After more than two years at a general practice office in Dallas, chiropractor Kara Dudowicz has decided to take a new direction — opening an office in Denton.
While the office is located near other medical facilities, the chiropractic office is in an unexpected complex — Caring for Women, an OB-GYN office. Dudowicz specializes in prenatal chiropractic care — a field she said many pregnant women don’t even know exists. By being in the same office as their doctor, pregnant women have one office to go to for most of their medical needs during pregnancy, she said.
“It’s kind of new to start really integrating practices, and so this for me was just a really great avenue because I love to work with women and it seemed just like a natural fit,” Dudowicz said. “A lot of times people don’t know if they can see a chiropractor, and often times ... women come to me saying, they knew they needed to see one but didn’t know who to go to, and so just having the proximity of being in this office helps.”
After several meetings and presentations with the physicians in the office, both parties decided it would be a good fit to add Dudowicz’s practice, which includes a massage therapist, and they moved in mid-August. Now, they split time between the Dallas office — open Monday and Friday, and the Denton office, open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Some clients from the Dallas office have followed her to the new office because it’s closer to their homes, but she has seen an influx of referrals from Caring for Women and is gradually increasing the percentage of clients who are pregnant or recently gave birth.
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends women receive chiropractic care during pregnancy to help with the pelvic balance, one of the main areas Dudowicz focuses on with her patients, she said.
She also provides adjustments for rib pain and lower back pain, which are some of the most common complaints during pregnancy.
“It’s really unfortunate because a lot of people think, ‘Oh I’m pregnant, of course my back’s going to hurt,’ but that’s not the case at all — that shouldn’t be the case,” she said. “It’s just a shame that people think they should put up with it just because they’re pregnant when they really shouldn’t.”
One of Dudowicz’s patients, Ashley Barkley, began seeing Dudowicz in the Dallas office in June, knowing chiropractic care could help during pregnancy. Barkley had been seeing a chiropractor in Oklahoma City, and while he was able to help, he didn’t know the specialized adjustments for a pregnant woman, or how to alleviate rib pain.
Within a few weeks of seeing Dudowicz, her ribs felt better, and the regular back pain she had noticed even before pregnancy was gone.
“I feel like she’s incredibly knowledgeable and has a variety of techniques,” she said. “I definitely think seeing her prior to my delivery, and making sure my alignment was in good shape prior to my delivery, made a huge difference.”
To make the adjustments, Dudowicz is more gentle with areas near the baby, and even has a special table that has a hole and drop-out section for the pregnant belly. For women who haven’t been able to lay on their front side in months, the table is the best part, Dudowicz said.
Dudowicz began to focus on the specialized care while she was still in chiropractic school in Dallas. As an intern in clinical rotations, she was one of the only females under her staff doctor, and pregnant women frequently requested another woman to work on them, she said.
She began attending additional seminars and lessons outside of school in prenatal and postpartum care, getting different certifications. Once she started a general practice in Dallas though, her clients ranged from runners and triathletes, since she is active in those communities, to family and friends.
“My sister got pregnant, and then my best friend got pregnant, and all of a sudden all of these pregnant women started coming to me and I was like. ‘OK, maybe this is really what I’m meant to do’,” she said. “I sort of realized that I love it so much more — being able to take a woman through her pregnancy is such a wonderful experience, and if you can give the mom that much better of an experience during her pregnancy, you’re taking stress off her body. Her child is going to 100 percent benefit from that.”
Dudowicz is patient and meticulous when taking a woman through pregnancy, said patient Catharine DeMore. This was the fourth chiropractor DeMore saw during her pregnancy, as she was 32 weeks pregnant and wasn’t getting any relief with her hip and back pain.
“She’s probably the best chiropractor I’ve ever been to because she spends a lot of time with you at every visit, not just your first one,” DeMore said. “Seeing her, she kind of just helps put things back into place. I saw a lot of benefit for sure, especially in those last few weeks.”
As the office grows, Dudowicz said she plans to spend more time in Denton, where her parents and family still live, and hopes to continue specializing in prenatal and postpartum care.
“It’s really nice to be here and have a specialty, and be in with this group,” she said. “I love working with women — I love working with pregnant women — it’s just really what I enjoy. It’s nice to start focusing on just doing that, and really becoming an expert and being able to focus my message. Patients definitely benefit when you’re focused and have direction.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.