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Ep. 45 – Chiropractic Adjustment for Lactating Parents and Newborns: with guest Dr. Clare McDaniel, chiropractor

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This is Maureen Feral and Heather O’Neal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little, or a lot along the way. So join us for another episode.

Heather: Hey everybody. Welcome back to The Milk Minute. Welcome. Welcome. We have a very exciting interview today with Dr. McDaniel of Atlas Chiropractic and she’s going to tell us all about how chiropractic can help you in pregnancy and postpartum with breastfeeding.

Maureen: Yeah, I’m really excited. But first we’re going to start with a listener question and then if you stick around to the end, we’ll do our little awards in the alcove.

Heather: This listener question is from Catherine M. She says, “how successful can a chiropractor be with correcting flat heads or treating muscle imbalances after tongue tie?”

Maureen: Oh man. Well, I don’t know about the head issue. Maybe you can answer that, but I, this, I know personally, this can be really effective in first of all, even addressing tongue or lip ties without any surgery. Um, and then certainly afterwards in addressing muscle issues and mobility. It’s, it’s where I send people first, before I have them get that snipped, because sometimes it resolves the issue entirely.

Heather: Right. And with flat heads, flat heads are a symptom of a deeper problem. So oftentimes a head will be flat maybe on one side because there might be some mild torticollis. There might be some tension in the neck where the baby is literally not able to turn their head. So they favor one side, every time they sleep.

And when they sleep 18 hours a day, that’s a lot of pressure just on the one side. So what chiropractic can help do is first of all, tell you what’s going on because they assessed the mechanics of the body and what the body is telling them, and then make a plan. And then do some mild adjustments to help make it easier for baby to move their head and be more neutral so the head doesn’t continue to flatten on one side. And it’s great because there are so few side effects to chiropractic care. And why not? Because you don’t want to end up going to your two month visit and then the doctor’s like, wow, this is so bad. We now have to do a helmet. You know, why not just go get it assessed by a doctor?

Chiropractors are doctors of chiropractic. Yep. And they will tell you. And that way it’s not a giant surprise when you go to the pediatrician and they’re like, Hey, this is what’s going on. It’s a great way to go weekly and see somebody that’s qualified to do this. So I can’t recommend it enough. I mean, why not is my answer to that question.

Maureen:  And you bring up a good point with that just being a symptom of a deeper problem. Sometimes our shallow latch and what we might attribute to a tongue or lip tie is actually just a symptom of jaw tightness, muscle issues, head or neck flexibility. You know, their poor little heads go through a lot coming out of that birth canal. And sometimes when we have interventions during birth, it can really set them back in that mobility.

Heather: Yep. I hope that answers your question, Catherine, and get ready to get your mind blown by Dr. McDaniel, because she really just affirms all of the things that we just answered in that particular question, but takes it to a much deeper level.

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Before we get into the interview with Dr. McDaniel, we just want to read a testimonial of a breastfeeding parent that did chiropractic care.

Maureen: This testimonial is from Megan. K. “Dr. Clare McDaniel is a healer. I’ve been seeing her for almost seven years through multiple pregnancy related back and neck problems. Most recently, I was having intense neck pain related to breastfeeding. The pain wouldn’t subside after multiple massage therapy appointments. So I started noticing my milk supply dropping drastically, and I was concerned that I would have to stop breastfeeding. I made an appointment with Dr. McDaniel to get adjusted.

I just randomly mentioned that my milk supply was going down. She mentioned the adjustment might help with my milk supply issue. And within a couple of days, my milk returned. By the second adjustment, my neck pain disappeared, and I have not had a supply issue since.”

Heather:  Megan. That is an awesome testimonial. I mean, I think it’s always good to hear firsthand accounts from people that are in the current situation that listeners are in knowing that there’s an option out there that’s viable. That actually works. I know it gives you just a little kernel of hope. Yeah, it does. It totally does. Little doodle kernels of hope.

Well, Megan, thank you so much for that. And let’s get into our interview with the amazing and wonderful Dr. Clare McDaniel. All right. So thank you so much for coming today.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Oh, well, you’re quite welcome.

