Pregnancy should be a beautiful time for most women but let’s be honest, it can get pretty uncomfortable. Carrying extra weight from your pregnancy puts extra stress on your spine which could cause lower back, neck and shoulder pain. We had the privilege to speak to Dr. Kamilla Holst, a pregnancy and baby chiropractor, about what she does and how it can help alleviate some of the aches and pains of pregnancy.
Can you tell our readers a little a bit about yourself and your role as a specialist pregnancy and baby chiropractor?
I’m originally from Scandinavia, where I finished my masters degree in Clinical Biomechanics (Chiropractic) in 2009. Afterwards, I started working in a private practice straight away, building up my expertise with pregnant women and babies. It came very natural to me as I was the only woman in the clinic at the time and hence seeing female patients was right up my alley.
After four years, I opened my own woman’s wellness clinic and started focusing more on optimizing women’s health rather than just treating symptoms.
I believe pregnancy is the most important time in a woman’s life. Creating a new human takes a lot of energy and strength and it is my job to make that journey as comfortable as possible. This doesn’t mean that I refuse to see men. I do sometimes, but following a woman on her journey from trying to get pregnant, to growing week after week and finally meeting her baby is what makes me get up in the morning.
Why is spinal health and alignment important for pregnant women?
With changes in hormone balance, different weight distribution and bad posture, it is very common to experience back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. In fact 50—70% of all women experience back pain during pregnancy!
This can be relieved by gently mobilizing the spine and releasing any tension in the surrounding muscles. Ensuring your spine and pelvis is positioned correctly allows optimal space for your baby to grow, move and can prevent breech presentation.
What are 5 good reasons to have chiropractic care as an expectant mum?
- Improvement of sleep
- Less stressful pregnancy
- Eliminates pain
- Significantly reduces labour time
- Helps control nausea and reflux
Why would a child benefit from chiropractic care?
Some studies indicate that up to 80% of babies experience birth related spinal trauma. Causes include prolonged birth, use of forceps, Cesarean, cord around baby’s neck and breech babies. Chiropractors can help restore balance in the baby’s spine helping them with excessive crying, difficulty sleeping, stomach problems, flat skull and breastfeeding challenges.
For those readers who might be worried about safety, is it safe for a child to receive treatment? At what age can they start?
The risk of serious adverse reaction from chiropractic treatment is as low as 1 in 5.8 million. In other words you are 5 times more likely to be struck by lightning! With regards to your baby, very gentle techniques are used (mostly without manipulation), making the risk associated even lower.
Also, a good rule is to see a practitioner who specialises in pregnancy and babies every day, not just occasionally. Word of mouth from your friends and their experiences is a great way to find a practitioner who suits your specific needs. We are all different and if you feel good from your treatment, so does your baby. I usually recommend getting your baby checked within the first month after birth. However, it is never too late to have a check up. I see both babies and children of all ages in the clinic.
What symptoms do most pregnant women come to you having and how can they be treated with chiropractic care?
Common problems I see in the clinic ranges from infertility, lower back, hip, and tailbone pain, headaches, neck and shoulder tension, tiredness, restless legs, lack of sleep, acid reflux, breech presentation to anxiety about giving birth. The treatment I provide focuses on restoring the optimal balance in the body by correcting any misalignment with precise, gentle, controlled joint adjustment, reducing pain and restoring mobility.
I’m a trained Strategic Intervention Coach, so I have the tools to listen and provide support for those women who need that little extra care during pregnancy. I also published a book last year (The Fear Bucket List – from Victim to Power Woman) providing tools and support to women who have suffered from sexual abuse.
What are some regular issues babies have and how is chiropractic care used to treat these symptoms?
- Difficulty feeding and attachment
- Sleeping problems
- Preferred side to lie on
- Excessive dislike to tummy time
- Lowered resistance to infections
- Flat skull
When I treat babies I use an instrument called an activator to gently remove any interference in the baby’s nervous system. I also use massage techniques and a bit of reflexology and craniosacral release.
(You can check out my Instagram for full baby treatment or go to my YouTube channel)
Besides treating pregnant women and babies you also treat musculoskeletal symptoms and sport injuries. Why is regular chiropractic care so important for everyone?
As a former athlete, I know how important it is too feel 100%. Aches and pains take our focus away from what is important. Whether you sit in an office all day or you exercise frequently, it is a good idea to have your spine aligned to avoid injuries and bad posture. I get treatments myself every two weeks to keep myself in tip top shape. I sleep better, am more focused, don’t suffer from headaches anymore and my immune system has been boosted.
If my clients have to crawl in to see me, it’s already too late! I want to teach people to take responsibility for their own health and start treating their bodies with respect. This means fixing the underlying issue, creating better posture, and ensuring you have optimal blood flow to the brain when you have a big project that needs to be done. Too many people in this city work too hard and wait to get help only when the situation gets bad. The old way of just prescribing painkillers is outdated. It’s better to remove the tension causing the pain and preventing it from coming back. Your nervous system controls your body so if it’s out of balance you just don’t feel good. It is that simple.
Besides seeing a chiropractor regularly, what are 3 things everyone can do to better support their spine, back and neck on a daily basis?
- Change your work positions. Change from standing to sitting throughout the day, get a gym ball to sit on and engage your core instead of a normal office chair.
- Regular exercise is key. You don’t have to work out every day, but make sure you counteract sitting down with getting out and moving your body at least 3 times a week. Find something that makes you happy.
- There’re gadgets that you can attach to your back to remind you not to slouch and sit straight up. Posture is everything so if you can be aware of your posture every day, you will really see a change. If you can’t afford a posture gadget have a colleague remind you during the day if you slouch.
Looking after your own mental health is becoming more and more important these days. What 3 things can everyone do to start caring for their mental health and wellness?
What turned my life around was daily meditation. It sets me up for the day no matter what might be thrown at me. It centers me, keeps me focused and it’s easy for everyone to learn. Just 10 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits. I made it a point to teach people to meditate in my book, because this is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise is medicine and movement is key to a healthy mental health. If you’re slouched all the time, you will naturally feel depressed. It is hard to be upright and smiling while feeling depressed. You can even trick your brain by sitting upright and smiling to make you feel better and releasing happy hormones into your body.
Start eating healthy 80% of the time. If you fill your body with junk you will feel like junk! Pretty simple and yet a lot of people eat more when they feel down, creating even more fatigue and sluggishness. If you don’t know how to change your lifestyle on your own, get help from a professional who can keep you accountable. Your body will thank you for it and you will feel so much better and have energy to do the things you love.
To book an appointment with Dr. Kamilla, call +852 2522 7998 or WhatsApp +852 9101 4116.
Follow Dr. Kamilla on Instagram for updates.
Opening hours: Monday—Friday, 10:00am—6:00pm; Saturday, 10.00am—1:00pm
Dr Kamilla Holst Chiropractor 14/F Lee Kum Kee Central, 54-58 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong, www.kamillaholst.com