Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Podcast | Pregnancy & Fitness, Nutrition, Chiropractic, & Mindset with Dr. Lindsay Matthews of BIRTHFIT

Podcast Episode #310: Pregnancy & Fitness, Nutrition, Chiropractic, & Mindset with Dr. Lindsey Matthews of BIRTHFIT

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Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Podcast | Fitness, Movement, & Postpartum Recovery with Dr. Lindsey Mathews of BirthFit


  1. Introducing our guest, Dr. Lindsey Mathews of BIRTHFIT [1:40]
  2. The birth of BIRTHFIT [15:54]
  3. BIRTHFIT Regional Directors [21:15]
  4. The Four Pillars [29:07]
  5. The importance of mindset [32:12]
  6. Choosing a chiropractor [42:36]
  7. Staying aligned without a chiropractor [50:28]

Photo Credit: Birthfit San Diego

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Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Podcast | Pregnancy & Fitness, Nutrition, Chiropractic, & Mindset with Dr. Lindsay Mathews of BIRTHFIT Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Podcast | Pregnancy & Fitness, Nutrition, Chiropractic, & Mindset with Dr. Lindsay Mathews of BIRTHFIT Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Podcast | Pregnancy & Fitness, Nutrition, Chiropractic, & Mindset with Dr. Lindsay Mathews of BIRTHFIT

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 310.

Liz Wolfe: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

Along with my partner in crime and usual cohost, Diane Sanfilippo, this award-winning podcast has been coming at you for nearly 6 years. We’re here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at http://blog.balancedbites.com or on our Instagram page.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to http://www.NutritionalTherapy.com. There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.

1. Introducing our guest, Dr. Lindsay Mathews of BIRTHFIT [1:40]

Liz Wolfe: I’m so excited to welcome our guest today. Dr. Lindsey Mathews is a doctor of chiropractic, and the founder of BIRTHFIT, which I’m sure a lot of our listeners are familiar with. BIRTHFIT is a movement that centers around supporting moms and taking charge of their bodies throughout pregnancy and postpartum. And approach birth with all of the information. From the science, to the common sense, to connecting with our innate wisdom using tools, like BIRTHFIT’s four pillars. Which we’re going to talk about today.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews, thank you so much for being with us.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Well thank you for having me. I’m super glad to be sitting here talking to you on this awesome Friday morning. The sun is shining here in California, so I hope it’s shining there.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, you bet. You Californians with your glorious weather.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: I know. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Well, so I was teasing you a little bit before we started recording, because when I was putting together the bio, I was like; ok. Dr. Lindsey Mathews, and I’m planning to talk about you and your history. You were an Aggie, is that right?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. One of the proudest members.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: We all say that. {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: I love that. I do have a friend that went there, as well. And he is the same way. That’s hilarious.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Pretty obnoxious. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: It’s great. I went to the University of Kansas, and we are the worst, especially around basketball. So it’s all good. So usually you can mine somebody’s website for all of the finer details of their history. But I felt like with the BIRTHFIT website, it is all about the movement, and all about the moms, and all about the information. You don’t talk about yourself a lot.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: I know, I know. And I think there’s a reason behind that. For me, I’ve been so much of a behind the scenes doctor, chiropractor, person my whole life. And for me, it is all about the movement. It’s about the women that are involved in the movement. And I want to showcase and bring forth. Have everybody see all the different journeys. All the different life experience. Even our senior leadership team has, or our regional directors. And I think that’s just part of my personality to do that.

Liz Wolfe: Well can I yank a little bit out of you? Can you give us a little bit of your background, and how you became engaged with these; I don’t know. This holistic approach to pregnancy, and post-pregnancy wellness, and how you came to found BIRTHFIT.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah, for sure. I’ll try to give you a brief version, but if you have any questions, you can totally stop me.

Liz Wolfe: Ok.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: I like to tell people there were about three or four major milestones in my life. When you look back over your life, you kind of see, “oh, that actually made sense at that point.” But when you're in the moment, you're like, “I have no idea why this is happening to me. What is the universe doing to me.” You know, you could have full-blown breakdowns. But you realize, doors are opening, and these doors are only for you. You’ve got to take the doors and go in them or not.

So three or four major milestones. The first one was around when I was 9 or 10 years old, and this I share a little bit about. But I don’t talk a lot about in public. Basically I had an out of body experience. And I was born with asthma, diagnosed from 18 months, 2 years on. I did a lot of work on my birth, and going back there and revisiting that. So from the beginning, I was never breastfed. I was put on antibiotics. Breathing machines. And then they finally say, “Oh, she’s got asthma.” I was born a month early. So you know, all this kind of makes sense now.

