by ICPA Staff Writer
You have seen the Webster’s Technique — that chiropractic technique to help pregnant mothers with breech babies — featured on The Learning Channel’s hit series “A Baby Story.” You have read about it in Mothering magazine and Midwifery Today. You have seen it on the Internet. You have heard it talked about by birthing professionals. Perhaps potential patients have asked you about it. But what is it?
The Webster Technique, discovered by Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), is a specific chiropractic adjustment for pregnant mothers. It is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the causes of intrauterine constraint.
Formerly known as Webster’s “In-Utero Constraint Technique” or “Webster’s Breech Turning Technique,” the Webster Technique was developed by Dr. Webster in 1978. 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 obstructs the normal movement of the fetus. Intrauterine constraint can prevent the developing fetus from attaining a head down vertex position and achieving a vaginal birth, resulting in caesarean section delivery. Today, nearly 13% of all caesarean deliveries performed are due to breech presentation.
In 1985, the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed 15% as the highest acceptable limit for caesarean section rates. This figure was based on the caesarean 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.
Decreasing the number of caesareans for breech presentation has been offered as a strategy to reach the Healthy People 2000 goal of 15% caesarean section rate. The importance of preventing intrauterine constraint and subsequent caesarean section delivery is apparent, considering in the United States approximately 22% of all births were caesarean section deliveries. In Canada the incidence of caesarean section ranges from 15%-22%, depending on the province. The Webster Technique is a chiropractic means of decreasing the number of caesareans for breech presentation.
Performance of the Webster Technique involves analysis of the relationship of the bones of the pelvis, and correction of aberrant bio-mechanics through the use of a light force chiropractic adjustment of the sacrum (Step 1). It also involves 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 caesarean section delivery.
This is not a breach turning technique although by removing intrauterine constraint which may allow the baby to turn as well as help with the low back and leg pain often experienced during pregnancy. The pain of pregnancy is well controlled by a family chiropractor without the use of medications.
Paul R. Mahler Jr. DC
Mahler Family Chiropractic Center
1144 wyoming Ave.
Kingston, PA. 18704
We can treat back pain related to pregnancy including sciatica, disc, herniation, slipped disc, stenosis, and much more.