How the Webster Technique Can Help You Birth Without Fear

by Birth Without Fear on July 10, 2012

For many women, pregnancy can be a very uncomfortable experience. First, there are the initial hormonal changes and morning sickness; the feeling of being on an emotional roller-coaster for no good reason whatsoever and the unusual food cravings at all hours of the day (such as early, early morning Jack-in-the-Box taco runs for those husbands keeping track).

Next come the physical changes. As the baby develops and grows inside the womb, so does the momma’s belly. This expansion of the belly is an unavoidable change, part of the territory that comes with growing a baby. But oftentimes, this territory is accompanied by an alteration in spinal and pelvic alignment. This structural alteration, or misalignment, is often very uncomfortable and even painful as the pregnancy progresses.

One of the hormones that runs wild through a pregnant momma’s body is relaxin. Relaxin helps ligaments loosen up, especially those in the pelvic area, to accomodate the expansion of the growing baby and uterus. However, relaxin can be a double-edged sword. While it helps those bones shift in order to make way for the baby, the ligament laxity can make those pelvic bones very unstable in their position, allowing them to misalign in a very painful way. Couple this with the fact that a pregnant woman’s lumbar spinal curvature can increase as the size and weight of the belly increase (a temporary, forced hyperlordosis so as to speak), and you have the recipe for a very painful, very unhappy pregnancy. Letting go of fears surrounding labor are hard to do when you are pregnant, in pain, and unhappy about it.

This is where Chiropractic comes into play.

In Chiropractic, the two most important parts of the spine to pay attention to, more than any other areas, are the very top and very bottom of the spine. At the top is the atlas, or C1 vertebra. Proper position of this vertebra is important because of its close proximity to the brain stem, as well as its ability to create a domino effect of spinal misalignment from the top all the way down to the bottom where the pelvis and sacrum are. Proper alignment of the atlas is paramount for a healthy, properly aligned spine.

At the bottom of the spine is the pelvis and sacrum. The pelvis consists of six bones, three on each side: the ilium on the front, back, and side, the pubis in the lower front, and the ischium on the bottom.

ilium, ischium, pubis

Along with the sacrum and the elaborate network of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves attached and intertwined within this area, one can start to imagine the complications that can arise for a pregnant woman with an improperly aligned pelvis, one of those being a baby in a breech position late in the pregnancy.

(As a side note, having a baby in a breech position does not necessarily mean you are doomed to have an inevitable c-section, but a baby with its head down will make life a lot easier for the momma and the baby during labor.)

Because of the elaborate setup of the pelvis and sacrum, they move as one most of the time. When one ilium has rocked back into a posterior misalignment, the opposite side is, by default, rocked forward. This can cause the sacrum to tilt posterior one way or the other, often causing pain and/or tightness in the opposite leg. Because of all this tilting and torquing of the pelvic bones, the birth canal will narrow, possibly complicating the baby’s ability to birth naturally.

Any combination of misalignments of these bones will contribute to troublesome, or even severe, lower back pain for a pregnant woman, and set the stage for a painful, long labor full of interventions that may result in an eventual c-section, a major surgery few women look forward to unless absolutely necessary.

Proper chiropractic care, in and of itself, is very beneficial for the pregnant mother. A properly aligned pelvis and sacrum will do wonders in avoiding any of the unfavorable scenarios previously mentioned. Properly aligned pelvic bones help the pelvic muscles stay loose, allowing the network of nerves within the pelvic area to transmit important messages from the nervous system to their intended destinations without interference.

round ligament painThe Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique, or simply the Webster Technique, takes it one step further. Dr. Larry Webster developed a chiropractic technique that balances the pelvis properly, while also reducing the stress to the ligaments that support the uterus, more specifically the round ligaments. Dr. Webster developed this technique after watching his own daughter suffer through a long, painful labor with a baby in the breech position.

The round ligaments act to hold the uterus in suspension within the abdomen. However, as the pregnancy goes on, these round ligaments can become thin and tight like a rubber band pulled to tension, causing sharp, spastic pains and restricting the space in which the baby has to maneuver within the womb. Restriction of this movement often causes a baby to stay in a breech position beyond 37 weeks. This can be a very disconcerting feeling to many women, as we know from firsthand experience. Once the pelvis and sacrum are properly aligned, the Webster Technique focuses on relieving the tightness in the round ligaments. This allows the baby to shift comfortably and freely within the womb so that he or she may get into proper position for his or her big journey to the outside world.

For more information on the Webster Technique, click here. If you are pregnant, the time to get under chiropractic care is yesterday. Chiropractic, including the Webster Technique, will stack the cards in favor of you and your growing baby.

And with all the fears the mainstream media, hospitals, AMA, and insurance companies have instilled in our society about childbirth, you need a stacked deck to stare down those fears with full faith and confidence in yourself, your body, and your baby.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebekah July 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I LOVE my chiropractor. At 2 months I was already experiencing a lot of back pain. I have been going monthly ever since. He always adjusts my atlas and SI joints and I feel sooo much better!

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Dr. Michelle July 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I am a chiropractor specializing in pregnancy, kids, infants, and birth trauma. I use the Webster technique multiple times a day with awesome results. Great post! Thanks for sharing….we need to continue to educate our communities about healthy pregnancy and safer births! (PS…to find a Webster certified chiropractor like me, visit http://www.ICPA4kids.com and go to find a doctor and enter your zip code!)