But when I was about 9 or 10, I had a really gnarly asthma attack, and basically they put me in ICU for about a week. And they told my mom and dad that I probably wouldn’t live.

Liz Wolfe: Wow.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: And you know, at that time, I obviously had no idea what was going on. I was stuck in the little in between portal area. And I basically saw lots of hands, and my brother and sister. My brother and sister are twins; they’re 2 years younger than me. And I saw them, and a bunch of hands sticking out. And then on the other side, I saw this beautiful warm bright light. And I was like, “Oh my god. Which way do I go?”

And all the hands, and everybody just kept saying, “We need you. We need you. Come back.” And especially my brother and sister. So I didn’t go towards the light. I came out of it. And I really had no idea what the heck that was about. I would ask people at church, or different; just people I look up to. They’re like, “Yeah I think you had a little out of body experience.” Fast forward to high school. At that point, I knew I came back to earth for a reason. And I don’t know why, but at such a young age, I would read. I would go into the fields. We grew up in Texas, on a bunch of land. So if you wanted to get away from people, you totally could.

So I just went in the woods. I would read. I would sit there on rocks and gaze up at the sun or the stars or whatever time of day it was. And I just knew I was there to serve people, and that really resonated with me. I think; I read the bible at that time. The book of Acts is all about service, and I was into that.

So fast forward to high school. And you get in the high school routine of things. And since I grew up in Texas, if you’ve ever seen the show Friday Night Lights, that is pretty much my high school experience. And I played soccer. And I was a cheerleader. And my junior year in high school, whenever everybody is preparing for college. I thought I was going to go play in college, and then be the next Mia Hamm soccer player, I blew out my knee. And I basically tore every ligament in my knee. And my dreams were crushed. So I was like, oh my god. This is not good.

I went and consulted with about three or four different surgeons. I don’t know what made me do this. My mom; she’s very conservative in some things, but other things she’s super progressive and doesn’t settle for no or the answer that she’s gotten. But I think she was pretty adamant about finding the best surgeon. So we went with a surgeon that not only wore cowboy boots with his scrubs, but he was also the only guy that told me I could get back to 100%. And to a 17-year-old soccer player, you're like, “Heck yeah! That’s what I want.”

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. You want cowboy boots and somebody to tell you you're going to get better.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. I can do this! {laughs} But he had a little caveat. He was like, in order to get back to 100%, you have to do all the work. And I was like, “I’m totally game. Just tell me what to do.” So that was my first, I want to say, identity crushing injury. Besides the whole asthma thing, which was almost 10 years before. But this guy made me; rehab or prehab before surgery for a month. He made me do stuff every day, Monday through Friday, in the training room. He made me go see a chiropractor. He made me go see a Rolfer, an acupuncturist. He was really ahead of his time, as far as a surgeon. And even today, there are surgeons that don’t do that or even think that way.

The knee surgery was phenomenal. It’s been; what year are we in? So it’s been about 17 years. And you know, my knee, I’m aware of it. But honestly, compared to the knee surgeries that I’ve seen in practice, and other knee surgeries of my friends, he did a damn good job. And I think it was all in how he set it up and was like, “Here’s the tools. You’ve got to do the work.”

So fast forward through that. Then I decided; ok. I’m not going to be a soccer player. I’m going to go to college. I’m going to go the pre-med route. And I’m going to become an orthopedic surgeon, just like him, because he changed my life. And I go to college, at Texas A&M. I’m on the premed route. I get into med school; not chiro school yet. And I think this was my second to last semester, I decided to study abroad in Tanzania, Africa. And this is not like studying abroad in Europe {laughs}. This is totally different. You’d go and, there was a group of us. Probably about 8-10 that would hike all over, and go to remote villages. We were basically doing medical triage. And we had some overseeing doctors there. And I loved it. I loved every aspect of it. Except the medication route. Africa is beautiful. We’re planning on going there on our honeymoon for a while. It is like Mother Earth, right there.

But there was a case where a woman brought her; he was about 7. 7-year-old, 8-year-old son up to me. And she had older kids. And she said, through the translator I was using, he’s paralyzed. Or he doesn’t use the left side of his body, and he has seizures. At that point, I was like, oh my god. What’s this all about? And you know, the more I interacted with them, the more I talked with her. He was completely fine. He was there, he was talking to me. We were talking via a translator. But the overseeing doctor that I was working with just wanted to prescribe a medication that would basically knock him out whenever he had these seizures. Didn’t really address the non-use or paralyzation of the left side of his body. But that was that docs answer to that chief complaint there.

