Chiropractic is a safe and effective way to support a woman’s body during pregnancy. It is “vital to the normal physiological function of both the mother and baby in pregnancy and birth” (Jeanne Ohm, ICPA Executive Coordinator).
Chiropractic care is focused on working with the communication system between your brain and your body. A change in a vertebral or cranial bone function and position creates imbalance to the surrounding muscles, ligaments and nerves. The body’s ability to communicate and function correctly decreases. Natural processes like child birth can then become harder than necessary and not as smooth sailing as we would like it to be. Chiropractic is beneficial to all pregnant women through the entirety of their pregnancy, no matter what the baby position is.
Misalignments of the sacrum creates tightening and torsion of the pelvic muscles and ligaments. The baby grows within the uterus, a snug sack that hangs from the pelvis via ligaments at the back, front and sides. A change in the position of the bones of the pelvis alters the uterus ligament tension and therefore changes the shape and tension within the uterus. In many cases this is cause enough for the baby not to go head down.
Referred to by many as the ‘baby turning technique’, the Webster Technique is becoming better known. A major misconception is that chiropractors turn babies, this is incorrect, chiropractors do not turn babies. The woman's body does given the right help. "The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and balances maternal pelvic muscles and ligaments. This in turn reduces torsion in the uterus, a cause of intra-uterine constraint of the baby and allows for optimal fetal positioning in preparation for birth." (ICPA).
A breech presentation occurs in about 3% of full term pregnancies. As a foetus grows, the position of the baby does not matter until around 32 weeks, where we like to see baby head down. In general at 28 weeks up to 25% babies are in the breech position, At 30 weeks up to 17% and at 32 weeks up to 11% babies are in the breech position (Williams Obstetrics).
A survey in the US reported a high rate of success (82%) in relieving the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint using the Webster Technique. Although the sample size was small (112), the results suggest that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique in month 8 of pregnancy, when breech presentation is unlikely to spontaneously convert to cephalic presentation and when external cephalic version is not an effective technique. When successful, the Webster Technique avoids the costs and/or risks of external cephalic version, cesarean section, or vaginal trial of breech. In view of these findings, the Webster Technique deserves serious consideration in the health care management of expectant mothers exhibiting adverse fetal presentation (Pistolese 2002).
In a recent visit to Australia, Jeanne Ohm from the ICPA made headlines while here to promote chiropractic care for pregnant women. Visiting paediatric chiropractic expert and home birth advocate, Dr Jeanne Ohm said pre-natal chiropractic care may reduce the potential for a caesarean delivery. “Caesarean deliveries in Australia have risen in the past 10 years from one-in-five births to more than one-in-three,” Dr Ohm said. “Studies show that this rate could be reduced if more women consulted a chiropractor early in their pregnancy for assistance in adjusting the spine, balancing pelvic structures and allowing the baby best possible position for a non-interventional birth.”
The ICPA has done vital international research, including Australian data on the role of pre-natal chiropractic care throughout pregnancy and its outcomes for a natural birth. The research showed that chiropractic care can assist in a faster, safer, natural birth.
Pre-natal chiropractic care does not only benefit the general community, but has the potential to not only improve clinical outcomes, but reduce public health care costs, cut hospital queues and free-up the availability of other health services (Coffs Harbour Advocate).
If you are looking for a chiropractor certified in the Webster Technique, head to the ICPA website for a list of chiropractors who hold a Certificate of Proficiency in the Webster Technique.
Coffs Harbour Advocate. “Caesarean deliveries can be cut” Feb 2010
Cunningham, Gary F., Leveno, Kenneth J., Bllom, Steve L., Hauth, John C., Rouse, Dwight J., Spong, Catherine Y. eds Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed. United States of America: McGraw Hill, Medical. 2003. Print.
International Chiropractic Paediatric Association (ICPA) www.icpa4kids.org
Ohm, Jeanne. “Perinatal Chiropractic Care; Webster Technique.” Chiropractic Pediatric Certification Program ICPA presented in Canberra, Australia. Powerpoint Presentation and Lecture. 2009.
Pistolese, Richard A. “The Webster Technique: A chiropractic technique with obstetric implications “ Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics - July 2002 (Vol. 25, Issue 6, Pages E1-E9)
Created by Jacey Pryjma, Well Kids for the consideration of Pregnancy Birth and Beyond. This proposal is the intellectual property of Jacey Pryjma, Well Kids 2010. Any ideas in part or whole cannot be used or released without the consent of author.