Susan was a first-time mom who had reached her 35th week of pregnancy with no complications. She was that annoying pregnant woman who still fit into her size four jeans and did have a “bump”, not a beach ball. Her pregnancy had gone beyond her expectations, and she had loved every minute. However, today she received some disturbing news. Her baby is breech. The doctor couldn’t tell her when or why it had happened, but this little “pea-pod” was now head-up and feet-down. Not the ideal position for labor.
Susan crossed the threshold of my practice, marking her first time in a chiropractic office. She had come at the urging of her doctor who suggested chiropractic might be helpful with the positioning of the baby. During the examination, I could tell she was unsure and fearful.
The Webster Technique Is A Safe And Effective Technique For Addressing A Breech Baby
I have had dozens of “Susans” over the years. When I received my pregnancy and pediatrics certification cases like Susan’s started to appear weekly. Women who have been told they have a baby in the wrong position, snap into action. They look for answers. No one wants a complicated delivery.
Unfortunately, the medical community has limited offerings for a woman with a baby who is in the wrong position. The choices are External Cephalic Version and C-Section. Not great options. C-Section, for obvious reasons (like having your abdominal muscles cut in half,) is an outcome most women want to avoid.
External Cephalic Version, on the other hand, is the kookiest procedure offered to pregnant woman I have come across. The suggestion is this; “Let’s lie you on your back and force your baby into the right position.” I don’t use the word “force” benignly. If you have seen a demonstration of a Version procedure, and I have, it is frightening. But aside from the intensity of it, it simply doesn’t work. Okay, it does work according to THIS, and THIS study but in 20 years of practice, I have had many patients share past pregnancy stories in their initial history and not one that had the Version Procedure had a successful “turning” of their baby. I even interviewed a local doctor who is the “expert” at Version Procedures in my area, and he stated that maybe 20% will turn (a little different than the wildly ranging study stats 30-69%). 20% in the field of practice are not great odds.
Let’s step back a minute. When a woman presents with a baby in the wrong position, we are failing her. We are not asking the right question. We need to take a moment to consider together, “Why is this baby in the wrong position?”
There are two reasons.
- There is a problem with the space availability or orientation of space within the uterus.
- There is something occurring that is causing baby’s innate intelligence to say “this is the best, safest position for me, at this moment.” (think other complicating factors)
Our treatment of breach babies should be about how we respond to these two scenarios.
In the first scenario, we have to look to the apartment the baby is currently residing in for answers.
In most cases of breach or abnormal lie the space that the baby is sitting in is confined because of a restriction of the pelvic joints or the Sacro-iliac joints. (Think how common pregnancy related back, hip or pelvic pain is!) Corresponding to this, the round ligament (thick ligament on the side of the tummy) on the opposite side to that stuck Sacro-iliac joint is often restricted creating a torque or twisting away from the perfect uterine position. Think of this environment as a bad floor plan, or crappy square footage for the baby’s apartment.
So considering that this may be the most common cause of breach or abnormal lie what options does a mother have other than forcing the baby into the proper position?
The best alternative option available is a simple chiropractic technique called the WEBSTER TECHNIQUE. It is a straight-forward adjustment that simply removes the restriction in the SI joint and releases the restricted Round Ligament on the opposite side. Think “expanding square footage” or “better floor plan” of that apartment. The treatment is not painful, is very safe and only takes 1-6 visits.
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The WEBSTER TECHNIQUE does not TURN the baby. The technique opens up space within the uterus and reduces any misalignment of the pelvis so baby can turn him or herself into the appropriate position. If the baby does not turn then, we trust there is a good reason. We respect the intelligence of the baby and the mother’s body.
But the good news is with the simple application of WEBSTER TECHNIQUE most babies will end up in the right position, thereby avoiding any unnecessary interventions.
OTHER OPTIONS FOR MOTHER’S WITH BREECH OR ABNORMAL LIE:
- Acupuncture: I have often combined THE WEBSTER TECHNIQUE with a suitably trained acupuncturist who knows how to perform Moxibustion Treatment for abnormal lie.
- Swimming: Sounds crazy but swimming and playing in water, including slow somersaults have had some positive effect. No studies to my knowledge.
- Inversions at home: There are several ways to get inverted at home. You can kneel on the couch and then place hands on the floor in front of you. You can also fill in the spaces in your stairs and then carefully lie back with your head down the stairs. ALWAYS have a spotter with inversion at home and if you feel lightheaded or breathless stop immediately.
Check out this ARTICLE for additional options when considering treatment for abnormal lie presentation of a baby.
If you know someone with breech, transverse or any abnormal position of the baby I encourage you to suggest a pregnancy certified chiropractor to them. Direct them to this article and the links included.
Want more information? I just recorded a podcast with Dr. Laura Brayton for The “Wellness Minded Mama” on the subject of WEBSTER TECHNIQUE. Click below.
You can find a WEBSTER CERTIFIED chiropractor HERE
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