Discover What You Don’t Expect When You’re Expecting in New Book by Dr. Brandie Elizabeth Keates
Every day, pregnant women come into Dr. Brandie Elizabeth Keates' chiropractic office in Wayne, looking for relief. Her new book offers some advice on what they can do to feel better.
The most common complaint from expectant mothers, Keates said, is sciatica, because the increased weight at the front of a pregnant woman’s body can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, which runs down the legs all the way to the feet.
Another major ailment is groin pain, she said.
“It feels, literally, like a horse kicked you in the groin,” she said. “That’s the one that brings women to tears.”
Headaches are also a frequent symptom for pregnant women.
“Anytime you alter the body in a quick way, it has to adjust,” Keates said.
Just because these conditions are common, she said, doesn’t mean they’re normal, or that women have to live with pain. Obstetricians often try and reassure women that everything is OK, but not all help women understand their options.
“There’s a lot I see with my practice that women are doing to make themselves worse,” she said. “So I decided I was going to write a book empathizing with them.”
As she wrote, Keates realized she had a second mission: to share some of what’s she’s learned about chiropractic care for pregnant women. Keates, the owner and founder of Experience Chiropractic in Wayne, began reinventing her methods to help pregnant and postpartum women after her own difficult pregnancy. She nearly lost her second daughter in 2006 — and her doctors insisted she stop working with athletes, then the core of her practice, until she gave birth.
Keates’ methods became Bloom, a division of her practice. These days, she said, 85 percent of her clients are pregnant (Experience Chiropractic still specializes in treating athletes, with three other chiropractors on the team).
Her book, What You Don’t Expect When You’re Expecting, has just been released on Amazon. The goal is to give women a validation of what they’re experiencing, an explanation of why it’s happening, and some advice on what they can do to feel better.
“It’s such a critical book to me because there are a lot of women who are suffering. I want to give women an opportunity to understand that they’re not alone,” Keates said. “It’s a very real book, written very colloquially, with pictures and diagrams so people can understand the mechanics of what’s going on — not only in their body, but sort of in their head.”
Keates worked with other trusted holistic practitioners in the area to explain other ways pregnant women can manage their changing bodies. They include acupuncturist Meredith Murphy, Randi Cohen Gilbert of the Yoga Life Institute, and Kathrine Bright of KatFit, a personal training company.
She also had Dr. Radhi Kakarla, a local OB/GYN and founder of Hatch Motherhood, and Carol Sutledge, a midwife at Lifecycle WomanCare review the book, to ensure she was giving women appropriate advice. As Bloom has grown, Keates has become well-known among local obstetricians and midwives, who trust her to take care of clients.
Keates said she would love to see more OB/GYNs learn about how chiropractic care can help pregnant women. Chiropractors who are working with pregnant clients should also be educated about recognizing when a patient might be in danger, said Keates, who’s been a paramedic for more than two decades. It’s critical to seek a chiropractor who has advanced training and experience to work with this specialized group.
“I had preeclampsia with my second daughter, and I thought I knew the signs, but I didn’t recognize it in myself because they are so subtle,” she said. “Pain in the shoulder blades can sometimes be an ectopic pregnancy. Chiropractors need to be aware of what to look out for.”
Keates’s techniques for pregnant patients are based on her typical techniques. But, she said, there are things a chiropractor shouldn’t do, and it’s critical for a pregnant woman to be in well-trained hands. Her next book is aimed at chiropractors, who she said are hungry for evidence-based knowledge about treating pregnant women.
What You Don’t Expect When You’re Expecting is not just for women, but also their partners and family, to help increase awareness and support for pain and discomfort. In the book, Keates walks readers through how to relieve some of the most common conditions — and what to look for should a women decide to seek out a chiropractor.
“I’m not teaching people to adjust themselves,” she said. “But I am telling them, ‘this is everything you can try before calling someone.’’ Pregnancy is such an important and special time that should be enjoyed in a woman’s life, and not suffered through. Dr. Brandie’s mission is to have more women enjoy it.