And you know, something just hit me. I don’t know what. I walked outside. It was hot as heck. And I was like, I can’t do this anymore. I just was sweating profusely. I brought my translator out there. And I brought the mom, and the son. And I was like, “Look. I don’t think the medication is the right idea because in 30 days, we’re going to be gone, you're going to run out of medications eventually. The seizures may come back. They may be worse. They may be less. I don’t know. You can take the medication if you want, but understand that your son, the same spirit that he has always been, and in situations where he has the seizures, keep him safe. Maybe encourage him to start to use the left side of his body.”

And you know, looking back now I wish I would have adjusted this kiddo. I wish I would have given him some tools for movement, but I didn’t know any of that at that point. So I went and found the only payphone in town, and I called my stepdad and I was like, “Hey, this medical school thing is not working.” {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Wow.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: He was like, “Well. You better figure out your life, because you're a grown adult. You’ve got to pay bills. And you're not coming home without a job.” And at this point, I was like, oh my god. What do I do? So I didn’t show up for med school. I came home. I waited tables for about 3 months. Long story short, I reconnected with the chiropractor that I had during high school. Shadowed him throughout some of the days in the summer, and I was like, “This is what I want to do! He’s rocking it.” And people love him. And he’s hands on. And he’s touching people. And he feels and communicates through his hands. And that really resonated with me. Because wherever I go, I want to be able to have the tools with me.

So I applied to chiropractic school; did an interview, they accepted me. And I did that for two schools. And I basically signed up for the one in California, because it was the furthest one away. And I was like, alright! So I packed it up, drove to California. And I kind of never looked back. {laughs} And I was still on the sports route, so after chiropractic school, I immediately started in the rehab/prehab world. And I was working with three guys. And we would rotate either for on-set with movie production. So getting actors or actresses ready for their big stunts. Or we would be at professional sport games, or traveling with people. And we were literally getting people ready for their big performance, and then recovering as smart as we could and efficiently at that time. So they could maybe do it again, or run into a glass window again, or play another soccer game. Whatever. {laughs}

So that; I was on the sports track. What I wanted. But looking back, I realized my heart wasn’t in it. And then probably about 2009-2010, this woman came into me. By default, I had started to get a lot more women with just women issues, that guys feel completely uncomfortable with, or that they have no idea what to do. They don’t even speak that language. So I would get all the women in the clinic. And this woman came to me, and she was like, “I need to have a baby around this time. We’re trying to, because this is when my television series is off.”

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} What?!

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: You know, like she had this time frame.

Liz Wolfe: Good for her.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs} And I was like, well, ok. So what do you want me to do? She was like, “I think it’s a good idea that I’m in the best shape of my life.” Because she was not in good shape then. “And I think it starts with the spine.” She was speaking my language, and I just didn’t even know it. I was like, you're on to something, woman.

Basically I told her, I was like, look. I don’t know anything about pregnancy, postpartum, birth. But I do know about performance and recovery and movement and that sort of thing. So I can help you figure it out. Fast forward, you know. She cleaned up her diet. She went paleo. We just started moving again. She started getting adjusted once a week. And she got pregnant like 3 months before she wanted to. So she had a belly on screen, which is hilarious.

But that started I guess my research down the rabbit hole. And the more I read about the maternal care system in our country, the more it just kind of pissed me off. My mom has been a daycare owner my whole life. Well, a good portion of my life. So I was always around kiddos. And I knew at some point I was going to have kids in my life, but I still haven’t yet. So I’ve always had kids in my peripheral. And I was always wondering how I would be connected or work with them. And so when I was in the chiropractic world, in the schooling and stuff. They always say, get kids adjusted. Go to the source. Well, to me the source is conception or pre-conception. What kind of shape or, you know, what version of your body are you living in right now? So that’s kind of where the research started.

You know, working with this woman, she was totally open; opened to me, and trusting of me. And I was like, I’m going to take this doula course. And she was like, great you can be my doula. I was like awesome. I’m going to take this hypnobirthing course. Great, you can practice on me.

