The pillow of my (practice) dreams

Written by Dr Chantel da Silva, Founder of Rise Chiropractic
@risechiroct

It was winter in Cape Town, 2018.  A day I allowed myself to dream of what my perfect life would look like. I've done this exercise many times, I visualise and imagine exact details of what I want. This particular day I came up with the practice name RISE CHIROPRACTIC. A name that embodies growth, upliftment and overcoming. I knew that I wanted to specialise in perinatal care and babies.  I imagined my office, and the specific equipment I’d need for that perfect practice helping Preggy moms and babies. While sipping my coffee, and keeping warm as the rain hit the window next to me, I envisioned a woman 8 months pregnant lying face down. It was at this point that I began the journey of finding the perfect pillow to comfortably lay pregnant woman, with tender breasts and round bellies in the prone position (face down). 

"it helps me as the doctor, provide the best possible care for my pregnant patients in the most comfortable position for them to be in"

My search for the right pillow took almost 2 years, and just before Covid struck in 2020, I came across Natal Comfort and this amazing Anna Pregnancy Pillow. On paper it was everything that a prone pregnancy pillow needed to be. I ordered 2 straight away and began using it in practice midway through 2020. As a practitioner having a prone lying pillow for my pregnancy patients is twofold beneficial. First off, it helps me as the doctor, provide the best possible care for my pregnant patients in the most comfortable position for them to be in. Secondly, I can recommend prone lying exercises and rest time at home for my patients.

There are many advantages to prone positioning. Let's start with the benefits for pregnant moms, then I’ll explain the absolute necessity for those who work with pregnant moms why you should be treating in the belly down position. 

Before moving on, it must be said that laying belly down with no support from a specialised cushion like the Anna Pregnancy Pillow is not recommended.

Advantages of laying belly down on the Anna Pregnancy Pillow:

  • Lower back is supported in an open (flexed) position, reducing compression of joints and discs of the lumbar spine.
  • The belly is supported by a specially designed foam cradle, allowing for an almost weightless environment for the womb and baby. 
  • This weightlessness reduces tension on the ligaments that hold the womb to the bony pelvis - promoting better pelvic alignment
  • Less back and hip ache
  • Reduced pressure on the lungs, stomach and other internal organs
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved uterine blood flow
  • Can continue to do prone exercises during yoga or Pilates

Benefits of using the prone position when treating perinatal patients:

  • Effective assessment and treatment of the thoracic spine, posterior ribs, lumbar spine, and posterior pelvic region
  • Patient is less tense and more comfortable then in the supine or side posture position
  • Longer treatment time
  • Opening up of the L4/5 disc space
  • Gentle lumbar traction 
  • Reduced compression of sensitive breast tissue
  • Used in postpartum care to reduced pressure on the shrinking womb and caesarean incision scar

There is no doubt that prone laying during pregnancy is beneficial and safe, not only for pregnant woman to do at home but for practitioners like myself to be able to treat our pregnant patients in the most effective and comfortable way.

 

References:

  • Nakai Y, Mine M, Nishio J, Maeda T, Imanaka M, Ogita S, et al. Effects of maternal prone position on the umbilical arterial flow. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1998;77:967‑9. 
  • Dennis, Alicia T et al. “The prone position in healthy pregnant women and in women with preeclampsia - a pilot study.” BMC pregnancy and childbirth vol. 18,1 445. 16 Nov. 2018.

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