. Pre-conception chiropractic care can help regulate menstrual cycles and ovulation. Having a well-ordered and healthy nervous system at the time of ovulation, conception, and implantation can help to eliminate many of the early pregnancy issues. Being adjusted throughout pregnancy helps to minimize stress for Mom and Baby, can decrease nausea, headaches, irritability due to hormonal shifts, and then tightness and soreness later in the pregnancy due to carrying a growing human being.Don't forget that you'll need care after baby comes! Sometimes we heap all of the attention on Baby after they arrive, but the truth is Mom (and potentially Partner) is the one carrying, feeding, working so very hard to raise this child Earthside, and needs all the support they can get! Shoulders, upper back, and neck all curve in and forward as we achieve the "Mother Curl," or the forward hunch of constantly carrying and loving this little being. Mom carries the car seat, the diaper bag, and these put enormous strain on her back, neck, arms. I've been there. I know how you feel. You still need love and support after pregnancy!! You can also benefit from postpartum core and pelvic floor rehab classes that I offer for free to my patients. There is so much to learn even after Baby is born.
Q: What can patients expect during their first visit if they come to see you?
A: For someone visiting me for the first time, you can expect a warm welcome, a calm environment to be just as you are. You are welcome to come alone, with support, with babies or children along for the ride :-) I offer a longer session to make sure that we have time to address all of your health concerns, feelings regarding pregnancy, birth, and beyond. I am hear to listen to your health history, do an evaluation, and help ease your body into more comfort and function. We often have time to talk about any thoughts or concerns postpartum, as well. I offer specific breathing techniques for birth (I was a doula for 9 births prior to working full-time as a chiropractor), as well as postpartum support including latch and feeding; sleeping; carrying; immune support; and healthy play. I work to connect you with the knowledgeable, incredible people in our community who know so much more than I do about their fields and passions. This may include doulas, massage therapists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, etc.