Heather: How did you get interested in chiropractic care?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: So when I was a little girl, I fell down the stairs when I was about four and I landed on my head. So kind of acted like, from the top step to the bottom step. So it kind of acted like a whiplash, but it didn’t really. I didn’t know that bothered me and I was very active as a child growing up and athletic and a lot of moving. And then I went to college and I started sitting and studying and I had this knife in my back for a couple of years.

And I got dragged to a chiropractor. Um, my then boyfriend, now husband was rubbing my back every day and said, I just can’t do this every day. You have to get it fixed. And I did, and it was pretty remarkable.

Maureen: Awesome. That’s a great story.

Heather: I have a similar experience, you know, car accidents, whiplash and all of that. And then you live with the pain for so long. And then you’re finally, like, I guess I’ll go to a chiropractor. And I think the whole point of our wanting to meet with you today is to hopefully have people think of this as an option sooner, instead of waiting until your boyfriend’s hands are about to fall off and become nubs, because he’s been rubbing your back every day, trying to get you functional.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Exactly. And it was a misunderstanding on my part. I said, okay, I’m going. Cause it was pain in my, between my shoulder blades. I said, but the guy is not touching my neck. I can’t stand the thought of that. And this is the second thing out of his mouth. “I can help you, but the problem’s coming from your neck.”

I was like, Oh, great. So, obviously, so I’m very empathetic to that one. When I go to work with people, I, I can completely relate.

Heather: Well, you know, speaking of between the back pain, we have a lot of our breastfeeding clients and well, starting in pregnancy. You know, with all the shift in weight and everything in your body, mechanics and the hormones and all of that.

But then when they breastfeed, moving from pregnancy to this feeding pattern where they’re constantly hunched over, we often see the back pain start between the shoulder blades. So can you tell us why chiropractic care would be really important for breastfeeding and pregnant people?

Dr. Clare McDaniel:  Uh, that’s a great question. And I work with that a lot. Let’s just take a step or two back just to get a big picture of what it is that you’re trying to do. Your neck is designed to hold up your head. The rest of the spine holds up your body weight. The number one job it’s supposed to do is protect the nervous system. It’s a tube of bones, 24 bones.

It’s very flexible. It’s very adaptable. So that’s the most important job. Second job it does is hold you up against gravity. The curve in your neck and the curve in your lower back, you’re not born with. Look at your newborn infant, baby. They don’t have the curve in their neck yet, so I can’t hold up their head yet.

So in a short amount of time, you develop a 60 degree arc. It’s about 60 degrees and it holds up your head. It’s called a secondary weight bearing curve. You start to crawl and walk and develop another curve in your lower back. Another secondary weight bearing curve that really holds up your body weight.

So, the curve in your neck is holding up your head. Now you get pregnant and your breasts are getting bigger. So that’s a little bit of a strain and it’s kind of a quick change too. You know, you do have a few months to get used to it, but it does put, you know, some added weight on the upper back. So there’s a bit of a strain there. But what really gets ya is when you have the newborn and they’re so yummy and you’re holding them and you’re looking down, so your chin’s tucked a lot and you’re breastfeeding and you’re really paying attention and trying to get the latch.

Where is your head? Where are your ears? Your ears are way in front of your shoulder. You’re not bearing the weight of your head easily. And if it wasn’t in decent shape before you started this task of caring for a newborn, it’s killer, you know, it’s like a knife in your back. And that’s exactly what happened to me without a baby.

You know, there was a knife in my upper left back, you know. It was just my pattern that had gotten established. And then I started to study and look forward. People who work at desks all the time get it. Not as bad as moms. People who drive for a living all the time get it. Those are probably the top three biggest things, but new moms at times can really get a dose of it, of that pain in the upper back.

Heather: So would you say that getting maintenance chiropractic in pregnancy helps prevent issues when breastfeeding? Because we can’t, we can’t not look down some, you know?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Yeah. So you want to manage it. You definitely want to do it. So if you can, so you’re going to have more trouble with it. It’s going to be more of a challenge if you’re already predisposed to a pattern that’s not neutral. For whatever reason, you know, accident injury, car accidents are super common. They really mess with the curve in your neck. You heal with scar tissue usually, and it flattens that curve. So you still hold up your head, but you’re doing it the wrong way.

