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The Webster Technique in Rocky River and Lakewood

Gentle chiropractic care during your pregnancy at River Chiropractic & Wellness CenterYou may have seen the Webster Technique—the chiropractic technique that helps pregnant mothers with breech babies—featured on The Learning Channel’s hit series “A Baby Story.” Perhaps you read about it in Mothering Magazine and Midwifery Today. You might have seen it on the Internet. You may have heard it talked about by birthing professionals.

But what is it?

The Webster Technique, formerly known as the “In-Utero Constraint Technique” or “Webster’s Breech Turning Technique,” was developed by Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), in 1978. It is a specific chiropractic adjustment for pregnant mothers. It is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the causes of intrauterine constraint.

For over 20 years, it has been highly successful in relieving intrauterine constraint and allowing babies to get into the best possible position for birth.

What Is Intrauterine Constraint?

Intrauterine constraint is defined as any forces external to the developing fetus that obstruct the normal movement of the fetus. It can prevent the developing fetus from attaining a head-down vertex position and achieving a vaginal birth, resulting in cesarean section delivery. Today, nearly 13% of all cesarean deliveries performed are due to breech presentation.

In 1985, the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed 15% as the highest acceptable limit for cesarean section rates. This figure was based on the cesarean section rates of countries with the lowest perinatal mortality rates in the world. In 1991, the figure was adopted as a goal for the year 2000 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Currently, approximately 4.6% of all singleton pregnancies develop into breech presentation, and the incidence of perinatal mortality with breech presentation is approximately four times that of a vertex presentation. While many infants in breech presentation before 34 weeks will convert spontaneously to a cephalic presentation, few will do so afterward.

Achieving Proper Birthing Position

Decreasing the number of cesareans for breech presentation has been offered as a strategy to reach the Healthy People 2000 goal of 15% cesarean section rate. The importance of preventing intrauterine constraint and subsequent cesarean section delivery is apparent, considering in the United States approximately 22% of all births were cesarean section deliveries. In Canada, the incidence of cesarean section ranges from 15%-22%, depending on the province. The Webster Technique is a chiropractic means of decreasing the number of cesareans for breech presentation.

The performance of the Webster Technique involves analysis of the relationship between the bones of the pelvis and correction of aberrant biomechanics through the use of a light force chiropractic adjustment of the sacrum (Step 1). It also involves the analysis and relief of specific abdominal muscle tension or spasm (Step 2). Both steps are intended to relieve the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint that may lead to cesarean section delivery.

Increasing Awareness

It is important to stress at this time that the Webster Technique is not to be misconstrued as the practice of obstetrics. The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic technique intended to relieve a specific musculoskeletal condition and is well within the chiropractor’s scope of practice. At no time does the chiropractor attempt to change the position of the fetus as is done in external cephalic version (ECV). Untrained individuals should not attempt the Webster Technique.

In addition, the Webster Technique should not be confused with other unproven or unsafe “chiropractic breech turning” techniques.

The ICPA maintains the only database of chiropractors certified in the proper performance of the Webster Technique. This organization currently offers the only courses to certify chiropractors in the proper performance of the technique.

Growing awareness of the Webster Technique is demonstrating the increased demand for doctors of chiropractic trained to perform it. Because of its ability to facilitate easier, safer deliveries for both mother and baby, many birth care providers are actively seeking doctors of chiropractic with the skills in this technique. Daily, the ICPA receives many requests for referrals.

If the Webster Technique sounds interesting to you, contact us to get started today!