Three Steps To An Easier Labor

by Guest Blogger, Amy Peterson, CD-DONA, CLC of Hound Hill Doula

Every labor is different. While there is no way to know in advance if yours will be easy or more difficult, or if you will require interventions or not; there are many things you can do to increase your chances of a simple, uncomplicated, “easy” labor.

Often when labors are more difficult, longer, or require interventions like cesarean; it is due to what doctors would call a “ malposition of the fetus”. This simply means that your baby is having a hard time fitting through your pelvis. Just like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, a baby who is not aligned in a way that easily slips through the opening of your pelvis is going to have a tougher time. While most babies find their way through the pelvis, turning as they descend, some (about 13%) do not, and result in either a longer more difficult delivery, or require interventions like cesarean.

‘Optimal Fetal Positioning’ (OFP) is a theory developed by a midwife, Jean Sutton, and Pauline Scott, an antenatal teacher, who found that the mother’s position and movement could influence the way her baby lay in the womb in the final weeks of pregnancy.

Optimal Fetal Position is based on three factors. Balance, Gravity and Movement. The goal is to have a baby with a tucked chin, presenting the smallest part of the head toward the front and facing the mothers back for delivery.


is achieved through relaxation and release of the pelvic muscles and ligaments so that they are symmetrical. Discomfort is a sign of imbalance, and is very common in women who carry a heavy purse or a toddler on one hip, or perhaps have an old athletic injury that they compensate for. The best way to maintain uterine balance is to get regular chiropractic care. Yoga and belly dancing also offer an opportunity to release chronic tension and tone imbalances. Take a moment first thing each morning to asses your body and relax any muscle spasms or support loose muscles.


is affecting your baby’s position at all times. Be conscious of how your postureis affecting the way gravity acts on your baby. Your baby’s head is the heaviest part ofits body and the upper back (shoulder blades) are the second. With that in mind, youshould avoid slouching or semi-reclining too often. Standing, sitting straight and tall (justlike your mother told you to) or slightly forward, or hands and knees are all positions thatenable gravity to move or keep your baby in a good position. This is not to say that youshould never lie down or slouch, just keep active and don’t be a couch potato!


is vital to keep your four pelvic joints flexible for labor. Movement also helps gravity work. (ever thrust a bottle of ketchup to get the last bit?) Keep active in postures that encourage optimal fetal positioning. Swimming (belly down!), yoga, dance, walking and doing circles or figure eights while sitting on a birth ball are all great ways to keep moving and flexible while in a good posture. Try to get on your hands and knees at least once a day and do “cat/cow” or pelvic rocking. Imagine your baby in the hammock of your belly as you rock it to sleep.

Doing these things is no guarantee of an easy labor, but they certainly can’t hurt! And if you do find yourself facing a long or difficult labor – keep these same three factors in mind….

1. Find balance- release tension

2. Use gravity to your advantage – get off you back! Try hands and knees, squatting, or sitting on a birth ball.

3. Move! Walk, slow dance, rock in a rocking chair, get on hands and knees, change position often.

Remember, your body was made to birth!  Trust the design of your body and do what comes naturally. Your baby’s birthday will be one of the very best days of your life.

About the Author:

To learn more about Amy and Hound Hill Doula please visit her site by clicking here.

About Healing Hands Chiropractic:

Healing Hands is a family wellness center that offers family chiropractic care, acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reiki & aromatherapy, massage therapy, La Leche League breastfeeding groups and pregnancy & birth classes. To learn more about Dr. Jessica Caruso andHealing Hands Chiropracticplease visit or call (603)434-3456.

Who Needs a Postpartum Doula?

By Guest Blogger, Sandra Eisenberg- Postpartum Doula

The simple answer to this question is: EVERYONE needs a post-partum doula.  To further explain let me first say that while the event of birth is not, as it is so often treated, an emergency, it is an “emergent” situation in every sense of the word.  And while everyone is aware that babies “emerge” with many needs; not everyone is aware of or remembers that the WHOLE FAMILY (whoever that includes) emerges from this event with different needs. These include many that they may not have anticipated and may even feel blind-sided by.  This can easily get to a point of being unsettling and disturbing.

Mom must incorporate this gigantic experience she has had into her realm, while she functions with a newborn.  Regardless of what the birth was like, this must happen.  Physical healing must happen and be supported.  Siblings must be attended to.  Fathers/significant others have to adjust to a shift of enormous magnitude in their lives.  Unexpected and/or unforeseen emotions and circumstances frequently come into play.  The world is altered.  Parents may be elated, anxious, overjoyed, overwhelmed, uncertain, ambivalent, intoxicated [with the baby], vulnerable, fluctuating between and amongst emotions.  This will all vary from person to person, but one thing is common to all: people are getting less sleep and are tired, fatigued or exhausted.

The impact of this lack of sleep plays a very serious and central role in how things proceed for the family.  Help must be available.  Practical help with baby care, laundry, food-provision, other children, household organization must be in place.

Support for breastfeeding must be available where needed.  Someone to calm and validate fears and worries of new parents is especially critical.  A listener to the new mother/father/significant other/siblings as they give voice to how they are feeling is key; the story of the birth may need to be repeated many times as it is now such a momentous part of peoples’ lives.  The impact of an appropriate support person cannot be underestimated, but is often unforeseen.

This is where the post-partum doula comes in.  Throughout history the special care needed by a new baby and mother has been given by the family and community.  So many cultures throughout the world still have in place the kind of protective situation that is required when a baby is born.  Our current society, however, does not.  This is why so many people run into trouble.

The post-partum doula gently guides and supports in whatever ways necessary without taking over or making decisions.  She may listen, cook, change diapers, soothe both baby and parents, give attention to siblings, do laundry, provide nursing snacks, linen-changes, or perform any number of other relieving behaviors and tasks.  Each situation will require different services from the post-partum doula, and she will adapt to each situation as necessary.  The beginning days and weeks are the prime time for the post-partum doula.  Initiating breastfeeding and adjusting to the fragile new life are just some of the reasons for this.  She will nurture the family while they become accustomed to THEIR new nurturing roles.

Personally, I like to be sure, among other things, to pay attention to the nutrition of the mother and family.   As previously stated, sleep is at a premium and this is of paramount importance.  Sleep deprivation may be unavoidable for a while, but attempts must be made to avoid its effects gaining momentum.  The mother’s body has healing to do, on whatever scale.  Emotions are tending to run high.  Everyone is in a state of flux.  People being properly nourished with healing foods can aid greatly with all of this.  Another fundamental piece is that nourishment and hydration needs to happen at steady intervals.  The role of maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and being adequately hydrated too frequently goes unnoticed.  Attention to these can considerably improve stressful situations.

To all who are awaiting the arrival of new family member(s):CONGRATULATIONS!!  Nothing could be more exciting.  I hope this provides some “food for thought” as you make your preparations.


Sandra Eisenberg

Post-partum doula-DONA trained


About Healing Hands Chiropractic:

Healing Hands is a family wellness center that offers family chiropractic care, acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reiki & aromatherapy, massage therapy, La Leche League breastfeeding groups and pregnancy & birth classes. To learn more about Dr. Jessica Caruso and Healing Hands Chiropracticplease visit or call (603)434-3456.

Choosing to Breastfeed

by Guest Blogger, Darcy Sauers

Certified Postpartum Doula & Lactation Counselor

Despite what friends and family may have told you, breastfeeding can be easy and painless.  The key to success is to ask for help and support early and often.  And, women in New Hampshire today are very fortunate to have a number of great breastfeeding resources available.  There is a large network of qualified lactation professionals who are committed to helping moms have a positive, painless breastfeeding experience.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom:

There are many proven health benefits for women who choose to breastfeed!  Women who do not breastfeed are at a greater risk of breast cancer.   Your breast cancer risk is reduced by 7% for each birth and at an additional rate of 4.3% per month that you continue breastfeeding.[i]

Research has also found that women who do not breastfeed are at a greater risk for developing ovarian cancer and Type 2 Diabetes.  Breastfeeding for 18 months or more was associated with a significant decrease in ovarian cancer risk (compared to not breastfeeding).  For each month of breastfeeding the relative risk was decreased by 2%.[1]

Increasing the duration of breastfeeding is also associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  For each additional year of lactation, women had a decrease in the risk of Type 2 Diabetes of 14-15%.[2]

If you are pregnant and want to breastfeed, set yourself up for success.  Ask yourself:

  1. Does my birth place encourage Skin to Skin for one hour immediately after delivery for a non-medicated birth and Skin to Skin for two hours after a medicated birth?
  2. Does my birth place have Lactation Counselors on staff?
  3. Does the pediatrician I have chosen have Lactation Counselors on staff?
  4. Which of my friends who have breastfed successfully would be able to offer me non-judgemental support?
  5. What breastfeeding support groups are available in my area?
  6. Who are the private Certified Lactation Counselors in my area?
  7. Who are the certified Postpartum Doulas in my area?

Keep this list of answers handy for when your baby arrives.  And, do not hesitate to reach out with all questions and for any help you may need.

One of the most important things you can do to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship is to have continuous Skin to Skin contact with your baby immediately after birth.  Skin to Skin should last for one hour if you’ve had a natural, un-medicated birth.  If you had any medications during labor, Skin to Skin should be for a continuous two hour period to give the baby a little more time.   When babies are allowed to have this quiet time on their moms, they are able to latch successfully and start breastfeeding at their own pace.

And remember, if it hurts, ask for help!  Take advantage of the many available resources around you.

Darcy Sauers is a certified postpartum doula¸ lactation counselor and the owner of Dover Doula ( in the Seacoast area.  She is passionately committed to helping new moms find the support, resources and information that they need. Darcy is very happy that moms in Southern NH are lucky to have such a wonderful prenatal and postpartum resource in Dr. Jess and Healing Hands Chiropractic. Please do not hesitate to contact Darcy with any questions at or 603-988-5945.  For more information on breastfeeding, the postpartum period and local resources and events for new moms, follow her on Facebook

1                     Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer   PubMed

2                     Danforth et al.  PubMed

3                     Schwarz et al.  University of Pittsburgh

[i] Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer

Massage Therapy as Preventative Medicine

by Guest Blogger, Shalon Da~Nai, LMT

Preventative Medicine is anything you do to help you stay pain and disease free. Exercise, eating healthy, and washing your hands often to limit your exposure to germs are all considered preventative. Most of us know that these are things we should do if we want to stay well . After all, the best way to be healthy is to never get sick right?

Preventing Illness

There are a few ways Massage Therapy can be helpful in preventing illness. Receiving regular massage can strengthen the Immune system by helping to detoxify the body and also by reducing stress. It is known that having too much stress in your life can wear you down and make you vulnerable to the germs and virus’s that you come in contact with. It has been proven that massage has the ability to reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins, or pleasure hormones. When you feel happy and not stressed, your systems have less interference and your body is better able to protect it self. Those long, gliding strokes that make a massage so calming are also very effective at moving blood through the circulatory and muscular systems. That blood drops off oxygen and nutrients and picks up metabolic waste and toxins from cells. Muscles and organs are nourished and strengthened. It circulates the lymphatic system and helps the body to eliminate the bad stuff.

Preventing Injury

Most of my clients come to me regularly to manage aches and pains that occur from the demands of daily life. They may have tight shoulders from sitting at a desk all day, or a sore lower back from carrying too much abdominal weight. But all too often, the first time I see someone is because they have “pulled” something from sleeping wrong or lifting something the wrong way. They book a massage with me to “fix” the problem that has popped up. Most people don’t realize that they can avoid these acutely painful experiences by receiving massage therapy before they are injured. What a whole new concept for a society that says “ If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!  This is how Massage Therapy fits into the wellness paradigm of prevention, to “fix” things before they “break”. When our muscular system gets out of balance we may have tight muscles in one area that cause overstretching in the weak, under-activated opposing area. That means our muscles are working against each other, instead of in synergy. This is what causes them to fail when we call on them to perform a difficult task, and how we can be injured without even moving, from being in a certain position for too long. It is that final straw in an already precarious situation.

By taking care of yourself in advance, you can minimize the effects of pain and disease . Include Massage Therapy as part of your preventative medicine and lead a more relaxed, healthy and productive life.

About the Author:

Shalon’s practice is located within Healing Hands Chiropractic-Londonderry. Shalon  has been a NH licensed Massage Therapist since January of 2007. She is certified in Mother Massage® and specializes in prenatal, postpartum and fertility massage.   She offers Labor Support techniques and Infant Massage classes, as well, to educate new parents in the art of touch.   Shalon is also a certified Reiki practitioner having studied both Usui and Shamballa traditions.  Her Therapeutic services are offered to  men, women and children of all ages. Integrating tools from different modalities, she  inspires healing of both the body and the mind. During an Integrative Massage session, Shalon creates an environment of relaxation through guided breathing and visualization. Swedish Massage is combined with various techniques from Neuromuscular, Thai massage, Lomi Lomi, Reflexology and the Grigorian Method®. Each massage is customized to the needs of the individual, with pressure varying from light to deep and the focus ranging from pain management to mental relaxation.Shalon may be reached by phone at Phone: (603)303-6968 or online by visiting

About Healing Hands Chiropractic:

Healing Hands is a family wellness center that offers family chiropractic care, acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reiki & aromatherapy, massage therapy, La Leche League breastfeeding groups and pregnancy & birth classes. To learn more about Dr. Jessica Caruso and Healing Hands Chiropracticplease visit or call (603)434-3456.

Dr. Jess’ Top 10 Ways To Help Prevent Colds, Flu & Illness

how to prevent cold and fluBy Dr. Jessica L. Caruso
1. Get Adjusted
Chiropractic adjustments release stress from your body and improve your nervous system by regulating the “Fight or Flight” response, improving your sleep and boosting your immune system 200%.

2. Neti Pot or Saline Spray
Using one of these is useful for removing dirt, pollen, excess mucous and other irritants

3. Handwashing
This a simple and effective way to help prevent diseases, such as colds & flu. Wash your hands with running water and soap; rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds(kids can recite the alphabet or sing “Happy Birthday”); and pay special attention to your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.

4. Eat Well
Several vitamins and minerals are known to boost the immune system, like Vitamin A( please check with your PCP if you are pregnant or nursing regarding Vitamin A), Vitamin C and Zinc to name just a few . It’s best to get most of your vitamins and minerals from whole food sources and supplement as needed.

5. Add More Fiber
Adding fiber such as whole grains to your diet to improve colon health and increase immunity.

6. Drink More Water
Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer.

7. Take Probiotics
Eating more yogurt or supplementing with a high quality, combination probiotic can boost the healthy bacteria in your gut where about 70% of your immune system resides.

8. Move Well
Exercise has the ability to protect and strengthen the immune system. Studies have shown that a regular exercise program of simply walking briskly for 20-30 minutes, 5 days a week can enhance the immune system’s antibody and natural T -cell responses.

9.Think Well
If your stress response is constantly activated it can lead to life-threatening health conditions and leave you more susceptible to colds and flu due to the continuous release of stress hormones. Finding a healthy way to manage your stress, like  meditation, yoga or tai chi  is essential to the health and vitality of your immune system.

10. Sleep
Studies show that people who get about seven hours of sleep a night have the best survival, and if we get less than six hours of sleep a night, our mortality seems to increase.Sleep loss not only plays a role in whether we come down with a cold or flu, it also influences how we fight illnesses once we come down with them.

For information on “to flu shot or not to flu shot” please visit us at:


Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch & Balch, 2000