So then when you tuck your chin, it really stresses that upper back. So yes, going into it maintenance ahead of time, or improving the integrity of the weight bearing structure in the neck before you get to the task of breastfeeding would be really helpful taking pressure off of those nerves. Yes.

Maureen: Yeah. All right. So let’s skip to the postpartum then whether or not you’ve had pregnancy chiropractic care, and we have someone experiencing some pain. Are there particular symptoms that would tell us it’s more suited to chiropractic care, or do you think just any back or neck pain, that’s a good place to start?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: It is definitely a basic thing to a great place to start. If you’re fine and you go to a good chiropractor, they’ll tell you. But the strain of pregnancy and then having a newborn, it’s highly unlikely that you would not benefit from supportive care, at least. You might need corrective care if it’s really killing you, because it wasn’t great at its time, either way, it’s going to be helpful. But the symptoms would be with your, you know, once your chin slightly tucked, when you look down, it’s just magnified.

It just really hurts. If your upper back feels. People often say my head just feels heavier. At the end of the day, they actually use those words and I was like, you know what, it is. And now you’re doing it the wrong way. You’re still doing it. You don’t fall over and drop dead. We adapt. Right? But it’s hard to do it the wrong way.

Right. Health is ease. Disease is dis-ease. So you have a disease process happening in your spine that’s holding your head up the wrong way.

Heather: I feel that right now. We just did an episode on cold and flu meds, but we covered ibuprofen and Maureen was getting on me because I take ibuprofen too much. And I was like, listen. I’m seeing a chiropractor, just relax. I’m trying, I’m doing the best I can. This podcast has really helped to hold me accountable. Like the vitamin episode, I’m now taking vitamin D regularly. I’m like, okay, Milk Minute. Geez. I’ll take care of myself.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: That’s one thing, speaking of postpartum, that’s one thing that you can definitely do is take some, omega-3 fatty acids, fish oils, three grams a day. That really helps a lot just with systemic inflammation. It does, it works with many different systems, but it really helps with systemic inflammation so that when you get that really strong, sharp pain, you are inflamed and you’re doing things wrong way and you’re causing an inflammatory reaction. And also, the omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oil are really going to help with hormone regulation, which you’re doing a tremendous amount WEEKLY???.

Maureen: That’s great. That’s a great tip. I love that.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Yeah. And depression. Yeah. With postpartum depression, it’s huge. You can actually measure the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6. And if you’re way out of balance, you are so much more likely to be inclined to get postpartum depression. And if you just increase the omega-3s it levels out.

Heather: Yeah. Hey listeners, in case, in case you’ve missed it so far, Dr. McDaniel has basically explained that you go to the chiropractor for maintenance any time, even if you feel healthy. And when you go to see her, you get so much more than an adjustment. She’s going to give you a fish oils, and she’s going to talk to you about hormone regulation and self-care. It’s, it’s a different vibe. And I think that that’s really important to highlight that you don’t just go and get your neck cracked.

It’s like, which I think people think. And you know, the other thing is so many people are so uncomfortable for their entire pregnancy that they really don’t even notice it when they’re postpartum and experiencing something like this cause they’ve been uncomfortable for almost a year. And I think it’s enough important for people to just go ahead and put it on the calendar or, you know, if you’re currently pregnant, make an appointment and establish care now, but if you’re listening to this postpartum, and you’re experiencing any discomfort, whether it’s your neck or between your shoulder blades or your elbow, like the nursemaids elbow,

Maureen: Right? Even like that upper rib pain, you know, all of that, all of that’s connected to your back and your neck and your posture.

Heather: Yeah, but I think listeners will want to ask you, what, I mean for these people whose breasts are full of milk and like, they are generally uncomfortable. I think they’re probably a little bit afraid of pain going to the chiropractor, much like people are afraid of pain going to the dentist. So what can a pregnant or postpartum person look forward to with a visit? With you or any chiropractor?

