What is the Webster Technique?
Dr. Larry Webster, Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this prenatal technique as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function for pregnant mothers.
Who is the Webster Technique for?
Expectant mothers to prepare for birth. Keeping the pelvis aligned with the sacrum allows more room for the baby and helps with a more comfortable birth. It is also useful for pregnant women who have pelvic, pubic bone, low back pain, sciatica or have been told their baby is breech. This technique is easy, quick and gets amazing results.
According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (2002), an 82% success rate is seen by Webster Technique Certified Chiropractors who work with mothers with babies presenting breech or transverse. I have personally treated a mother to be that was 40 weeks pregnant with success. It has also successfully used with twins.
How does the Webster Technique work?
When coming in for this prenatal care, we evaluate your hips and sacrum for alignment and make sure they are even and moving. We use this gentle and effective technique to help keep the pelvis and sacrum functioning as they should leading to more comfort and better preparation for birth. Uterine ligaments are also evaluated and stretched or massaged to make sure the uterus is relaxed and your baby has room to settle or move into proper position.
When should you do the Webster Technique?
Normally around your third trimester of pregnancy. This is because it is common for your medical doctor to monitor the position of your baby in preparation for birth. If your baby turns on their own by week 36 unless there is a reason to have a C-Section, they will opt for a vaginal birth. Unfortunately, if your baby is in a breech position around 36–37 weeks, your doctor will probably suggest C-Section and attempt an external cephalic version.
Cephalic version is a manual hands on technique when your medical doctor attempts to turn your baby while still in the uterus. This is done by pushing on the baby with his or her hands through your abdomen. This procedure can bring about complications including vaginal bleeding, premature rupture of membranes, fetal distress and premature labor. If there are no complications but your baby is still breech after this procedure, then a C-Section is scheduled. C-Sections are very invasive and have a long recovery time as well as losing the benefit of having a vaginal birth. Some of the benefits of vaginal birth are:
1. Vaginal births typically require shorter hospital stays. Although state laws vary, the typical length of a hospital stay following a vaginal delivery is 24 to 48 hours.
2. Risks associated with major surgery, such as severe bleeding, scarring, infections, reactions to anesthesia and longer-lasting pain.
3. Because major surgery is not involved, a mother may be able to begin breastfeeding sooner.
4. Babies who are delivered vaginally will be able to have more early contact with their mother, who can initiate breastfeeding sooner
5. During a vaginal delivery, muscles involved in the process are more likely to squeeze out the fluid in a newborn's lungs, which is beneficial because it makes babies less likely to suffer breathing problems at birth.
6. Less likely for future birth complications
The Webster technique is safer, less invasive and it also prepares your pelvis for birth making it easier for you and your baby and avoiding C-section and a longer recovery after giving birth.
Does Webster Technique hurt?
This technique came about when Dr. Webster's daughter was pregnant and he wanted a solution to her prenatal issues. Keeping that in mind, he made it as comfortable as it can be. The adjustments are gentle and safe for mom and baby. There is a slight pressure when working on the round ligament but other than that it is minimally invasive and pain-free.
Does the Webster Technique induce labor?
No, it does not impede or induce labor. It allows mom and baby to be in the best physical position to start the birth process.
How is the Webster Technique so beneficial with breech position?
The Webster Technique was not discovered as a "breech turning" technique. This technique balances the body to allow for optimal fetal positioning in preparation of birth. As defined by the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association), "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 and Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction." The SI joint is located between the left and right hip and if mal-positioned it can decrease the space in the birth canal. The importance of regular chiropractic care and use of the Webster Technique during pregnancy is the potential for safer, easier births as a result of improved neuro-biomechanical function. So it is beneficial even if your baby is not breech and allows baby and mom to feel more comfortable and less stressed.
The Webster Technique uses specific methods to balance the round ligament, which connects the uterus to the pelvic bony structure. If the pelvis is out of alignment, it can pull on the round ligament creating an unbalanced and tightened uterus leading to a mal-positioned baby. 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.
Why does the Webster Technique focus on the Round Ligament?
Pregnancy can bring on a fairly common abdominal pain caused by the stretching of the round ligament. This is the ligament that holds your uterus in suspension within your abdomen. It originates at the uterine horns (the points at which the fallopian tubes enter the uterus), and attaches to the labia majora, passing through the inguinal canal.
As your pregnancy advances and your uterus grows in size and weight, this ligament becomes long and thin, stretching and tensing like a rubber band. When the ligaments become stretched they can pull on nerve fibers and cause a great deal of pain. The pain can be brought on by something as simple as rolling over in your sleep, exercise, or simply walking. Releasing the tension by a chiropractic adjustment and applying slight pressure on the ligament allows the body to relax and opens up the uterus allowing your baby to move about inside the uterus.
Learn more how Dr. Amie Gregory DC, CCEP in our San Francisco Chiropractic or Redwood City Chiropractic office can help you through your pregnancy. Contact us today!