The Webster Technique
How does the Webster Technique successfully correct a breech position?
The Webster Technique, which involves sacral evaluation and varied adjustments, is a popular chiropractic procedure for women with pregnancy complaints. While recommended to treat any pregnancy-related issue, the Webster Technique was first used to treat breech pregnancies. With an 82% success rate turning breech babies into a vertex position, this technique is an effective and safe prenatal treatment.
Breech pregnancies risk major complications for both mother and child. Risk of cord prolapse, when the umbilical cord is trapped against the baby’s body during delivery, doubles if the fetus is breech. Head entrapment is another serious risk, as a baby facing any direction other than headfirst won’t have time to mold its head to the mother’s pelvis. Breech pregnancies are also one of the most common causes for cesarean sections, which put women at risk for infections, hemorrhage, and surgical injury.
The Webster Technique and Breech Pregnancies
The Webster Technique starts with a sacral analysis of how the sacrum aligns with the pelvis. The chiropractor will check for sacral subluxation (partial dislocation of the sacrum) or SI joint dysfunction by having the patient lay prone on a table that has been modified for pregnancy. The patient’s legs will be gently pushed in the direction of the sacrum, and the chiropractor will assess for mobility restriction. Should one leg’s movement be limited, a misalignment is present and an adjustment is made to balance it. After the adjustment, the chiropractor will repeat these steps to determine if a correction was made.
Pelvic and sacral misalignment puts stress on the ligaments (mainly the round ligaments) that support the uterus, which can lead to intrauterine constraint. Intrauterine constraint restricts the space in which a fetus can move freely, thus hindering normal fetal movement. In the next step of the Webster Technique, the round ligaments will be addressed. For this stage, the patient will flip into a supine position and the chiropractor will palpate the ligaments near the ASIS; a bony protuberance on the front of the pelvis. If tightness is present, the round ligament will be gently pressed until the tension releases.
By reducing stress on the uterus, the baby will be given more room to move itself into the correct position. Note that chiropractors don’t actually move the fetus, but they do create space for the fetus to naturally rotate on its own and into the best position for birth. Some breech pregnancies are resolved on their own, with the fetus turning itself in the vertex position without intervention. But if the uterus is constricted, the Webster Technique is a painless and non-invasive means of providing an ideal amount of space.
Even if a woman isn’t experiencing a breech pregnancy, the Webster Technique can be applied to restore pelvic biomechanics and promote optimal function for a healthy labor. Regular chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy can ease pregnancy-related discomfort and create a safer environment for the developing fetus. When pelvic and sacral subluxations are not present, the nervous system will function more adequately and the birth canal’s diameter can expand, making for an easier birth.
Author, Licensed Massage Therapist
Katrina Jenkins graduated from Towson University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science and worked as a nurse’s aide briefly before pursuing her true passion. She graduated from the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado in April 2016 with honors and completed the Touch of Healers Scholarship Program the following summer. She has been a part of the Moyer Total Wellness Team since the summer of 2017.
Photo Credit: Canva by beaveraphotos
“The Webster Technique: A Chiropractic Technique To Turn Breech Babies.” Donohoe Chiropractic, 4 Nov. 2017, www.donohoechiropractic.com/the-webster-technique-a-chiropractic-technique-to-turn-breech-babies/.
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The Mayo Clinic Staff. “C-Section.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 June 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/c-section/about/pac-20393655.
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