Dr. Clare McDaniel:  Typically, if you’re not pregnant or postpartum, I’ll uh, well, even if you are, you will get a thorough exam, uh, examination. You have to see what’s going on the first visit. Typically most of the time we will x-ray, minimally, while you’re standing. Typically one shot from the front and one shot from the side. Of course, we don’t do that when you’re pregnant. And I don’t like doing it when you’re breastfeeding. I always say, wait until after you’re breastfeeding. And if you’re thinking about having another baby, think about getting it before you get pregnant, because it does, it is a data set that’s very helpful. And then, so you’ll listen to a person describe the problem. You do an exam and you kind of listen to what their body tells you, and then you compare it to the x-rays and you can get a pretty complete picture. Then you start for the treatments. Treatments can be, um, done a variety of different ways.

Um, most often there is a popping noise. I use my hands and I’ll apply a specific force. It’s very controlled and skillful. It’s a short, quick thrust, and it will make a popping noise, just like your knuckles. Those are all, both synovial joints, the Fossette joints in your neck the knuckle joints in your hands. So that popping noise is, it’s still phenomenon, but they think it’s a cavitation in the synovial joint space. Nothing’s breaking, nothing’s cracking, but it sounds like it, especially in your neck, when it’s right up there next to your ear, the inside of your ear. It doesn’t have to be painful. It usually isn’t painful if it is painful, it’s typically only in the beginning and it’s very fleeting and it’s very tolerable. If it’s not tolerable, I’m going to change how I’m doing it. For some people, for whatever reason, they grew differently. They’ve had surgery, infant, babies, newborns. I adjust newborns. I’ll use an instrument instead of my hands. Or if I do use my hands on a newborn, it’s the slightest bit of force.

It’s nothing like adjusting an adult. But it’s neat. There’s an instrument that you can use. The one that I use is called an activator. And it’s a little, it has a really fast excursion that’s super small and it doesn’t hardly feel like anything. And you can adjust the, the depth of the thrust to be hardly anything to where it really feels like nothing. And, um, I was adjusting a newborn one time that was just colicky. I honestly, I forget what the problem was. Um, failure to latch, colic or recurrent ear infections, super common. But when they’re newborns, it’s usually failure to latch or, colic. And I, I had the mom holding the baby a specific way.

I had the instrument completely turned down. I showed the mom on her bicep. This is what I’m doing. It feels like nothing. I do it to the baby’s neck and the baby shuttered and completely resolved. It was the most remarkable time experience. That’s only happened once. Usually I get great results, but not with the shutter. Oh, my it’s like flipping a light switch. It’s the greatest job in the world. I mean, it’s just, it’s my favorite thing to do is adjust newborn infants.

Heather: I’m sure right after that shutter, after the baby shutters, I’m sure the mom looked at you and a halo appeared above your head as the baby gingerly latched.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Yeah, I am totally just an orchestra, orchestra conductor is what I feel like. Getting all the parts to work the way they’re supposed to work. There’s an intended design. It’s fascinating. It works. You guys know birth works, you know, it’s just getting, facilitating the body’s environment to let it happen the way it’s supposed to happen.

Maureen: Yeah. And I love that you mentioned newborns, you know, in my practice personally, before we do any other interventions for tongue ties or lip ties or latch problems, I recommend chiropractic care first. I’m like, this is your lowest risk intervention with possibly the greatest chance of succeeding. And you’re not going to cause any harm by helping baby’s neck and jaw and, you know, body realign. For people who are considering that for their baby, is there like a specific training they should ask about or is it really just individual?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Uh, it’s individual. Some chiropractors feel more comfortable than others. Some will seek out, some of them get extra training while they’re in school. There is an association called the ICPA, the international chiropractic pediatric association. And you can go to their website and type in your zip code and they will let you know who has, who has taken classes.

Some people are completely certified. Some people just take a few classes. But it’s an excellent organization. Great training.

Heather: That’s awesome. And we’ll put that in the show notes for everybody, because I think that people would be very interested in that. That’s a great place to start at least.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: But there’s two other chiropractors in my office. Uh, one of them has four children and he doesn’t have any seminars with the ICPA, but he’s a really good, you know, at adjusting pregnant women and children.