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Janice Rex-Weaver July 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm

BWF – you rock. You are inspiring. You have never ending energy. You are a beacon for so many women and families. Thanks for doing what you do. Your posts are always great – this one – Websters/chiro is awesome.
Janice

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Dr. John Edwards July 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Thanks for posting and sharing. Creating balance in the pelvis so expecting moms & babies can have the safest, most comfortable delivery possible is exactly what we do with Webster. It breaks my heart that so many moms think they can just come in for delivery day and presume they’ll have a good birth, only to find themselves riding the intervention train to a c-section. Like anything a balanced pelvis takes work, especially with our sedentary “work-styles,” and research is showing that having a chiropractor on your team increases the chances of ending up with the delivery you’re looking for. Considering the birth process is measured in centimeters, every little misalignment counts! http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/

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Dr. Kat July 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I too specialize with a post doctorate in prenatal and pediatric chiropractic…& it is a true blessing to work with the maternal fetal pelvis and help balance it to allow for the baby or babies to get in the right position for birth – and hopefully avoid a c-section. As noted previously http://www.icpa4kids.com

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Kelsey July 17, 2012 at 12:55 am

When would you recommend a pregnant woman to start seeing a chiropractor? I know “there is no time like the present” but our insurance doesn’t cover it at all. So I would just want to make sure visits are started early enough but not too late to help.

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lys810 August 4, 2012 at 4:41 am

As someone who has been seeing a chiropractor for years, and throughout this pregnancy (I am almost 37 weeks) I would suggest going at least once during the 1st trimester, at least once during the 2nd, and at least once during the 3rd UNLESS you find out that baby is breech. As soon as that happens, I would talk to said chiropractor to find out what they recommend. I would also go at any point if you are having any kind of lower back, hip, or pelvic pain.
I have chronic (pre-existing to pregnancy) hip and lower back pain made worse by the pregnancy… I ended up going once during the first trimester, once during the second, and then started going weekly around 32 weeks to relieve lower back pain from pressure from the uterus on my back.
At the very minimum, go at least once during the 2nd trimester before you find out whether baby is breech or not you have a chiropractor, you’ve met them, you can decide if that’s the one you want to keep seeing, etc. And then as needed during the 3rd.

Try not to get tied up in the cost, either. A lot of people think of chiropractors as insanely expensive, but all the good they do, they are really not. (Of course, what is expensive and what is not also depends on your budget.) Without insurance, the going rate for a good chiropractor in MA (where I am) is $80 for the first visit, and $40 for visits after that. SOME chiropractors offer a discount for people who have insurance that does not cover chiropractic care.

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Veronique July 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Thank you for this educational post! I am 28 wks with baby girl and am finding myself seeing the chiro every two weeks to be adjusted! Best 20 minutes (including chit chat lol – he’s a cosleeper dad!) of my day…baby girl is breech right now but given she has time to flip vertex yet, I’m preparing for all possibilities, including a hospital breech birth as both my OB and hospital of choice are supportive! I will share this with my chiro as he isn’t familiar with it but he’s looking to find me someone in our area who is..meanwhile, the relief he provides from the adjustment are worth three times the fee for alleviating myleg cramps and tightness of my sciatic nerve as well as crazy tight neck and spine! Thank you again for this awesome post!!

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Veronique August 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hi Mrs BWF! Just wanted to thank you again and share the wonderful news that after one Webster adjustment this past Friday, my baby girl is now vertex – woke up from a nap on Saturday and had some strange pain in round ligament and my belly felt different… she must have flipped while I slept!! I/We can’t thank you enough! I plan on continuing the adjustments until baby decides to join us in October as I/we can only benefit from being properly aligned!

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Joyce November 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I saw my Webster certified chiropractor throughout my pregnancy, and I really credit her care, along with my amazing doulas’ and midwives’ encouragement and expertise, that I was able to give birth to my posterior baby with only the help of an episiotomy under local anesthesia (after 2 hours of pushing, and he was crowned for a full hour with no further progress). I love my chiropractor!

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Lorie March 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

I just tried to watch the video and it said it doesn’t exist….

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Dr Satya Sardonicus September 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I love that more and more mamas are becoming aware of how special prenatal chiropractic care can help prepare for a safer, easier labor and delivery. I’d like to make a clarification, though: the Webster Technique works to balance mom’s pelvis and ensure excellent nerve function to reproductive organs. Baby then has the optimum environment to get into position for delivery. Chiropractors don’t “turn babies” – but we DO give mama and baby the BEST chance for a safe, easy, uncomplicated birth. <3

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Dr.Claudia September 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Fantastic article! As a Chiropractor who has received specialised training from the ICPA to take care of Mum & Baby through pregnancy, I have seen first hand the amazing transitions that occur throughout a pregnancy and how Webster can help everything transition ‘according to plan’ and correct and prevent a breech situation. For all those Mum’s out there, try not to become discouraged with symptoms of pregnancy or being told the baby is breech, Chiropractors are here and ready to help you :)

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Leslie Stager RN, LMT September 19, 2013 at 6:36 am

The Webster Technique is so helpful for so many women who are able to reap its benefits! There are some other bodywork options that can often get the same results. These may sometimes work better or be more long lasting when the misalignment is more subtle, yet still causing baby to be less optimally positioned, or causing nerve pain or general pelvic-hip-sacral-vaginal pain.
Cranio-sacral work can help to bring balance to the pelvic-spinal alignment, without actual “adjustments”. And, Holistic & Integrative Pelvic Care help release the internal muscles of the pelvis, so that bony structures come back into alignment, relieving pain and dysfunction. It also helps a woman prepare for birth psycho-emotionally as well as physically, with empowering, centering, grounding techniques. Holistic Pelvic Care would be useful as as standard of care for all pregnant and postnatal women to help avoid birth issues and pelvic problems after birth.

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