Dr Paul Fuhrman

Chiropractic and Other Resources For Pregnancy

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is one of the lesser known uses of chiropractic. As someone who has an expecting wife I have become acutely aware of the challenges during pregnancy and where chiropractic can help.

So why would you go to a chiropractor while you were pregnant?

Pregnancy can be tough. There never seems to be any constant during it other than that the body is constantly changing and it’s different for everybody. Some weeks there can be nausea, than the nausea goes away but headaches come on, then the midback tightens up as your belly grows, or the low back pain and sciatica start. Sometimes even the joint at the front of the pelvis called your pubic symphysis starts to hurt. This pain can be managed with over-the-counter or sometimes even prescription pain relievers but I personally worry about how those chemicals are going to affect the developing baby. Smoking and alcohol are big no-no’s during pregnancy and I tend to think of medications as being in the same group. If you can help it, try to stay off the meds as much as possible. If there is a true need, no shame in using them.

The great thing about chiropractic is that we have a lot of success managing these painful symptoms without using drugs. Typically, as a mother’s weight distribution changes, her posture starts to change with it and new joints in her body become painful due to the new stresses placed on them. One example is in the picture below.

Also as the pregnancy progresses the body in it’s wisdom starts to pump out hormones that begin to relax and loosen the ligaments in the pelvis.  This is a good thing because the pelvis has to expand during childbirth to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal but the negative is that before labor those same pelvic joints become lax and unstable. This is where mothers will feel “something shift out of place” in their pelvis followed by low back pain or sciatica. Check out this video on how those joints work.

Chiropractors are specifically trained to assess the joints in the pelvis and spine and determine if they aren’t moving, are moving too much, or are misaligned.

How is a chiropractic treatment different during pregnancy?

In pregnancy we are specifically focused on three things.

1) We want the bones of your pelvis to be aligned so that there is as much space as possible for the comfort and health of the mother and baby

2) We want the nerves to the uterus to function fully so that the uterus, which is a muscle, can contract fully during labor.

3) We want the pelvis to orientate in a way that the baby can be in a good position for labor and delivery.

Pregnancy isn't a disease that we need to cure. The body knows what it’s doing, we just try to give gentle adjustments to optimize the function of it. The adjustments are much lighter than a regular chiropractic visit as it takes less force to align things due to the laxity in the ligaments of a pregnant patient. Typically, I recommend a chiropractic visit every 2 weeks for the 2nd trimester and then we go to once a week for the 3rd trimester until the baby comes.

Other resources

Aside from chiropractic here are some other drug-free resources that can help immensely.


Acupuncture and chiropractic go hand in hand. If chiropractic doesn’t work for a patient, acupuncture is always my first referral. Acupuncture is particularly helpful for the unique hormonal issues that women encounter during pregnancy. In St. Paul we recommend Selby Acupuncture

Well Adjusted Babies book by Jennifer Floreani

This is our go-to book during pregnancy and after. It’s an expansive resource that we find ourselves going back to again and again.

Essential Oils

I have seen essential oils used as an alternative to medications during pregnancy with much success.

SI Belts

SI belts can be a great way to keep the SI joints and pubic symphysis stable during pregnancy and postpartum. I recommend getting an adjustment and then using the SI belts to hold those joints in a stable orientation.

EMF Belly Armor Shirt

Electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones, wifi routers, and computers are increasingly being shown to have detrimental effects on our cells.. Belly Armor shirts cancel out electromagnetic frequencies for the developing fetus.

Change Is Easy, Thinking About Change Is Hard

A big part of what a chiropractor does is coach people on how to make changes to their health.  Making change, whether it be health, job, or any other part of life has some common difficulties.

A well-known chiropractor once said that, “Change is easy, thinking about change is hard.”  As a person that loves sailing I often see aspects of sailing that are great metaphors for life. One such aspect that relates to this is when you are out on the ocean and there are storm clouds looming. The anticipation of that incoming storm is the hard part. Sitting in the calm wondering how bad the waves and wind are going to get and what is going to break on the boat is incredibly nerve-wracking. Once you are in the middle of the storm however it rarely is as bad as you anticipated and you don’t have time to worry because you are busy managing the boat.  It’s the same for making changes to your health. Thinking of how hard it’s going to be and how you’re not going to be able to do it is the hard part. Once you get out of your head and into your body and begin taking real action, things fall into place and it’s easy.

I go to a local shop frequently and occasionally chat with an older guy that works there.  One time he was poking fun at his marriage and said “It’s amazing how comfortable two people can get being uncomfortable with each other.”  It made me laugh but I think it applies to making changes to health.  We’re comfortable being in the ruts were in.  It makes us uncomfortable to think about getting out of those ruts.

Once the change has been initiated there is another roadblock that commonly gets encountered.  The initial excitement of making that change begins to wear off and you start to slog through months of imperceptible shifts from day to day.  An acupuncturist and mentor of mine, Dr. Alan Arnette, says that true healing takes seasons, not days or weeks. This can be frustrating when we all to some degree have that “quick fix” mentality.  We begin to lose momentum.