Maureen: Yeah. And around here, that’s what I usually tell clients is I’m like you just, you know, I know this one person in my town, but you should just call and ask and if, and just say, how comfortable are you with that? How many babies do you actually see? Um, because especially here, you know, that kind of healthcare is few and far between for people. So in West Virginia, if you type your zip code in that database, probably nothing shows up, but for our listeners in New York or, you know, in Colorado or wherever they are, I’m sure that’s a really useful tool.

Heather: Yeah. And I’m always wondering if the listeners in Europe are like, what are these Americans talking about? Why don’t they have any of these holistic care options? Yeah. Poor Americans. My God. So you were talking about the success that you can have with treating baby issues. Can you tell us about some of the most common breastfeeding issues that you’ve seen chiropractic help with?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Uh, failure to latch is pretty common, you know, and it’s very responsive. I can’t say a hundred percent, but I’m guessing over 80. Usually, if you think about it, I mean, when I adjust an infant, a newborn it’s almost always, very rarely, is it not the upper cervical spine C1 and C2. From either the way they were sitting in or, you know, their head, head down in gestation or being born. You know, the head comes out, then they use the head to work the shoulders.

And if you’ve ever talked to some of the nurses that work in OB’s offices, depending on you know who it is doing it it’s, it can be a little rough on the baby’s neck. They are super resilient. And usually there’s no, I checked so many babies that I don’t do anything to. Many. I work on many pregnant women, a lot of pregnant women, and I encourage them to bring their babies in and have them checked right after birth.

You know, the first couple of weeks, as soon as they’re comfortable with leaving. I’ve adjusted hour old babies. I’ve adjusted four day old babies. You know, it’s just, so it’s not ever too soon to get them checked. If they’re fine leaving alone. If they’re not, you can do just the slightest bit of intervention and encourage un- impinged neural development.

The nervous system is controlling and coordinating all the other systems. It’s, it’s a key thing and we can adapt. So, they’re not going to not make it if they don’t get adjusted. They’re just going to develop better. You’re just enhancing what they have. Yeah. So anyway, um, failure to latch would be number one. Uh, I’d say colic is, is a strong second and certainly the ear infections usually don’t start until, you know, a few months in. That’s not newborns, but, um, those are by far the top three.

Heather: So how about with mom? So breastfeeding mom, what, what do you think chiropractic can do?

Dr. Clare McDaniel:  So C1 is a pretty big deal in an infant and in a mother. That’s going to regulate her hormones. It’s going to help regulate the hormone production, headaches. If that curve in the neck isn’t great, let’s support it as she’s looking down. Definitely the bottom of the neck, between the shoulder blades. These are all compensation points for stressing that neck curve, because you’re looking down so much.

And then like you’ve mentioned earlier, I like to give a lot of home instructions. Just basic things like don’t sleep with your chin tucked. At least you can sleep in neutral. Try to give you a few tips on how to get the baby to sleep a little bit longer so that you can sleep a little bit longer. But neutral posture is a big deal thing to know about.

If you stand up against the wall with your feet up against the wall, have your middle back touching, have your head touching the wall. Feel what that feels like to have your head over your shoulders. If you move your head back an inch or an inch and a half, that’s a big clue. That’s what you’re used to, you know, stand up against the wall and feel like you’re standing straight.

And if your head’s not touching, that’s a clue. So that, and then I’ll also show a women how to do an external rotation with their shoulders. And then I’ll show them some exercises they can do at home to strengthen up their middle back. But all of it is useless if they don’t do some basic things, just to take some pressure off. Sleep is a big deal.

Heather: You know what they really want to know, right? They really want to know if chiropractic care can help their milks supply.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Haha, it can. C1 again, there’s an indirect relationship to central nervous system function by adjusting the upper cervical spine. And you know, it has happened. I’ve seen it and I, it just happened a few weeks ago. Again, it’s, it’s just, they’re going about their thing. This was, um, a mom of a second baby and her neck started killing her and she kind of forgot about getting adjusted. And she came in and she got adjusted. She mentioned it about the milk and then she came back in for a follow-up treatment for her neck and said, by the way, it got my milk, you know, going again. So she was all happy. It’s just returning the body back to the way it knows how to function. Again, the orchestra conductor. Just getting the parts to work as they’re supposed to work.

