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Posted on 01-19-2012

Morning!

From days of old the diagnosis of a breeched baby to an expecting couple was met with massive fear and preparation. Right before birth, most babies are in a head-down position in the mother's uterus, which is why most babies are born head first. Sometimes the baby is in a bottom-first (or feet-first) position. When a baby is in that position before birth, it's called a breech birth or breech baby. Many babies are breech early in pregnancy, but most of them turn to the headfirst position near the end of the pregnancy. Babies who are born early are more likely to be breech. If more than one baby is in the uterus at a time, one or more of the babies may be breech.

** Enter Chiropractic **

Chiropractic care benefits all aspects of your body's ability to be healthy. This is accomplished by working with the nervous system--the communication system between your brain and body. Doctors of Chiropractic work to correct spinal, pelvic and cranial misalignments (subluxations). When misaligned, these structures create an imbalance in surrounding muscles and ligaments. Additionally, the resulting nerve system stress may affect the body's ability to function optimally.

The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/ SI joint dysfunction. In so doing neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is facilitated.

Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this adjustment as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function. This specific sacral analysis can be used on all weight bearing individuals to determine S/I joint dysfunction/ sacral subluxation and is therefore applicable for the entire population. The assessment includes heel flexion to buttocks, with restricted flexion indicating the affected SI joint. Correction is made with a diversified, sacral adjustment. It is used on all weight bearing individuals presenting with this biomechanical restriction. Common symptoms include (but are not limited to) low back pain, sciatic neuralgia, and symptoms associated with S/I joint dysfunction.

The theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women is that sacral misalignment known as a "subluxation" that may contribute to difficult labor for the mother (i.e., dystocia).  Dystocia is caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, baby mal-presentation and maternal emotions. The correction of sacral subluxation may have a positive effect on all of these causes of dystocia.

It is therefore considered prudent that this specific sacral analysis and adjustment be used throughout pregnancy to detect and alleviate sacral imbalance and optimize pelvic neuro-biomechanics in the mother. Because of the particular female adaptations from the increase of hormones, weight gain and postural adaptations, pregnant mothers have a greater chance of sacral subluxation and neuro-biomechanical imbalance than the general population. Additionally, because of the effect the chiropractic adjustment has on all body functions by reducing nerve system stress, pregnant mothers may have significant benefit by having their spines checked regularly throughout pregnancy, optimizing health benefits for both the mother and baby.

It is therefore considered prudent that this specific sacral analysis and adjustment be used throughout pregnancy to detect and alleviate sacral imbalance and optimize pelvic neuro-biomechanics in the mother. Because of the particular female adaptations from the increase of hormones, weight gain and postural adaptations, pregnant mothers have a greater chance of sacral subluxation and neuro-biomechanical imbalance than the general population. Additionally, because of the effect the chiropractic adjustment has on all body functions by reducing nerve system stress, pregnant mothers may have significant benefit by having their spines checked regularly throughout pregnancy, optimizing health benefits for both the mother and baby.

In this clinical and theoretical framework, it is proposed that sacral misalignment may cause the tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments.  It is these tense muscles and ligaments and their aberrant effect on the uterus which may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.

In regards to pregnant mothers, Dr. Webster reported that when a mother sought care and her baby was in a breech position, the restoration of pelvic neuro-biomechanics with this adjustment also frequently facilitated optimal fetal positioning.  There are cases published in the chiropractic literature that support this theory. 

A 2012 study that was published in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, and Family Health featured the Webster Technique and its abstract is as follows:

Objective: The purpose of this case study is to report on the resolution of a breech presentation in an expectant mother following a course of subluxation-based chiropractic care and administration of the Webster Technique.

Clinical features: A 33-year old expectant mother presented 8 months pregnant with her second child.  There were no complications with her first pregnancy.  A breech presentation was noted by her midwife and vertebral subluxation and muscle spasm were observed upon chiropractic evaluation.

Intervention and Outcomes: The patient was managed utilizing Webster's Technique and progress was monitored, specifically noting changes in the baby's position as reported by the midwife between adjustments. The fetus was no longer breech after nine visits and the mother delivered a healthy baby.

Conclusion: This case describes the resolution of a breech presentation and a normal vaginal birth following the administration of Webster's Technique. 

The obstetric literature has determined that correct positioning of the baby in-utero affects birth outcome and decreases the potential for undue stress to the baby's developing spine and nerve system. Obstetric literature has also determined the importance of normal pelvic neuro-biomechanics for the prevention of dystocia (difficult birth). Chiropractic literature has determined the significance of sacral adjusting in normalizing pelvic neuro-biomenchanics. 

Of course emergency c-sections have saved many lives however they are very expensive, often done for the doctor's schedule and not for the need of the patient, causes unwanted scars, lowers the baby's APGAR score, and delays bonding with the mother.  For this reason we recommend all expecting mothers have their pelvis checked in the office for tension, subluxation/malposition, and biomechanics to ensure a safe, easy delivery.  If someone you know is pregnant please consider a referral to our office.  I have significant experience in caring for the upcoming moms-to-be!  

Have a blessed day and be sure to "share" this information!

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