If you don’t already know Kelly, I am so glad that you will get to know her a little bit right now! She is an amazing resource in our birth community, and I am so happy to get to introduce you to her.
I had the honor of first meeting Kelly a few years ago. We met at a birth when she was called in as a Chiropractor to help a mama who was working hard to get her baby out. Right away we hit it off, and we have been to quite a few births together ever since. Kelly makes for a pretty amazing combination as a chiropractor and birth doula! And she is just a lovely person to be around. I’m also thrilled to have her as part of my team as a birth assistant in my practice. She is truly one-of-a-kind.
Chiropractor, Birth Doula, and Birth Assistant
Husband Scott and Dog Gus
Favorite weekday dinner:
Chili- warm and comforting this time of year
Yoga, swimming, and any workout class that plays a good beat
Favorite downtime activity:
Outdoor activities with my family
Kate: When did you know you wanted to be a chiropractor?
Kelly: It was a combination of several interests and factors that all naturally led me to this career path. I was in my junior year in college when I made the final decision to becoming a Chiropractor. The complexity of the human body has always been a fascination for me, which is why I knew from a young age I wanted to go into healthcare. Add in my desire to teach people how to live healthy lives, and my love for working with kids and pregnancy and nothing could have fit me better. As a Chiropractor I get to do all those things and more! My mom deserves credit here as well (as they usually do). She took me to a great Chiropractor who helped me feel better and furthered my interest in health and wellness by always having amazing answers to all my questions.
Kate: How did you find about doulas, and what was your journey to become a doula?
Kelly: I remember it very clearly; I was sitting in a course on Chiropractic Pregnancy and Pediatric Care right before I graduated from Chiropractic School. I had chosen to take the additional training because I knew there was so much more to learn on the subject to become a great practitioner. I sat in the class soaking it all in and thinking, ‘this is amazing, I love this. I need to learn more. Lots more. Where can I learn more?’. In my search to learn more about the childbearing year I learned about doula training and didn’t hesitate to sign up and start that journey. The journey has allowed me to grow a passion that I never expected and I am continuously grateful for it!
Kate: Tell me a bit about your practice.
Kelly: I have a private practice in South Minneapolis- Flourish Chiropractic. I treat people of all different ages with all different concerns. I have a very gentle and friendly approach with my patients, perfect for those who are unsure about seeing a Chiropractor. I take the time to listen to my patients concerns and address the issues that are important to them. Treatments will include a full spine check up, looking at any extremity concerns (shoulders, knees, etc), lots of muscle work, and nutritional/lifestyle work as well. It is very much a holistic approach- meaning we look at your whole body and its function, not just one individual part. This translates to you having a longer visit than most Chiropractors (45-60 minutes), where you will get complete focus from the doctor. I have advanced training in different techniques like pregnancy, pediatrics, nutrition, acupuncture, and applied kinesiology. All of these help me provide individualized care that is suited to you and your current situation.
Kate: What is the best part of your job?
Kelly: It is impossible to choose just one!! The look on a patient’s face when you given them renewed hope. Teaching: I love to teach people about their bodies. The smile I get when someone explains that they were able to do a favorite activity again with no pain. Adjusting a baby as they comfortably snooze away. I am so blessed to work with people through out their unique journeys in life. Whether is it a couple having their first baby, someone healing from an injury, or someone who has decided to start a healthier lifestyle, I love being a part of their journey! Every day brings unique individuals and challenges and I love it.
Kate: I’ve seen first hand how moms who get adjusted throughout pregnancy have much smoother and shorter labors. Can you explain why that is?