Heather: I feel like that’s what we really try to stress when we talk about milk supply, in general. You know, when people are like, “Will this magic cookie make my milk supply more?” And it’s like, no, no, it’s not the cookie that flips a switch. It’s that you are stabilizing your blood sugar, that you are making sure your body knows that all of the nutrients it needs to make the milk are readily available and they don’t need to spare any. You know, and then it sounds to me like, C1 being perfectly in line is just going to help that homeostasis of the body so the body is not going to hold back making milk at all. Am I getting that right?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Right. You just want to influence neutral. Because really the milk production is, is heavily influenced deep within the brain. That’s more of a neuroendocrine function where it’s the pituitary is, is telling things what to do. So if that’s stressed, if, and that’s another thing, think about a lot of the brain tissue is fat. You know, it’s a specific type of fat and of that specific type of fat, about two thirds of that is omega-3 fatty acid type fat. So just like you were saying, give it the parts that it needs. And that’s different from the postpartum hormone or depression stuff I was talking about. Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, is a big deal.

Heather: Man, good thing I started taking them last week.

Maureen:  I take mine haphazardly. I’ll take them for like three days and then not for three, but at least I take them generally.

Heather: It’s better than nothing. Right, Dr. McDaniel?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Anything is better than nothing! But, you’ll see a remarkable difference taking three grams a day. I encourage people, look at the label and see how much you’re taking. Make sure it’s cold pressed, cold processed, because some of it is sold inexpensively and they denature the part that you want. So that’s not good.

Maureen: Yeah. No, I, I really. Love using omega-3s and I use it as part of a, um, postpartum depression, herbal protocol that I use with clients as well. Yeah. And it’s just super effective and it’s so low risk, you know, it’s one of those wonderful things that it’s very difficult to do harm with.

Heather: You know, I’d say the biggest risk is burping up fish flavor, but the ones that, the ones that I’m taking currently actually taste like lemon. And so burping up lemon is actually kind of pleasant.

Maureen: That sounds like that sounds nice.

Heather: I gotta say, you know, I’m not mad at that at all.

Maureen: Yeah. Well me, my, me and my dog take them together cause she’s really, really old and it helps her joints. So I’m like, I remember to give her hers cause I love her and I’m like, here’s your vitamins. Oh, wait, I should take some too.

Heather: And then your dog gives you that look. Oh my gosh. Well, you know, you’ve mentioned sleeping and I think sleeping is a very big challenge for postpartum people because they still have the hormone relaxin floating around in their body, which relaxes all of their joints. And this previously eight-ish pound baby has been evicted from the area and you’re left with these loose pelvic bones and a sacrum that doesn’t know where to be in the abyss. And you know, so when they’re sleeping, they’re curled up. You know, maybe they’re co-sleeping and they’re trying to do that safely. So they’re sleeping in strange positions and we’ve talked about the spine and not tucking the chin, but can you give any other tips for keeping that alignment with the rest of their body?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Well, again, just doing the best you can. I try to keep it as simple as possible. Doing it while you’re standing up against the wall so that she can feel what you’re supposed to feel- the same principle when you’re laying in bed flat on your back. Your chin’s not tucked. So roll sideways and keep that position. That’s the perfect world. How close you can keep that while taking care of an infant and trying to sleep and, you know, just doing the best that you can. But there are some, there’s a good technique that you can do for yourself at home. You can address the ligaments and the muscles around the sacrum with a yoga block and strap, and it’s pretty easy, and it’s pretty effective.