Liz Wolfe: Amazing.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: She was totally game. So, I think that was around 2010, 2011. I took two doula trainings, just because I loved it so much at the first one. And then I attended my first birth. And I was like; oh my god, this is magic. This is the big game. I melted at that first birth. I did hypnobirthing, I did sacred pregnancy, I did innate postpartum certifications. I did the ICPA diplomat course. These are all the things if I had any sense, I’d put them on the website. But I don’t. {laughs} What else? I did DNS training, which is a lot of what we use in our rehab. But that’s kind of where the journey started. And the blog started in 2011.

And then in 2013-14, I had some people reach out. They were like, what are you doing? We want to be a part of it. I was like, I don’t really know what I’m doing.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: For me growing up and being in the western medical world, you know for the asthma stuff and then the surgery. I associated childbirth with hospitals. And for me, that was the only option. So I kind of wrote childbirth off. And the more I dug in; I was like, oh. There’s a whole nother way you can give birth. You can give birth at home, or a birth center, or wherever you want. But it’s just often times the choice; all the choices aren’t presented. So women are kind of forced into those limited decisions.

The more I read, the more I kind of uncovered and became like; oh my god. This is what I’m called to do. And I just really haven’t looked back. I look at it like; ok, me and BIRTHFIT are here. We’re doing this. We’re on the bus. We’re charging forward. So that’s kind of the story. {laughs}

2. BIRTHFIT Regional Directors [21:15]

Liz Wolfe: Well. I mean, you definitely are on the bus and charging forward. You have a whole network; like a national network of BIRTHFIT regional directors and practitioners, is that right?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: And how does that work?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. So, you know, I don’t mean to water down anything else that’s out there. There’s the big fitness organization that you can take a course and then you can open a gym. And I didn’t want the quality of what people were teaching of BIRTHFIT to be watered down. Which is why the regional director application and training is so expansive.

So if anybody wants to be a regional director, they apply. We look for a number of qualifications. And then they go through this 12-week online training. And then after that, they launch their first postpartum series. Which is usually discounted. And then they come to the BIRTHFIT summit. And within that 6-month training, they kind of get everything. They’re also paired with a big sister so they kind of have a mentor to help them through this whole thing. We look for people that are passionate, but also have some knowledge base and experience space.

Because they’ll get the whole curriculum of BIRTHFIT. Like, here’s your BIRTHFIT prenatal series workbook. Here’s your BIRTHFIT postpartum series workbook. I’ve done all the programming, all the writing out of the programs and stuff. It’s based on a lot of rehab stuff, developmental kinesiology. Postpartum care from other cultures and stuff like that. But they’ve got to be able to make it their own, and be able to adjust if a mom comes in on day 3 of the postpartum series and says, “Hey, I had a little bleeding over the weekend. Is that normal?” You have to be able to know. What did the blood situation look like? Was there any pain associated with it? How much was it? You know. You have to be able to ask the right questions, and know where to go from there.

So yeah, regional directors. We have about 25. I can’t count. Numbers are hard.

Liz Wolfe: They are hard.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs} About 25 across the United States right now. And then I would say that’s basically doubled every year since I added regional directors in 2014. So I started with like 5, then it came up to 12, then 25. So who knows what the heck next year will bring. But then if you believe in the BIRTHFIT movement, and you're like, “I don’t know. Regional director is pretty involved. But I want to be a part of it somehow in another way.” Then that’s where they could go through the BIRTHFIT coach or the BIRTHFIT professional route.

And this is less involved. But they’re usually still connected to their local regional director, if they have one. Just for referral sake. And to build that support and community there. But the BIRTHFIT coach seminar and the BIRTHFIT professional seminar are both two days long. Like 8-6, jam packed. And then after that, if you go to the seminar, you can apply to be a BIRTHFIT coach or a BIRTHFIT professional. And the coaches’ seminar, we go all through the fitness stuff. And mindset associated with fitness. And then on the professional side, we do the prenatal exam. What we look for when a pregnant mama comes in, or if she’s trying to conceive. And then postpartum care.

Anybody that’s a chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, doula, OB/GYN, whatever, is welcome to the professional seminar. And our goal with that mainly is to set a standard and hold the standard as far as prenatal care and postpartum care go in our country. Because there’s not really anything there. You get the OB/GYN or the midwife, and their job is just right there at delivery. But there’s nobody else kind of looking at the big picture of how mom is moving, how mom is feeling, what’s going on. And you know; if mom’s not in her best shape. Whether it’s mind, body, or soul, then she can’t be the best mom to baby. And that’s kind of our focus.

Liz Wolfe: That’s so true.

