By: Dr. Katie Sellars, B.Sc., D.C.
The premise of chiropractic philosophy is, “the power that makes the body, heals the body”. Webster Technique plays on this philosophy by adopting the notion that when a pregnant woman’s body is functioning optimally, (with all of her joints, muscles, and organs working in their designated way), that labour and delivery will evolve smoothly, and without need for intervention.
What on earth is Webster technique? It is a technique used by Chiropractors on expectant mothers whose babies are in breech presentation. The exact definition of Webster is as follows: The Webster protocol is a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation and SI joint dysfunction. In doing so, neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is facilitated. So, in plain English, Webster is a chiropractic technique which aims to ensure that the joints of a woman’s pelvis are moving properly in order to avoid intrauterine constraint. This allows the baby to assume the optimal, head down presentation for labour. The reason that this works is that in Webster’s clinical and theoretical framework, it is proposed that sacral misalignment may cause the tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments which have an aberrant effect on the uterus. This may prevent baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.
Obstetric literature has determined that proper pelvic biomechanics (and neuro-mechanics) are essential to prevent difficulties during labour and delivery. Because of the adaptations in the pregnant woman’s body from the increase of hormones, weight gain and postural changes, these women are at greater risk for sacral misalignment than the general population. When we look at the hypothesized “causes” of a breech presentation (abnormal flow of amniotic fluid, contracted pelvis, uterine abnormalities, lax abdominal muscles), they not only deal with biomechanical issues (issues with the muscles and joints), but also issues concerning visceral, endocrine, or other physiological processes. This implicates a disrupted flow of signals from the central nervous system to support our various bodily functions.
So, the next issue to address is when? When should pregnant women begin seeing a chiropractor for Webster Technique? The particular period of importance is when baby is in breech presentation beyond 8 months of pregnancy. While many midwives will wait to refer a woman until late in her 7th or early 8th month of pregnancy when the baby is breech, and that is completely acceptable, any time during pregnancy is an acceptable time to begin having Webster treatments performed. Reasons to begin treatments earlier would include: if Mom has had low back or pelvic difficulties prior to pregnancy, has a very sedentary job, or is required to perform a lot of unilateral activities.
Dr. Sellars was trained in the Webster Technique by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in 2011. If you have further questions about the technique, or about chiropractic care in general, feel free to email us at: [email protected]
For more information on chiropractic care during pregnancy and the Webster technique, check out these links: