Pregnancy and postpartum is such an incredible time in a woman’s life. It’s also when her body (and mind) go through the most changes quite rapidly. After I met Dr. Vanessa Fritz and got to know her and her practice, I could tell how much she truly cares for her patients. She’s a one-of-a-kind chiropractor who will help you get to the root cause of your health issue.
Recently, Dr. Vanessa has worked hard to achieve additional chiropractic certifications for helping babies and kids. Luckily for us, she agreed to sit down with me and chat about why you might consider chiropractic care during pregnancy and for your newborn.
Some of Dr. Vanessa’s responses have been edited for clarity, but I tried to leave them as much as possible for you to feel like you’re talking with her! Please enjoy our conversation.
How Prenatal and Postnatal Care Helps Mom and Baby Thrive
What’s the mission and vision of the Chiropractic Company?
My husband and I run a family-based wellness practice. We really enjoy seeing families live out their goals of a healthy lifestyle in whatever terms that means. That can be a little different for everybody. Whether it’s reducing pain or discomfort in their life, or helping them restore doing activities that they are no longer able to do because of some discomfort or inability to perform a task; or even people who are trying to be more proactive with their health. In our practice, I have a niche of prenatal and pediatric care. It’s the same overall goal that I’m trying to help children meet a healthier lifestyle.
What are your chiropractic care specialties?
I have a pediatric and prenatal certification, and it’s through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). It’s a group of about 6,000 doctors throughout the nation. I have my pediatric and prenatal certification, which is an extra 200 hours of postdoctoral training through the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics. It’s a lot of time and training spent in-person learning a variety of different techniques to address common pediatric or prenatal dysfunctions or even focusing on building people’s immune systems or helping kids meet their milestones in a timely fashion. I’m helping remove any interference from the outside world and helping their bodies live their best life on their own. I’m also trained in the Webster Technique, which is a technique to help relieve pubic pain, round ligament pain, and help correct pelvic misalignments that can contribute to less than ideal positioning of a baby in utero.
How can pregnant women benefit from chiropractic care?
As adults, we don’t really go to the doctor or are proactive with our health compared to when we were younger. I think that by the time you get to a certain age that being proactive with healthcare tends to drop off. When you’re a child, you go to the doctor more frequently.
One of my goals is to try to help women be more proactive with their health throughout pregnancy. It’s just setting that precedent at the beginning of life for taking more accountability for your health and being able to help yourself without having to use drugs or surgery as an option.
There are a lot of things we can do to help keep you comfortable through your pregnancy like helping with tailbone or pubic pain, upper back and lower back discomfort, and headaches. Also, on a more proactive side, we can help you prepare for delivery. We talk about a baby coming into this world and they come out of a pelvic outlet that can have dysfunction like the rest of our bodies. I tell my patients it’s a much smoother process when the baby can come out a round pelvic outlet rather than one that is twisted or has some dysfunction in it.
I want to paint the picture that things can happen more smoothly and comfortably if I’ve been hands-on with them throughout this whole process. It’s allowing for more change to happen in a mother’s body. If she’s got a lot of physical stress and discomfort, that can translate to stress in utero. So I want to do what I can to help remove daily struggles. Not only to help mom throughout pregnancy and delivery, but to help set baby up for the best possible case scenario after delivery for a lifetime of good health.
How can women benefit from postnatal care?
Everyone has a different experience during delivery, and one of the biggest questions when someone is under prenatal care is, “when should I come back.” Which is great that they say “when” not “should I.”
Everyone needs that reset because going through delivery is a marathon and not an easy process. I think everybody needs that hard reset to help their body come back to healing ideally the way it’s supposed to.
I have had women come in the day after they deliver for an adjustment and I’ve had patients who’ve had a c-section wait until their 6- week postpartum visit before they’ve felt comfortable for another adjustment. It’s really just trying to be more proactive at removing those discomforts of life that we don’t have to deal with. Just helping us recover the way we should. Our body has gone through a rapid change, and now it’s got to go on another long journey of restoration and healing, and I help encourage the body to go back to that normal reset.
How do newborns benefit from chiropractic care?
Newborns benefit in a variety of ways. Newborns don’t present with the same types of issues that an adult does. They can still have stress in their life, and their life has been short, but if you‘ve ever been present at a delivery, it is somewhat of a stressful experience for the baby. Whether the baby is being pulled out vaginally or via a c-section or there was some intervention with a vacuum, that can cause a lot of stress to the baby’s spine.
Even though babies are really well protected in utero, they’re still exposed to a lot of the things mom experiences. If the mom is under chronic stress or in an environment exposed to things that could affect the baby, then we see that often present shortly after delivery. Some of it is in the form of physical discomforts that they experience. One of the challenges is that babies can’t tell us where or how they are experiencing pain, so that’s up to me to try and figure out where they’re having issues.
Research has been done to assess what kind of trauma or stress a baby goes under after delivery, and in 9 out of 10 deliveries, the baby experiences some kind of physical expression of the stress that they experienced. Some of that might be that they present with a strain in their neck, which can lead to them not being able to turn their head properly. Not only is that physically uncomfortable, but that could lead to issues like latching for feeding. Another example, they can present with an issue in their lower spine which can lead to constipation.
Those are all things we check for when I see an infant to make sure they’re meeting those normal neurological milestones as well as helping relieve those physical stressors they might be experiencing after delivery.
As they grow, we can help with common ailments like tongue or lip ties, reflux, colic, ear infections, or maybe they can’t roll to one side or crawl because something isn’t right with their spine. We can help encourage them to heal from a variety of things as they grow and become more independent and mobile. Beyond the newborn stage, we still encourage preventative checks as we do with adults.
How old was your youngest patient?
I adjusted my own kids within an hour of being born, but the youngest patient I had in the office was a day old. And the oldest patient I adjusted was in their 90s.
Is newborn care safe?
I get asked this question a lot. When people think about chiropractic care for newborns, they’re either totally on board or horrified. Prenatally everything that we do is safe and has been tested, and I want the best outcomes for mom and baby too so I’m not going to do anything that puts their health in jeopardy.
However, I don’t adjust babies the same way I adjust an adult. I use really light and gentle pressure. Depending on the person’s type and lifestyle, an adult might need a more firm technique. An infant’s stress is relevant to their size and body. I’m still able to easily move joints and parts of their body with gentle pressure with my fingertip.
Think of the pressure you use to check if a peach is ripe in the grocery store. That’s about the amount of pressure I might use on a newborn patient. Very gentle yet effective.
How can readers support you?
If there is someone in your family or you know someone struggling with certain health issues around pregnancy and postpartum, please keep me in mind! Common issues might be breastfeeding challenges, or they’re pregnant and uncomfortable or you want to help them prepare for an easy delivery or their newborn is struggling with a variety of issues to keep me in mind.
Following us on our social media channels puts us out there for more people in the community to know that we’re here and help with these things. We do education on our channels that can help people throughout their life.
You can follow Dr. Vanessa Fritz’s practice on Instagram here or visit her website to schedule an appointment with her!
Supporting Small Businesses in Oconomowoc, WI
As a small business owner and community member, I’m happy to share local experts like Dr. Vanessa Fritz with you. I’m all for supporting other amazing business owners and featuring them on my blog because I truly believe it benefits everyone! I’m also grateful to Dr. Vanessa for allowing me to capture her headshots featured in this blog. If you’re interested in updating your headshots or brand photos, please send me a message here.