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Liz Wolfe: The rise in the movement for women to have doulas, and for women to kind of take back birth, and have a more mutual relationship with their OB, rather than the OB kind of lords over you and tells you what you can and can’t do. That’s so amazing. But I feel like I personally kind of learned the hard way that I spent all of this time. And it’s important, of course. But I spent all of this time on the birth. Which is great. I had a doula, I was going to give birth at a birth center and all of this stuff. I did a lot of alignment, restorative exercise stuff, spinning babies. All of these different things leading up to that moment. But then you have a kid. And you see your midwife two more times. And maybe you book the doula for some postpartum doula work. But you need so much support beyond that. From little things to huge things. And that really resonated with me, what you just said.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. And you know, for me, I see patients out of two birth centers here in Los Angeles. And I was floored. Midwives are working their booty off, too, you know. But I was floored at the; ok, birth is good. Baby is good. Mom is relatively good. We’re done. You know? Care stops. I was like, whoa, whoa! I would feel like. When I had my knee surgery, and that’s what I kind of relate it to. I knew exactly what I was doing the moment I walked out of surgery. Or wheeled out of surgery. Week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4. And then if I needed to have a breakdown, I knew exactly. Ok, let me call my PT, let me call the Rolfer. I had things in place. And there’s just not in our country. That’s got to change.

Liz Wolfe: I’m sure that could very easily; somebody has done a dissertation on how that’s a reflection of a patriarchal society and things like that. That’s just so fascinating. Midwives; I mean, Meg the midwife. Meg Reburn, who is my partner for Baby Making and Beyond, is everything that you would want your midwife to be. She’s one of those who would want to hand her mama’s over to the care of a team of practitioners that are going to be really engaged in that person’s recovery. But the fact is, those resources aren’t always available like 99% of the time.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Right.

Liz Wolfe: So I think it’s amazing that you're pushing the; what’s it called? This is mom brain now? What’s the thing where you're pushing the dial? Moving it forward? You know what I mean.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. Trying to. {laughs}

3. The Four Pillars [29:07]

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, let’s talk about your four pillars. Which I love. And I was really intrigued by, as well. One of them, of course, is nutrition. But I think we’re pretty much on the same page.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Hopefully we’re dialed.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. {laughs} I think we’re good there.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: I will say, living in Los Angeles there are some really bonkers nutrition things, questions I get asked. But I think y’all do a great job of saying, “Hey. Eat real food.”

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: That’s where we’ve got to start. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: And it’s like, so much of what. And this is what I wanted to say before we started recording, but I was like; oh, I’ll save this for when we’re on because it’s good stuff. A lot of what the Balanced Bites podcast has ended up steering towards in the last couple of months or years is mindset. Which is another one of your pillars. And you just bring that to the way you eat and what you eat and how you feel about what you eat. And your confidence in your choices. Which I think is so; you can eat all of the best food in the world. But if you're stressed, or doubtful, or unsure about it, or you don’t like yourself and you're just going through the motions, you don’t have that mindset piece. It can be really, really detrimental, right?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Oh my god. The mindset. I used to think all four pillars were equally important. But I’m almost; and I haven’t confirmed this in my heart yet. But for sure, mindset is at the bottom of a triangle. And then nutrition and chiropractic, and then fitness at the time. Like that little, little triangle at the top.

You have to talk to; and this is just me going off on a tangent. Melissa Hemphill, of BIRTHFIT Colorado. She’s our eating psychology coach. And she’s trained with Mark David at the Institute Psychology of Eating in Colorado. And she drops more knowledge on that than I could ever dream of.

But yeah, eating. If you don’t love what you eat, or you don’t see it as nourishment for your body, then what are we doing? You know? One of the little tips we like to give moms. Even at the beginning of their pregnancy, or they’re trying to conceive. Slow down. Take 10 breaths before you eat your first bite, or chew any food. Just slow down. And especially if you're pregnant. You are, even if you think you're eating alone. You're eating with your unborn child. And they feel that energy. They feel if you're rushed, the feel if you don’t like this food. They feel if you resent all the food that you're eating. So start that relationship and that connection, even just through meals. You're introducing things of this world to your child through that.

