Developing a Pregnancy Niche

Developing a Pregnancy Niche
Dr. Karen Gardner
After having two beautiful pregnancies and child birth experiences a few years ago, I sat and pondered what if I didn’t have chiropractic care?  How do women go through all of the hormonal, postural and emotional changes with a nervous system that is not functioning optimally?  I couldn’t answer that then and I’m not sure I can answer that now.  One thing I do know is that pregnant women need chiropractic, period. 
Most people in our communities have a preconceived notion about chiropractic care as it is.  Getting them to understand the need for pre-natal chiropractic is a whole other story.   This article is intended to give the reader some basic information about creating and promoting a pregnancy chiropractic practice.                                                                                 
Let’s start with the basics.
·      What is a niche?
·      Do you need one of your own?
·      How do you develop a niche?

 Niche (n.) – Forte, role, position, function; an especially suitable place or position  According to Webster’s new world Dictionary

Of course you don’t need a niche of your own.  Many successful docs are thriving in practice and do not have any niche, per say.   That being said, if you want to stand out and be different, a niche may be the way to go.  A niche is what’s going to make people who have never met you or heard of you decide to choose you when they need a chiropractor.  A niche is what separates you from most or all of the other D.Cs in your town. 

How to develop a pregnancy care niche?

Developing a niche is easier than you may think.   For me it was quite accidental.  First, I got pregnant and sought the care of a local midwife.  Through this relationship we shared our thoughts and philosophies regarding the wonders of the human body and the power of a chiropractic adjustment.  Within short order, she started to refer her patients to me for chiropractic care.  After a while, she told her business partner and she, too started to refer patients to me.  Then their back up doctor asked these midwives why their c-section rate was so low.  Their combined reply consisted of these two words, “Dr. Gardner”.   He soon started to send  his patients as well.  Very shortly thereafter, other OB/GYNS in my community followed suit. 
What can you do?
 If pregnancy is not in the cards for you to start a personal relationship with a midwife or other pregnancy health care provider, consider developing a businessrelationship.  Seek out area midwives, doulas, childbirth educators and obstetricians.  Call them, consistently to introduce yourself and your expert services.  Teach them the value of drugless chiropractic care, especially during pregnancy.   Offer classes to pregnancy care specialists so you teach them how to refer patients to you for chiropractic care. 
It is very important to inform these professionals of the benefits of chiropractic care as it pertains to them.  For instance, it may not be a true benefit to share with MD’s that pre-natal chiropractic care may enable a lower c-section rate.  For some MD’s a c-section is “just another day at the office” and reducing the amount that he/she performs may not be a true benefit in his/her opinion.  But, if it is explained that by lowering their c-section rate, their malpractice insurance and liability may also be reduced over time; you may have a better chance of getting their attention. 
You also want to give them the tools necessary so they can confidently identify the people in their practice who need your precision care.   Give them a checklist of people who would “qualify” as a pre-natal chiropractic patient.  For example, whenever someone is complaining of round ligament pain, they must have their pubic bone evaluated by a chiropractor.  You can have similar examples for the major discomforts associated with pregnancy. 
Build a relationship of exclusivity.  In other words, when a woman has the need for the services of a midwife or doula, etc. tell that midwife or doula you will refer exclusively to her in exchange for the same favor when one of their patients/clients has the need for chiropractic care.  Of course, they will know when a chiropractor is needed because you will already have discussed that with them by using the steps above..
This next step is especially important.  Learn all that you can about pregnancy so you can communicate effectively and professionally.   Become proficient in the special needs of a pregnant woman.   Become extremely familiar with the common complaints associated with all stages of pregnancy.  For instance, in the first trimester nausea and headaches are a primary complaint.   While in the third trimester, low back pain is a predominant concern.  Learn how to address these complaints effectively while communicating the importance of a properly functioning nervous system. 
Have the proper equipment available now so you are prepared before you need to be.  During the first trimester of pregnancy a woman’s breasts are EXTREMELY tender and painful.  Be sure you have a super soft table or cushion to alleviate any discomfort.   When a woman is approaching the end of the second trimester, you will need to accommodate her growing abdomen.  Again, cushions can be used or use an adjusting table with a tilt up pelvic piece or a break away lumbar piece.   A knee chest table is also excellent.
Make or purchase pregnancy brochures and pass them out at places pregnant women go.  We did lectures and screenings at Babies “R Us (this is a local baby super store, you may have something similar in your area by another name) for several years with great response.   You may also consider setting up lectures at La Leche league Meetings, child birth classes and libraries.   Very often, advertising for these lectures will be free of charge in your local newspaper.
When I was pregnant, I held a yoga class specifically for pregnant women to prepare for childbirth.  I opened it up to the whole community and had a great response.  This class was held in my office and taught by me, a pregnant chiropractor, which lended to the credibility of the class and also indirectly to me as a pregnancy expert.  Of course there
were photos all over my office of pregnant women getting adjusted and I used this teaching opportunity as a way to invite these women to learn more about chiropractic care. 
Remember doctor means teacher.  If you won’t go out there and teach, no one else will.
Want to build, grow and perfect your Pregnancy Practice? Let’s get on a call to discuss your strategy. The first call is on me! Schedule now

Dr. Karen, just wanted to say wow…I’ve learned so much and I’m only into the 2nd module. This is the stuff we need to know in everyday practice! I could listen to you all day long!        ~ Dr. Katie Gelesko Stull

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