When should I start care?
“The imbalance in the pelvis may cause sciatica, hip pain, etc., especially as the baby grows and becomes heavier,” Dubisar-Brost says. Many times, mothers associate pain with a problem, but issues in the pelvis can be present long before symptoms are. “Our bodies are made to wonderfully adapt even in sub-optimal conditions, so a mother may be unaware that there is anything 'wrong' because nothing 'hurts,'” Dubisar-Brost says.
“Around week 12, there is a significant hormonal change that occurs; the hormone Relaxin starts to soften the pelvic joints and tissues to accommodate the growing uterus. Joints that previously were able to adapt to misalignments now have more to deal with, in addition to a growing baby applying pressure on these areas,” Dubisar-Brost says. Conditions like low back pain, heartburn, rib pain and trouble sleeping are often considered to be normal pregnancy woes. However, those are likely signs that the ligaments and muscles are strained.
For that reason, Dubisar-Brost recommends that mothers receive care throughout their pregnancy not simply once they start having symptoms or are told that they have a breech baby. “Stabilizing the pelvis early on provides the best possible results for achieving stability of the muscles, ligaments and joints in the pelvis before the big growth spurts begin,” Dubisar-Brost says. Mothers may experience signs that the baby is restricted before they are actually told a baby is in breech position. Mothers that feel kicking near their bladder or less movement than normal may be experiencing signs that the baby is restricted or in an improper position.
Give your baby a head start!
Babies in a breech position can complicate the birth plan and may need to be removed through cesarean section. In some cases doctors may perform a manual procedure to flip the baby, which can be incredibly painful and does not always work. The Webster technique can be successful in a majority of cases or at least make it easier for a medical doctor to perform a manual turn of the baby.
“The average rate for breech babies correcting their position with adjustments ranges from 75 to 90 percent, depending upon the skill of the practitioner, the week of pregnancy that care is begun and the history of the baby's position throughout the pregnancy,” Dubisar-Brost says.
What to expect?
Treatment plans and protocols will range depending on the chiropractor, the mother’s condition and when treatment begins. However, if a mother waits until she is 36 weeks, when they typically determine a baby will not turn on its own, they will likely need a few adjustments a week. “If there is a breech baby at 36 weeks, the typical plan is adjust three times a week until the baby turns. Sometimes babies turn after just one adjustment, some don’t turn after four weeks, but will turn much easier with a manual version performed by an O.B.,” Dubisar-Brost says.
After determining that the sacrum is misaligned or subluxated, chiropractors perform a gentle and specific adjustment to the area. Adjustments can be done with the mother standing, laying on her side, or laying on her stomach. Pillows and special equipment are used to make the mother comfortable and accomodate her belly.
There is no guarantee that an adjustment will cause the baby to change positions but it may help various other issues and make birth easier, even if the baby doesn’t change positions on its own. The biggest problem is that mothers often discontinue care as soon as the baby turns position but it’s likely that the baby could revert back to the breech position without continued stability of the area. “The body needs time to adapt, heal and become strong. Misalignments cause the muscles and soft tissue to stretch and spasm and strengthen in the wrong position in the attempt to adapt to the misalignments. Adjustments re-align the bones, but it takes time for the surrounding tissue and muscles to become strong and strengthen in their proper position,” Dubisar-Brost says.
What to look for
Not all chiropractors are certified in Webster technique, so be sure to ask before making an appointment. Visit the ICPA website to find a Webster-certified chiropractor in your area and to find more information about Webster technique and chiropractic care in general.
The goal of chiropractic care and the Webster technique is not simply to turn breech babies, that is just one issue it can correct. Dr. Dubisar-Brost says, “It’s about comfortable pregnancies, safer births and easier births.”