Liz Wolfe: I like that. That’s a really cool way to talk about it.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. Mindset is definitely at the bottom of the triangle, if I were to make a triangle. Maybe nutrition and chiropractic are side by side. I don’t know yet. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, we’ll talk to a graphic designer about that. But I like that. I 100% agree with you. And it’s taken me years to really accept that. And I think we still use mindset work; whether that’s meditation or breath work. Which I’m going to ask you about next. Any of those little things. A lot of us are getting into that stuff, but it’s like a little sprinkle on the top of everything. Where it should really be the foundation.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Oh my gosh. It should be; and I think I had to learn this the hard way, just through injury and just hitting rock bottom in life. So you have to come back, and you have to learn to be comfortable and love yourself. Love that deep soul that’s deep down, way inside of you. And that’s kind of where it starts. You have to be comfortable in your own skin, and just practicing that stillness daily. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 2 minutes, whatever. That is practice. And being comfortable in your skin.

You're not going to change who you are during labor and delivery, so if you're not comfortable in your skin or love who you are, or ok with a little discomfort or you haven’t confronted maybe some issues that you’ve stored in the back, then all this stuff comes up either during pregnancy or for sure during labor. And like I said, you're not going to change who you are. So you have to learn to love that person.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. I love that.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: It’s tough.

Liz Wolfe: It is! And you don’t even think about it. So a lot of this stuff that we’re talking about right now, let’s be honest. Some people would think, “Oh, that’s woo. That’s not concrete. We don’t have concrete data on that.” Which we probably do somewhere. I’m sure you’ve dug it up if it exists.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs} There’s more and more.

Liz Wolfe: More and more. And you and I have both seen it. You much, much more than I. But I’ve seen it in myself, in friends, in clients. And so much of what you just said; you're not going to change who you are as you're giving birth. And a lot of the work we have to do; this is so fascinating. I just did a podcast interview for the Modern Mama’s podcast, and we were talking a lot about our personal experiences with birth. And we were talking about how I have done a lot of therapy now after having a child that it really would have been useful for me to see the need for that before I had a kid. Because I think I had a lot of things to work through. And I think if I had done that before having a baby, or before even getting pregnant, I think my birth experience would have been very different.

I planned for a natural birth, you know. I was really standing in my power. I had all of these plans; yet I was still a person who had a lot of very limiting fear and struggles with releasing emotions. Having strong emotions. And labeling strong emotions as bad, or something to be suppressed. So as ready as I was to kick ass during the birthing process, I think a lot of those things followed me into that. And also followed me out. So what you just said totally gave me chills. That was really, really amazing.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Yeah. It’s funny. I don’t want to say it’s ironic or anything. But what you just said about labeling as good or bad. I think our society, we’re so caught up in the fast pace. Teaching women; especially the ones that I work with. Hands on, in person. One of the biggest; and this is a Victor Frenkel quote, and I’ll totally butcher it. But he talks about between the stimulus and your action, there’s space. There is space to choose, there’s space to go a different way. There’s space. But if we’re going 100 miles an hour, sometimes we don’t see that space, or we don’t even allow ourselves to experience that space. And you know, the good emotions come just the same in life with the bad emotions, or the negative emotions, whatever we want to label them.

You know, I think the universe, or life, is pretty funny. If we haven’t learned a lesson, that lesson is going to keep coming back to us until we figure out deep within our core. Within our chakra system. Even all the way down to our root chakra, and that kundalini energy. How to; where do I stand with this obstacle? And you know, this is just me going off on a tangent. You can steer me another way. But recently, my cat died. And for those that know me, they know that I’ve had this cat for 20 years. And she was my everything. And even Logan, my fiancé, was talking before, like I don’t know what’s going to happen when it’s her time, you know?

And I was able to; we worked with a death midwife. We helped Angel transition just as if I was at a birth. And it’s the same feeling, which was pretty freaking gnarly. You're sitting there, you're supporting this spirit on their journey. And you're watching them transition. It’s the same thing if I’m at a birth and I’m watching this woman transition into full blown mother queen. And it’s so magical. But that doesn’t take away our sadness. It doesn’t take away that the sadness that the death, or happiness at birth. Those are all feelings associated with it.

But through that experience of helping her transition; and then over the past three or four weeks, I’ve tried to allow myself space just to feel. And I think that’s where; and this is just me brainstorming. But I think that’s where we’ve neglected so much. The good and the bad and the negative and the positive; all that comes together. But we have to encourage our kids, our friends, our family. It’s ok to be in this space. And it’s ok to experience the sad feelings or the grief, just as much as it is to experience the happiness and the empowerment, and I’ve got this. Because I think too often, I’ve seen women… I’ll get emails all the time. Like, “Hey! I got the nutrition thing dialed. What can you tell me about fitness?” And I’m like, oh my god. Let’s talk about your mindset. Where are we at on that? So yeah. I think just giving yourself space to feel the feels is just so important.

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh, I’m all about that.