It’s real effective. And you don’t have to be pregnant to do it. You know, postpartum is fine, not even involved with pregnancy at all. Most of my patients get this bit of information, but if you lay on your back with your knees bent, you can put the yoga block between your knees and you put the strap around your knees and then you press in against the block. And out against the strap with the strap cinched up, so that when you press in you’re contracting and nothing’s moving and then you’re pressing out against the strap and nothing’s moving. And you go in for the same amount of time that you go out and you go in for as hard as you go out. And it’s not with all your mind, it’s just medium.

And just doing that simple exercise resets things. I’m going to pound the omega-3 fatty acids, I guess, into your brain. If you take the omega-3s that helps your hormones so that they’re relaxed and you’re getting C1 adjusted, all three of those things are going to help things get back to the way it’s supposed to be more quickly.

Maureen: You know, I’m so glad you brought up the yoga block thing. A year or two ago, at our midwives association, there was a DO that came to visit who practices osteopathic manipulative therapy. And she taught us a couple of, you know, easy ways to help keep the pelvis in line during pregnancy. And that was one of her tricks.

And yeah, it, it has saved me during this pregnancy. Um, and I love it, especially it realigns the sacrum and the two sides of that pubic bone, which often with that relaxin and just like kind of shift up and down. And it is so painful and it gives us that pubic symphysis dysfunction, and I think doing that simple exercise. You can have a partner, use their hands to do it if you don’t have a yoga block and strap, or you can do it that way. And it, it relieves that pain so well. And if you’ve never done it before and you try it, you might feel a pop there. That’s okay. Some people feel that and I just, they get a little scared, but it’s not a problem. Um, but yeah, it feels really good and it’s a good maintenance exercise.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Yeah. If you don’t have a block and strap, you can put your fists together and your knuckle on one hand will fit right into the hole created between your knuckle and your fists on the other hand. And it’s the perfect width. You can do it while you’re driving down the road.

Heather: Oh, see this is why you go to a chiropractor.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Not if you’re driving, if you’re the passenger.

Maureen:  We all make a little video. Let’s we’ll make a little video of it later. I can, you can lay down and I’ll show you. I’ll be your partner helping you.

Heather: Just sinch up my straps and I’ll pop my vagina bone. It’ll be great.

Maureen: No, let’s do that. That’ll be a good one.

Heather: Sure. And we’ll put that link in the show notes. Yeah. And as an aside, while I have you here, I know it’s not really about breastfeeding, but can we please, for all the pregnant people who have a breech baby inside of them right now, talk about the maneuver that you can do to encourage breech babies, to turn their little heads down in the pelvis? Because I was one of those people that did not go to the chiropractor and I ended up having a scheduled C-section for my breech baby. And I then V-backed. So I know my pelvis is capable of growing a baby in the Vertex position and pushing it out. And I really, really regret not going to the chiropractor. So please help us understand what you can do to flip a baby around.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Uh, the special training is called the Webster technique, but it’s all around making sure, um, the pelvis is in the neutral position. C1 is important too, but it’s mostly the pelvis because the ligaments around the sacrum attach to the uterus and support the uterus.

So if you’re sacrum is out of alignment, it’s going to cause, they call it uterine torsion. And it’s not neutral. So the baby ends up not neutral and doesn’t make it as comfortable for the baby to flip around 32 to 34, sometimes 35 weeks. If you can get the baby head down before 37 weeks, it’s, you know, you’re set.

So it’s a little bit trickier when I get involved after 37 weeks. My outcomes percentage isn’t as high because the baby is already really comfortable and getting bigger now and their head up. So go to the chiropractor the entire time, is what I suggest. But definitely, you know, during the last half, if, if you’re being told that the head is still up around 32 to 33, it’s not that big of a deal. It still might turn down on its own. But if your pelvis isn’t neutral and you’re used to it not being, especially if you have back pain, or round ligament pain in your lower abdomen. Those are big clues that a chiropractor can help do it at 32 to 34 weeks, 35 weeks. The earlier you start, the easier it is for the baby. I don’t do anything to the baby. This is all about just setting the mom up again, getting the orchestra to work the way it’s supposed to work.

Heather: So the Webster technique is working on the sacrum then? Is that how you would, can you explain the physical technique?