Kelly: Chiropractic treatments balance the body and bring increased function to joints and muscles. During treatments we remove irritation to the nervous system. It is important to understand that your nervous system is how your body communicates. If you were to look specifically at pregnancy you would see there are a lot of different factors that can effect how labor starts and progresses. One is the structure of the pelvic bones and their surrounding soft tissues. There are specific ligaments and muscles that can be worked on to provided better movement of the pelvic bones. This also means that the uterus is in an optimal position in the pelvis and not twisted or tight on one side. Babies like a balanced uterus where they can move and wiggle into a good position. It is also worth mentioning that by removing restrictions to this area the mom can also experience a decrease in her discomfort! The other factor is chemical. There is a complex cascade of hormones that initiates and progresses labor along. This cascade is dependent on the nervous system to properly send and receive the appropriate messages at the appropriate times. When a Chiropractic treatment removes the interference to the nervous system it is allowing the nervous system to do what it is made to do. A third factor is all the education and lifestyle advice that is given at each appointment. I commonly give patients homework. These are things they can do that will help bring balance to their bodies, decrease any discomfort they are having, and help prepare them for the birth of their baby and beyond!
Kate: You often work with babies too. How would you say adjusting a newborn is different than adjusting an adult?
Kelly: I love working with babies! It is such a pleasure to assist their little bodies to move and grow. The same concepts apply to babies as to adults. We remove restrictions in the joints so that the nervous system can function optimally. The concept is the same, but what it looks like is very different. There is no quick movements or firm pressure with babies. Everything is slow and gentle. In fact, a lot of my little patients will choose to sleep or feed during their treatment. We go at their pace, within their comfort level. We address at all the aspects that important to them- sleeping and digestion (pooping) are big ones. 🙂 With babies we will also focus on their cranial bones, helping them stay mobile and properly mold back into place after traveling through the birth canal. Why should a baby see a Chiropractor? Babies have spines too, and their nervous system is developing at an incredible rate. Chiropractic helps them start off with a good foundation for growth and development.
Kate: You also are willing to come and adjust a mom during labor. What does that look like? And how does that help?
Kelly: When I adjust a mom in labor I do my best to mold right into her current birth team and match whatever energy or emotion that s being played out in the labor. I don’t disrupt the journey or experience; I join it and assist in moving it along. The body changes dramatically during labor. With each contraction something can change. Sometimes the change that occurs hinders the process and by providing an adjustment or position suggestion I can help the process along. Any treatment that I do is flexible and we let the laboring women dictate the timing and location. It becomes a bit of a dance with the mom, which can be quite a beautiful thing.
Kate: How does being a doula affect your work as a chiropractor and visa versa?
Kelly: They work synergically together. The skills I use for one usually overlaps into the other. In both roles I am listening, looking at the big picture while still paying attention to details, educating, and advocating. They really build off of each other. Being a Chiropractor makes me a better Doula, and being a Doula makes me a better Chiropractor.
Kate: Sometimes people are worried about getting adjusted if they’ve never been to the chiropractor before. How would you describe what you do?
Kelly: I always want people to be comfortable and understand what we are working on and why. I initially spend time explaining what we are going to do and what it will feel like. I always encourage any questions and only do what the patient is comfortable with. It is not a painful experience. I am a gentle practitioner and most patients are surprised at how relaxing the treatments are.
Kate: How would you say that you are unique from other chiropractors in the community?
Kelly: My training and experience make me unique. I have a specific skill set that takes in all aspects of health, not just the skeletal system. I am aware that it takes time to listen and work with the body and I am will to take that time with my patients. I am gentle. People really respond well to my gentle techniques and see great benefits from the treatments.
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers?
Kelly: My advice is to move and then rest. Opposite I know, but both are equally important. Their body is going to be more balanced if they can change positions through out the day, belly hang, stretch, swim, do yoga, and walk. And they are growing a baby for goodness sake, so they need rest! Little naps or just putting their feet up with some deep breathing can be exactly what her body needs to re-charge.
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our post birth, new mom and new dad readers?
Kelly: I would love to tell them that they are doing a great job! They should do what feels best for their family and be confident with their decisions. There is an endless amount of information and advice to new parents, sometimes it can be overwhelming and can create self-doubt. I would want them to find people they trust and then use their support when needed. Maybe it’s their midwife, mother, post-partum doula, friend, chiropractor, or support group.
I would also remind mothers that they did a amazing job taking care of their bodies during pregnancy, and that shouldn’t stop once the their baby is born! They will feel better and have more energy if they continue to eat well, exercise, get bodywork, and sleep when possible. This may be on a smaller gradient now that they have a baby, but every little bit makes a difference!