An author I enjoy reading named Captain Fatty Goodlander, says that “Tenacity trumps knowledge and talent every time.”  In other words, you’ve got to “keep on keepin’ on”.   This helps me to break through this second blockade.  Captain Goodlander offers us more advice that I remind myself of weekly; “If you can’t move forward, move sideways but never give up.  Because a door will eventually open up and if you’re still in the game you’ll be able to step through to the next phase.”

The last roadblock occurs when someone is getting close to reaching their goal.  This is self-sabotage.

In the foreword to the book “The Alchemist” Paulo Coelho says that this is “the fear of realizing the dream...”  He goes on to say that “The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt.  We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either.  We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far.”  “This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura: renouncing joy and conquest.”  

I see this almost every day with parents of young children.  These parents do indeed have this saintly aura because they have neglected their health and passions in order to be more attentive to their kids.  It’s difficult to remind ourselves that more than anything our kids need us healthy and living their lives with passion.  Why do we tell our kids to “Go out and live your dreams; you can do anything and be anything you set your mind to”, but then as soon as they do, we tell them “Shut up and stay in school.” (Captain Fatty) All the while they see us telling ourselves “I’d love to exercise more, eat better, and do what I love but I can’t because I’m just too busy.”

One more time Paulo Coelho gives us a little wisdom, he says “if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get...then you help the soul of the world”  By making positive changes in your life you are not only bettering yourself but also the lives around you, and ultimately our collective World.

Weapons of Mass Distraction

In our modern world where American children now spend on average close to 8 hours per day in front of some form media such as TV, video games, computers and cell phones. One can’t help but wonder what these “weapons of mass distraction” are doing to our health and wellness.

In his excellent book, The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner examines the four areas of the world that have the highest density of people living to be 100 years or older. In these cultures he finds common traits that hold true for all of them. One of these traits is the emphasis on maintaining a social circle throughout life. Through this he concludes that if one wants to live a long a fruitful life one needs a strong social support system.  

In fact the Journal of the American Medical Association recently validated this conclusion in a recent study. In this study several hundred volunteers were exposed to a cold virus. The volunteers with the most socially diverse networks were the most disease resistant.

One would think that with the advent of cell phones and social networking sites like Facebook that relationships would be even easier to strengthen and maintain. We can now reach virtually anyone we know instantly 24 hours a day. In many cases however this media has actually robbed us of our communities leaving us more isolated than ever. My Grandpa’s generation spent their evening’s playing cards, roughhousing in the yard with their kids, telling jokes, or going dancing. We now spend our evenings surfing the internet, relentlessly updating Facebook with status updates, or zoning out on TV. We have signed off to reality in favor of reality TV.

Fortunately, technology does have an upside. We have infinite opportunities for forming and strengthening personal relationships. The internet is a great tool for finding activities to do with your family and friends, and if you lack a social circle, the internet has sites to find like minded people to hang out with.  

Michael Bernard Beckwith said, “The only things that are missing in your life are the things that you’re not willing to give to another.” If you feel lonely, reach out to someone who is lonely. If you feel disconnected to your family, turn off the TV and reconnect. The health of our society depends on each one of us working diligently to improve our interconnections and strengthen our social networks. Make sure you do your part.

Healing Tip:

There are several great websites for families to find activities to do and for individuals to make new friends. Meetup.com is a site that holds gatherings such as hikes or get-togethers based on similar interests. I, as well as my sister, Susan, have used this site very successfully when relocating to new areas.  Yelp.com is good for finding hikes, restaurants, parks, playgrounds etc. Taking a class at a community college also works like a charm!

Detoxing the Mind: Doing a Media Cleanse

For the past year I have experimented with drastically cutting out “weapons of mass distraction” (as coined by Bruce Lipton) such as TV, radio, and newsprint from my everyday life.  It started for me when I began to get fed up with the advertising on television and what I felt those ads were telling me. “You’re not good enough, you don’t have enough money, you need drugs and alcohol to feel better, life is hectic, and there are people out in the world that want to kill me” were a few things I was hearing. In fact, just watching one half-hour episode of the evening news with the added bonus of a pharmaceutical ad every commercial break was enough to make me feel depressed and unhealthy.

The founder of Chiropractic, D.D. Palmer, wrote back in 1910 that poor health is a result of “thots, traumas, and toxins.” D.D. Palmer was truly ahead of his time in making this observation.  Today it is fairly common knowledge that there are mental, physical and nutritional causes of ill health but in that day and age it was a stretch. We know now that we have to eat better foods and move our bodies well to be well, but most of us are guilty of disregarding what we put into our minds. D.D. Palmer equated this to a three-legged stool. If you are focusing on your physical and nutritional needs but neglecting your mental well-being, the stool will fall over. 

In response to this I started to “fast” from the media. In essence I wanted to “turn off reality television and tune into reality” (Bruce Lipton again!) We unplugged the TV and stored it in the garage. On my drive to work I turned off the radio and visualized great things happening in my day. On the way home I listened to a great album or stimulating speaker to unwind (TedTalks, Spinal Column Radio). I gave up the newspaper and limited internet use to only when I was in the clinic; none at home.