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Liz Wolfe: You're a busy lady, but I tell you, you’d love the last four or five episodes of the podcast. And the upcoming five or six.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: I may check them out, yeah. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh. We just, or I just interviewed a doctor from Mark Hyman’s Ultra Wellness Center in Massachusetts.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Ooh.

Liz Wolfe: Elizabeth Boham. She’s amazing. And she’s like an MD, she’s also an RD, and she’s all about; she had this aggressive form of breast cancer diagnosed at age 30. She had the nutrition down; she had the fitness down; she thought she was healthy but this still happened. And all of her work centers around yoga, and mindset. She talked about the chakras. And I was like, am I hearing an MD talk about chakras right now? What?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: But it was really, really cool. Because to recognize that. I mean, that’s a huge battle in and of itself. Man, this is where we’re going I think with my work. It just gives me chills to talk about.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: The energy is just; if you're open to it, the universe flows. And you know, you’ve got to be open to it. Mind, body, and soul.

Liz Wolfe: And it’s like, whatever you want to call it, right? We can talk about chakras. Talk about the force. Which I’m kind of partial to Star Wars, because that was probably the first thing I ever saw where I was like; that makes sense. That really does.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: It binds us, and penetrates us. I have Obi Wan Kenobi in my head all the time.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: That’s awesome. {laughs}

4. Choosing a chiropractor [42:36]

Liz Wolfe: Anyway. So, ok. Can’t overstate the importance of that. But I also don’t want to forget. I’m going to ask you a lot of fitness questions. Because I think people want to know. But before we do that, let’s just really quick. One of your pillars is chiropractic. And at the BIRTHFIT website, the summary of this is to be structurally balanced, free of subluxation, so the nervous system can function ideally and communicate with all systems of the body. People that aren’t familiar with chiropractic at times will get a little bit nervous about it. Because of course, you hear things.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: For sure.

Liz Wolfe: So first I want to talk to you about choosing a good chiropractor. What do you want to look for in someone that’s going to take care of you during pregnancy, and postpartum, and preconception, and all of that?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Well, I’d like to say make sure they’re a BIRTHFIT chiropractor. But we’re not that wide yet. But there is; ICPA is International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association. And within that, they teach one course on pregnancy, and it’s called Webster. This is if anybody has a breech baby, they’ve probably looked for a Webster chiropractor. And Webster is just a technique that’s used to balance the mom’s pelvis, and relieve a little bit of uterine constraints in hopes that we open up the pelvis, baby will go head down. Swim around, use all the room that baby now has to find the optimal position. So if you go on ICPA.org, you could look up a Webster chiropractor near you.

I wasn’t completely satisfied with that being the only criteria you looked for in a prenatal chiropractor. Which is why I was like; ok. This is why I’m going to develop my professional course. We’re going to get really in tune with; what do you look for when a pregnant mom comes into your office? What do you look for when a postpartum mom comes into your office? Because it is a different approach. My practice now is, I would say, 95% prenatal-postpartum. And I look at the mom as a whole.

And I also take into account her sports history, her movement history. Was she one-sided? Does she work one-sided? By that I mean was she a volleyball player where she hit with her right arm all the time? Or did she play soccer? Lately I’ve had a lot of, what do you call it? Extreme sports. {laughs} Skiers and snowboarders. So especially the snowboarders; they maybe had their left foot forward the whole time, or their right foot forward. So if you think about that, that sets the pelvis up for a little asymmetry. The body compensating. If you want to relate it to CrossFit or strength and conditioning, you have people that may only jerk with one leg forward the whole time. We do weird things, where it’s like; ok, let’s split-jerk switching legs, left leg now right leg. And it totally throws people off. But it helps to keep the pelvis balanced during your pregnancy.

Or deadlifting. I think at some point throughout the pregnancy; I think it’s around weeks 20 to 25, I for sure say no more mixed grip. Because then you're only activating one lat, or you're turning the pelvis one way or another. And that will contribute to a little bit of asymmetry. And in pregnancy, everything is exaggerated. Aches, pains, everything.

What else? If you work one-sided. Dental hygienists; they have the gnarliest jobs. They’re hunched over, they’re leaning in on their right side, or maybe their left side. So all that stuff contributes to the musculoskeletal system as its presented in the mom. So I look at that as a whole. And then how we can balance the pelvis, and spine from the ground up for mom. Because if pelvis and rib cage are seated nicely on top of each other, then baby has the most room to move around and ideally they’ll go head down and just line up with the top of the cervix, and then spin their little way out.

