The Webster Technique - A Sought Out Chiropractic Technique for Pregnant Women
Contributed By Dr. Ashley Jefferies
You may have heard about the Webster Technique, a technique that is appropriate for all populations but it is best known for its use in supporting a healthy pregnancy and delivery through optimizing the function of the mother’s pelvis.
This technique is widely covered on natural birthing sites and has become a popular conversation in most mommy groups. You’ve possibly been recommended to see a chiropractor trained in this technique by your OB, midwife or doula. It has been my experience that birth providers appreciate working with clients who actively seek Webster Technique. Not only does it help with the overall comfort of their patient, but makes their job easier to ensure smooth passage for baby.
WHAT IS THE WEBSTER TECHNIQUE?
The Webster Technique was discovered by Dr. Larry Webster, in 1978, who is also the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). This technique is a chiropractic adjustment to eliminate misalignments in the sacroiliac joint and improve the function of the nervous system. Dr. Webster developed it as a specific sacral adjustment for pregnant women to help balance the pelvic muscles and ligaments, and potentially improve birth outcome. The first woman who came into his practice and had this technique applied was pregnant with a breech baby. Shortly after beginning care, the baby turned to a head down position. Dr. Webster continued to offer this adjustment for all pregnant mothers in his practice. For those presenting breech, he claimed a 95% rate of those babies assuming a more optimal position for birth. This led to great interest by chiropractors, birth providers and mothers seeking options for safer, easier vaginal deliveries.
IMPACT OF WEBSTER TECHNIQUE:
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed 15% as the highest acceptable limit for cesarean section rates. The C-section rate has now risen to almost 32% in the US. In some areas, the C-section rate is as high as 90%! With the growing amount of interventions during labor and birth that pregnant women are exposed to, it is becoming harder and harder for women to have safe, vaginal childbirths. Seeking prenatal treatments like chiropractic care using the Webster Technique helps groom the body for a healthy, natural childbirth, and avoid interventions during labor to reach the goal of having a healthy, natural, vaginal birth.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN RECEIVING THE WEBSTER TECHNIQUE:
The Webster Technique is similar to many chiropractic sacral adjustments. First there is an analysis to check the alignment of the sacrum. Then a light force thrust is applied to the sacrum for correction of any misalignment. The adjustment is gentle and effective in establishing proper alignment in the pelvis which is essential for safer, easier vaginal births.
When I use Webster Technique, my goal is to allow motion in the sacroiliac joints that may get stuck and cause pain or other discomforts for many women. When the SI joints get out of alignment, they typically stick in opposite directions which can also affect the birth canal. With all of the ligament attachments from the uterus to the pelvis, this can cause a slight twisting action in the uterus. If you imagine the wringing-out of a rag, this creates less space inside the uterus for your growing baby. This is when the baby tends to move into positions that may not be ideal for birth. Once we remove the restriction out of the pelvis, I then balance the surrounding soft tissues to create ease in the uterus to allow your baby to have as much space as possible.
Because of its potential to facilitate easier, safer deliveries for both mom and baby, many birth care providers and mothers are actively seeking doctors of chiropractic with the skills in this technique. The ICPA recognizes those chiropractors who have achieved and maintained their certification of Webster Technique with the ICPA, and a directory can be found on the ICPA website at www.icpa4kids.org. I have been trained and licensed in Webster Technique by Jeanne Ohm since 2013.