There were times when I was incredibly bored at home. I had to revert back to reading books daily. When I couldn’t get myself to read I’d rent a movie and watch it on the computer. I figured at least there would be no advertisements in a rented movie. We started playing board games and we began having dinner with friends on the weekdays. My dog enjoyed much more attention and playtime. I played more too! I went to bed earlier. I was able to be more present with my patients and my results with them improved. When I did happen to catch a news piece or ad it was easier for me to read between the lines and see what message they were really trying to convey to my subconscious. In short, I think I was able focus my mind more on the “now” and less on the negative messages and distractions media presents that have no bearing on our day-to-day lives.  

There are negatives to tuning out. I can’t follow politics or sports very well. I feel like an irresponsible citizen. I have no idea who I will vote for or even if I’m informed enough to vote. In my mind, however the positives outweigh the negatives. Mother Teresa was asked one time “What can we do to promote world peace?” She replied simply, “Go home and love your family.” For me it’s more important to feel connected, focused and engaged to the people and events within my day-to-day life rather than be up-to-date every hour on the latest political scandal or natural disaster on the other side of the globe. 

Chiropractic at its core is focused on empowering people to thrive throughout life rather than just survive till death. When we take into account how we treat our bodies, what we eat and what we choose to put into our minds, the body heals all on its own and true wellness happens, no medication necessary. Try it for yourself. Do a one month news fast. Use the extra time you gain to do something fulfilling, engaging, or fun. Share what you discover with others.  It’s enlightening to discover what lies beneath all that mindless chatter.

The Comforts of Being Forgotten

In the last week how much have you thought about your great-grandparents? I would venture to guess that most of us would answer not at all regarding these important family members. It’s a bit scary to think that in more or less three generations you will be forgotten. When my wife first thought of this idea, it immediately summoned up a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. How can the memories of us all but vanish that quickly?  

I think that feeling in my stomach was my ego getting very uncomfortable. Ego or self-importance can create a great deal of unnecessary stress. Most of us think of ourselves as being important, with important things to accomplish. Sometimes when this self-importance gets a little over-grown in our minds we start to exaggerate the things that don’t matter in our lives. A large amount of unnecessary stress can come from “sweating the small stuff.”  Realizing how brief and rather insignificant our life is can put things into perspective.

I like to use this exercise of knowing that I’ll be forgotten as a tool when I’m stressed and I need to manage my thoughts. Dr. Wayne Dyer calls it “being the observer.” In other words, stepping back and realizing that in the grand scheme of things we are but a small piece of something larger and these trivial worries that start to run our lives are so tiny that it is laughable in how much it invades our well-being.

There’s nothing wrong with being forgotten in three generations, in fact it can be very comforting. Who is going to remember my shortcomings, mistakes and failures? Why should I ruin my health and enjoyment of life stressing about everyday problems? Why shouldn’t I take risks and do what I love without fear of failure or what others think? When we see that we aren’t all that high and mighty, our sense of self-importance gets out of the way and allows for what really matters to surface.

Roller Coaster

My first son was born a short time ago. When he was lying in the baby warmer being weighed I was looking at him and thinking about how he had been allotted roughly 100 years of life. When that first 24 hours was over I was thinking how 100 years seemed like such a small amount of time and how already one day was gone. They pass so easily and as I’ve gotten older the weeks and months start passing by faster and faster. I thought of how a quarter or more of my time here on earth is gone.  It scared me that I’m already that far along. Had I wasted my time here so far? Could I have used it in a better way? Do I have regrets?

I’ve heard a great analogy about life as a roller coaster. When we enter into life or a roller-coaster we step onto this ride knowing that we are going to be experiencing a wide range of ups and downs. But we step onto it knowing that it’s just a ride, that it’s only temporary and that we made a choice to be on it. When we experience the thrills or fear of the ride, it feels real through our whole body, but we know that the ride will come to an end and that we’ll be let off safe and sound back where we began.  

It helps me to think of this when times get tough. It’s very easy when life isn’t treating you well to feel like your whole world is crashing down and that this one bad experience will ruin you forever. When I look at life like a ride, it helps me to step back. I remind myself that I chose to experience these emotions and hardships. I know it’s only temporary and I know that in the end I will return back to where I began. In this perspective it seems less serious and grave. I don’t have to worry about “wasting” days or losing time. I don’t have to worry about my success or regrets. I’m just experiencing the ride, and in the end I’ll be getting off none the worse for wear.  

When I look at my boy I hope he doesn't take life too seriously. I hope he enjoys it and realizes that it is only a ride and the ups and downs and thrills and spills of everyday life are just temporary. As long as he's happy and serving others for the majority of it, it's time well spent. It's too short to be spent dwelling on worries and pain. It's just a ride; there are bigger and broader things out there. Eventually in 100 years or so he'll be undoing his lap bar and stepping off of it like all of us do. As long as he's learned a few lessons for what’s next, and as Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it “knows that even one life has breathed easier because he has lived.” He’ll have succeeded in my book; and if not, I'm a believer in do-overs :)