The postural changes caused by a woman’s protruding abdomen throughout pregnancy places a significant amount of stress on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the low back and pelvis. These stresses can lead to the pelvis becoming torqued or twisted, a condition known as intrauterine constraint, which can compromise the space of the developing baby. Chiropractors certified in the Webster Technique have the ability to restore a state of balance in the pelvic joints, musculature, and ligaments to create an environment that allows for a much more natural delivery process.
The Webster Technique as defined by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) is “a Chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces nervous system stress and potential intrauterine constraint by improving pelvic muscle and ligament function which can reduce torsion to the uterus and allow the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.” This also maximizes uterine space allowing for optimal baby development thereby decreasing the restriction on developing structures such as the cranium, spine, and extremities. Having the maximum space available also allows the baby to move into the best possible position for birth decreasing the chance of breech presentation which subsequently decreases the need for C-section or other medical interventions. This in no way means that chiropractors are turning breech babies. They are simply providing a state of pelvic balance and therefore increasing the opportunity for the mother to give her child a natural and less traumatic birthing process and achieved in a very gentle non-invasive way. *
Specially designed pillows which protect the mother’s belly are placed on the treatment table so that range of motion in her sacrum (tailbone) can be assessed. The side lacking proper motion is adjusted using an apparatus on the table that enhances the very slight mobilizing pressure applied to the restricted joint. It is a very quick and simple adjustment and in no way harms the mother or her baby. The mother then lies on her back so an assessment of the round ligament can be performed. This structure is found to be under a significant amount of stress during pregnancy and a massage type technique is then applied to decrease this tension. While this is the primary form of treatment used in prenatal chiropractic care, other therapies that can be utilized in conjunction with this to enhance the expectant mother’s overall range of motion.
An article published in the 2002 edition of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics demonstrates the effectiveness of this technique. One hundred and twelve expectant mothers in their third trimester took part in the study. 87.5% of those in their seventh month (14 of 16), 98% of those in their eighth month (50 of 51), and 84.4% of those in their ninth month (38 of 45) experienced resolution of breech presentation after application of the Webster Technique. While chiropractic care throughout pregnancy would be most beneficial this study showed an overall success rate of 82% when applied at various times during the final trimester of pregnancy.
Increasing the public’s awareness of such forms of complementary care can help decrease the need for cesarean interventions and give mothers the natural childbirth that they have always dreamed of.