But we live in a different world where mom may be sedentary, or maybe she does soul cycle as her predominant form of exercise. Maybe she’s a triathlete where she runs, bikes, swims. Or even CrossFit. Like they’re all in the sagittal plane; that one plane of motion. So we have to switch it up.

Liz Wolfe: Ok.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: You need a BIRTHFIT chiropractor, because I’m not going to remember any of that. So I need to find a BIRTHFIT chiropractor. And Webster. This is good. Hurry up and reach the entire world with your program.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Right. Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. So for folks; go ahead.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: I just going to say. In general, if you're looking for a chiropractor, look for somebody that works with the body as a whole. They may only adjust; or they may adjust with a little bit of rehab muscle work. But if it’s a chiropractor that just works with aches and pains, they’re not viewing the body as a whole. And the body does not work just one muscle at a time or one joint at a time. Everything is connected. So that would be my biggest thing. And then make sure you're connected with them. Because as a chiropractor, they’re putting their hands on you. So you want your energies; you want to like them, to be complementary of each other.

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh. So, I’ve been to several chiropractors. I mean, it’s just like you interview your midwife or you interview your OB. You want to feel comfortable with them if you possibly can. But I have to tell you, that rings so true for me. My chiropractor has become a friend. She doesn’t even have to adjust me. Well, I don’t know what my energy is, but she picks up on it. I’m so obtuse, I can’t. I’m just so in my own head. But she can just absolutely read me. She has been the catalyst for so much emotional progress and epiphanies, just because the energy is so; I don’t know if it’s balanced. I don’t know if she’s getting anything out of the relationship, but I certainly am.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: So I can definitely attest to how she has helped me adjust my mind as well as my body. And I think that that speaks exactly to what you're saying.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: Mm-hmm. And you know; she probably does too. Most of us believe that we’re just here to help facilitate the life force that’s going through your body. And if we find a restriction; we call those subluxations. We plan to adjust it, get in, get out. And that’s it. But yeah, your body is smart. And it’s going to heal on its own. And we try not to interfere, as little as we can.

5. Staying aligned without a chiropractor [50:28]

Liz Wolfe: So, do you have a couple of top do’s or don’ts for folks who either don’t have access to a chiropractor. Whether it’s financial or an insurance issue, or just they live out in the middle of nowhere and they can’t go see a chiropractor every week. What would your advice for them be for staying as aligned as possible?

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: So definitely take recovery days. If you're working out, one of the big, big rule of thumbs, I guess, we say to all the moms is, you’ve got to take two full days off. And on these days, you can do restorative yoga. You can do walking. But no loading of joints, you know. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Oh, these dogs.

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Sorry friends! I’m going to mute myself while you talk. {laughs}

Dr. Lindsey Mathews: {laughs} We have something called the functional progressions. And this series was developed by Dr. Erica Boland, who is our core and pelvic floor expert out of Wisconsin. And this movement series is based on how humans all over the world are learning and motivated to move. And they go from their hands, their feet, rolling over, crawling, squatting, bear. And we think that’s a really great tool to do every day. And it’s almost meditative to use that. Check in with your body. See how you're feeling.

And ok, if the body is not feeling that great, maybe today is not a great day to do heavy squats or deadlifts. Maybe today is just a day to move through the functional progression series. Maybe do a little body weight exercises. But for the most part, have some sort of routine or restorative yoga, or meditative walk where you can check in with your physical body. I think that’s so important.

Liz Wolfe: We have well eclipsed our predicted time-slot for today. So I think what we’ll do is we’ll go ahead and split this podcast with Dr. Lindsey Mathews of BIRTHFIT into a part one and a part two. So be sure to check out Dr. Lindsey Mathews’ stuff at BIRTHFIT on social media, BIRTHFIT.com. And come back for part two of this interview. We’ll talk all about fitness and lots more.

That’s it for this week then. You can find me, Liz, at http://realfoodliz.com/ and Diane at http://dianesanfilippo.com. Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

Comments 1

  1. This question is for Liz. I am a military spouse who recently relocated to the Kansas City area. The one thing I am having the hardest time finding (and feel my family and I need the most right now) is a good chiropractor. When I heard your description of your Chiropractor I almost cried. That is exactly the kind of chiropractor care we were receiving before we moved, and we need to continue seeing. Would you be so kind as to recommending your Chiropractor to me? I don’t want to get to personal but for my families emotional health and well being we really need to see a chiropractor exactly how you described yours.
    Thank you.

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