Dr. Clare McDaniel:  The sacrum, the round ligaments, the muscles around the lower back. Sometimes the pubic bone, sometimes C1, if it’s involved. Mainly the sacrum, you have to dial in the sacrum.

Heather: Well, I have to say that it worked for my second pregnancy because at 28 weeks I was still breached with my daughter and I was like, Oh, hell no. And I went to the chiropractor and I was like, I will be here every week until this baby is head down. And it worked the first time. I felt that baby go whoop. So I don’t know. I mean, that’s my personal experience. It worked for me and there’s no side effects other than vaginal deliveries. Right.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: And I also supplement with acupuncture. If they’re being stubborn and they’re not head down by 34, 35 weeks, I start to encourage acupuncture, moxibustion. And if I can just land at 37 weeks, that’s always my goal. If you come in at 37 weeks and you’re breach, then I’m going to be doing acupuncture on the first visit and I’m not going to wait.

Heather: That’s awesome. We did another episode on acupuncture that we can link in the show notes too, for people that want the full holistic picture for their pregnancy and postpartum. So, Dr. McDaniel, what is the one thing you want listeners to take away from this interview today?

Dr. Clare McDaniel: That chiropractic can be very helpful. Um, with assisting with your general health and pregnancy and postpartum. It enhances, it’s performance enhancing non-drug. There you go. Like athletes. There are two chiropractors that worked on the U.S. Olympic team. They adjust the athletes before they go out and compete just to maximize what they have. That’s performance enhancing. Well, that’s what I feel like I do with pregnant women. Just performance enhancing, non-drug.

Heather: I love that thought, performance enhancing.

Maureen: Well, thank you so much for doing this interview with us today. I hope that all of our listeners feel like they learned something and maybe that they’re a little more comfortable and confident reaching out for chiropractic care.

Heather: Yeah. And if you are in West Virginia, look up Dr. McDaniel at her wonderful building, Atlas Chiropractic. I go there regularly. You might even see me laying on her magical table, getting my back rolled out after an adjustment. It’s lovely. Thank you. And have a great day.

Dr. Clare McDaniel: Thank you so much, ladies. I love the work that you’re doing. Keep up the good job.

Heather: Thank you. This ad is sponsored by Breastfeeding For Busy Moms. Heather here, did you know that I own a business called Breastfeeding For Busy Moms? I wanted to let you know that you can feed your baby in a way that works for you. My online breastfeeding classes can help you prepare, troubleshoot and give you the confidence you need to have a smooth breastfeeding journey. I’m always sure to include actionable ways your partner can help you in order to avoid those devastating unmet expectations arguments. If you’re the kind of person that loves having personalized support, you can take advantage of my open office hours every other week for Breastfeeding For Busy Moms students. I never leave my people hanging. If you need more than a group support chat, my students also get 25% off private consults. So pop on over to Breastfeeding For Busy Moms and prepare the best way you can. I’ll see you in class. And the link is in the show

Maureen: Today our award in the alcove goes to Megan S who worked through her first milk bleb and clogged duct. That is rough and good job getting through it!

Heather:  Yeah, Megan, that is not easy. A lot of people completely panic and then they don’t do anything about it. And then it turns into mastitis and then we get calls on Sunday at 11:00 PM about emergency situations. It’s awful. Yeah. Way to preemptively work that out. And I’m going to give you the Work Your Boobs Award. Oh, hell yeah. Way to work your boobs girl. Make it work for you.

Maureen: I was going to say something about like a plumber.

Heather: You’re a boob plumber. Can we give her two awards?

Maureen: Hell yeah, we can.

Heather: We can do whatever we want. Yeah. It’s our show. You’re the boob plumber, Megan, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Maureen: Anyway, thanks for tuning in today. I hope that you learned something and I hope that you feel more comfortable seeking out chiropractic care because it’s, it’s a really amazing resource that we have.

Heather: It is. Go get yourself cracked. Bye guys.

Maureen: Thanks for listening to The Milk Minute. If you haven’t already please like, subscribe, and review our podcast wherever you listen. If you’d like to support our podcast, you can find us on Patreon at To send us feedback, personal stories, or just to chat, you can send us an email at


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