Have you heard of the Webster Technique? It is a chiropractic technique used in pregnancy to help improve the mother’s pelvic function. It is a common topic on natural birthing sites, pregnancy circles, and may have even been recommended to you by your doctor. As a Webster certified Chiropractor, I enjoy working with mothers at all stages of pregnancy and infants when they are born.
The Webster Technique, developed by Dr. Larry Webster is a specific chiropractic assessment to eliminate sacral misalignment for pregnant women and helps balance pelvic muscles and ligaments. First there is an analysis to confirm sacral alignment. Then there is a light force thrust applied to the sacrum for correction if needed. The adjustment is gentle and is accommodated for mom through each stage of pregnancy. Round ligament tightness and muscular tonicity is important to evaluate as these structures also play a role in controlling the position of the pelvis. Proper or neutral pelvic position helps promote optimal fetal positioning. Adjustments can help the baby fit into the pelvis better to prepare the cervix for labor. Optimal alignment allows for safer, easier births. Chiropractic adjustments can also promote flexibility, so the pelvic joints can move more easily in labor. Spinal and pelvic adjustments also can reduce pregnancy aches such as back pain, hip pain, sciatica, and headaches.
With the growing number of interventions pregnant women are exposed to during pregnancy and birth, it is becoming harder for women to have safe, natural childbirths. At the same time, with the increasing awareness of the potential harm and lack of evidence to support these interventions, women are seeking health care options in their pregnancy that support natural childbirth. It is not my decision to tell you how or the manner you want to experience pregnancy and labor. I am passionate about making sure you are presented with all of your options and are able to make the best decision for your family. It is important to have an open dialogue with your healthcare team.
The World Health Organization (WHO) proposed 15% as the highest acceptable limit for cesarean section rates. Currently, the C-rate has risen to mid-30% in the US. Preliminary findings are showing that chiropractic care throughout pregnancy improves the mother’s overall function, her quality of life and may contribute to easier, safer births with less interventions.
I feel without chiropractic care and a supportive team that I would not have experienced the pregnancy and births my husband and I did. Regular chiropractic adjustments, yoga, acupuncture, good nutrition, and massage throughout my pregnancies allowed each of my three children to be born in the fashion we desired, at home. The purpose of this story is not to have families feel the only option is a home birth if you want a non-intervention labor, but to understand no matter where you welcome your baby you can also have the experience you desire. You just need to understand the process and be aware of the choices that are available to you. My first-born was a healthy 10.2lb, 22-inch-long baby boy. After 23 hours of laboring my contractions stalled and my water still had not broken. I wasn’t dilating symmetrically. Our midwife thought it may be in our best interest to go to the hospital if my labor did not progress within the next hour as I had been laboring for 26 hours and they were concerned I may be fatigued during the active labor portion. We had a little time before a decision needed to be made and there were several positioning exercises that can help in these situations that we wanted to try first. I walked stairs, gently rocked back and forth, squatted, and had Robozo (gentle sifting or giggle with a long cloth) done by our midwife. Our midwife suggested that Dr. Chris check my sacral alignment and perform an adjustment if I was comfortable to release tension and about 10 minutes afterwards my water finally broke and our son was born two hours later. My next two deliveries were much faster than with my son, Jack, but with all three I trusted my support team and my body. I understood it was a process and I felt my team listened to our desires and supported us along the way. We were not opposed to delivering in the hospital and knew it was available if needed. I experienced no drug interventions, had no unnecessary vaginal checks, moved when my instincts told me to move, and laid still when I felt the need to do so. It was exactly how we wanted it to be. I was able to birth in a position that helped keep my pelvis open and move with the pressures of baby. It was identified in the third trimester that my second and third babies were in the breech position. I went to work right away with introduction of the Webster technique, exercises and stretches to promote proper positioning, massage, and acupuncture. In the end they both found the desired head down position and labor was much faster than my first.
It doesn’t matter what your birthing journey may be, but all moms can benefit from regular chiropractic check-ups to obtain an optimal position during your pregnancy and birth. No matter what your pregnancy journey looks like I am here to support you, your decisions, and give you information so you can make informed, educated choices about your child’s future!
~Dr. Melanie Dockter