Earth Mama was delighted to interview the brilliant Dr. Elliot I. Berlin, renowned pregnancy and postpartum chiropractor. Dr. B., as he is affectionately called, is the founder of Berlin Wellness Group, promoters of naturally comfortable and healthy pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum experiences. As the only chiropractor in the world whose practice is composed almost entirely of pregnant and postpartum clients, Dr. Berlin has become a leading expert and innovator in the field of prenatal wellness.
Dr. B. helped Mama’s own daughter during her pregnancy, and has a growing and avid following. Dr. B.’s story is fascinating, and we’ve included a link so you can enjoy it too. Then read on to see more of why we adore him!
Earth Mama: You are famous for your work with pregnant women. How did you discover which Chiropractic techniques particularly help a pregnant woman?
Dr. Berlin: During the course of my general chiropractic work I stumbled across a connection between certain types of back pain and infertility. I spent several years studying the connection and learning how to overcome both problems by treating the common cause. As a result I ended up with an office full of newly pregnant women with histories of intense back pain. At first I felt that these women would be better served by a chiropractor with lots of prenatal experience; but I quickly learned that there were none to be found. I researched everything that came before me (which wasn’t much) and began to learn on the job (at the begging requests of our clients). Today I have discovered a great deal of about the benefits of chiropractic for pregnancy.
Earth Mama: What are the most common issues pregnant women see you for?
Dr. Berlin: We see multiple cases of sciatica of pregnancy every day. There is also lots of low back pain, rib pain, headaches, pubic pain, restless leg syndrome, swelling in the hands and feet, nausea, vomiting and reflux. Then there are lots of women who feel great and simply come for wellness care or labor preparation.
Earth Mama: What are the benefits of healing touch to mama and baby during pregnancy? Dr. Berlin: There are so many benefits to therapeutic touch during pregnancy, such as increased circulation which decreases stress, boosts immunity, improves oxygenation for mom and baby, decreases swelling, cellular toxicity and the buildup of varicose veins, and helps relax sore and achy muscles and the symptoms that result from those stiff muscles, such as sciatica and sore feet.
Earth Mama: Can chiropractic practice help with “turning” babies?
Dr. Berlin: There are about 100,000 cesarean sections in the United States each year, just due to breech presentation. We see hundreds of breech cases every year at our office and we are able to help many of them avoid unwanted surgery. Normally, babies drop into the head down pre-birth position by 30-34 weeks. However, if there is tension or abnormal shape to the uterus, the baby may not choose or be able to get head down. Some causes are structural, such as an umbilical cord that is too short or wrapped around the baby multiple times. But other causes can be functional, such as pressure in or around the uterus caused by tight or restricted muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones that surround it. We utilize the chiropractic Webster Technique to gently restore normal function to the pelvic bones and ligaments and the Berlin Uterine Release Technique, which is a massage based approach to removing muscular tension that can squeeze the pelvis closed.
We have found that active people, such as runners, dancers, gymnasts and cyclists appear to have a greater occurrence of tight pelvic musculature and as a result, make up a large portion of our breech clientele. They may also experience babies that face front instead of back and have a harder time dropping down through the pelvis to initiate labor on time and progress smoothly through the stages of delivery. We are typically able to overcome these issues and help create better function and more space for the babies to turn, drop and come out with less resistance from the mother’s body. As a positive side effect, more functional pelvises are much more comfortable during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Earth Mama: Your techniques are clearly working, since you have become the go-to doctor for pregnant women. Do you see your techniques spreading?
Dr. Berlin: Thankfully, yes! I am only able to help so many people each day. As a result I have started a training program for chiropractors. Once they complete internship and training with me I will help them open a center where they can bring our services to more people. We are opening our second office in Orange County, CA this year and are planning to open two more in the following year. We receive a many questions each day from both pregnant women and chiropractors who are interested in helping pregnant women. My hope is that our techniques and high level of quality care will be readily available in every state, and internationally, by the end of the decade.
Earth Mama: Since our readers are all around the world, is there any self-help technique you can suggest for mamas-to-be who might be experiencing discomfort?
Dr. Berlin: Throughout the pregnancy, tension builds up in the hips from sleeping on them. Light to medium self or partner massage from the hips through the low back and buttocks can bring relief. A few minutes each day will go a long way to improve sleep, and ease low backaches and hip discomfort.
Earth Mama: Can you explain a little bit about cranio-sacral massage for babies?
Dr. Berlin: Craniosacral work is gentle, soothing, noninvasive, hands-on therapy that can be done as early as the first few days or even minutes of a child’s birth. A craniosacral practitioner primarily works with the bones of the head, pelvis and spine, the connective tissue and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and the nervous system. A typical session would start at the feet then continue working with the pelvis, spine, and cranium to make sure the structure is aligned so the baby’s digestive, nervous, endocrine, muscular and cranial systems are working at their highest potential.
Earth Mama: Do you have any healing touch tips a mama could use to help ease her baby’s colic or gas pains?
Dr. Berlin: This is not my area of expertise, but personally, I do two steps with my kids. 1) After every bath bring baby’s knees to her belly/chest and make circles with her knees against her belly 2) With baby’s legs down, I use Sweet Orange Baby Lotion and with two fingers gently make clockwise circles with light to medium pressure around the baby’s belly button coming out a little wider with each circle and then working back to the center.
Earth Mama: Thank you so much, Dr. B., for your time and your wonderful work!
Dr. Berlin: Thank you so much for thinking of me and helping to spread the word.