“The baby is head-down! Thank Dr. Grant for helping us!”
That was the text message we got last week from a patient right after a follow-up ultrasound confirmed her baby was no longer in breech position. She’d been told by her OBGYN that she had three weeks to get her breech-positioned baby to flip on its own, and if not, they’d be attempting external cephalic version (more on that in a minute). Enter the Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique, or more simply, the Webster Technique.
We’ve seen lots of expecting moms at Ascent Chiropractic lately, and we’ve discussed at length on this blog about why the time to get under chiropractic care is yesterday when you’re pregnant. Proper chiropractic care, in and of itself, is incredibly beneficial for both the baby and expecting mom – what we do at Ascent Chiropractic isn’t just about back pain.
Pregnancy is stressful enough!
As a soon-to-be new dad who’s helping navigate through pregnancy right now, I know how stressful even uncomplicated pregnancy can be, and how complications just leave you with even more questions and concerns. When the news is that your baby is not in the optimal position, the questions go something like this: Will my baby turn on its own? Will I need external cephalic version? Can I even have that? Is it safe? Will I require a C-section?
If your particular situation doesn’t automatically require a C-section, your baby being in breech position greatly increases that chance. Even in pregnancies that aren’t high-risk, today breech presentations are almost always delivered by C-section.
What is cephalic version?
When your baby hasn’t rotated into head-down position by 36 weeks, one method of correcting it’s position is a procedure called external cephalic version. During cephalic version your OB will attempt to turn your baby manually while still in the uterus, by pushing through your abdomen. It’s a painful and relatively high-risk procedure that can potentially cause vaginal bleeding, rupture of membranes, fetal distress and even premature labor.
And unfortunately, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, external version only has a 58% success rate.
If you’re already high-risk, external cephalic version is usually not even considered due to the likelihood of serious problems. In that case, the most common approach is to wait and see if the baby spontaneously turns by itself. And if the baby hasn’t turned by the time you begin labor, you’ll be headed for a c-section.
Why breech positioning happens
Babies have innate programming that directs them on what to do during growth and development, and most babies turn by themselves in the weeks before delivery. Their instincts tell them to, in the same way they innately know how to push with their legs during contractions and latch onto breast after delivery. So if your baby is in breech position, it’s not because it doesn’t know how to turn or doesn’t have the right programming.
Instead, something is preventing that natural process from happening. Sometimes it’s due to fibroids or other structural abnormalities within the uterus, but more often than not, there’s no physical abnormality preventing the baby from turning to vertex.
The Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique
If you’re a patient at Ascent Chiropractic you’ve probably listened to me talk about the importance of proper sacral and pelvic positioning and how dysfunction in the pelvis can affect just about everything structurally. Add this to the list!
The uterus is physically attached to the sacrum and pelvis by several sets of important ligaments. During pregnancy, the increased loads on your skeleton and hormones called relaxin and progesterone make it incredibly easy for these bones to shift and misalign. When this happens those connecting ligaments are pulled and put abnormal tension on the uterus, essentially trapping the baby in whatever position it’s in.
Until that pull on the uterus is relieved, the constraint will remain and the baby may not be able to force its way into the vertex position.
The Webster technique gently realigns the sacrum and helps relax the ligaments attaching the uterus to the pelvis. Once that tension on the uterus is removed, your baby is (hopefully) able to follow its instincts and assume its best possible position for birth. The Webster technique involves no forces directly to the baby and is extremely safe.
According to the journal JMPT, when used during the eighth month of pregnancy to resolve breech presentation due to intrauterine constraint caused by musculoskeletal issues, reported success rates are as high as 92%. It’s a logical first choice for mothers and birth practitioners to facilitate normal function.
Don’t wait to start regular chiropractic care!
Of course, waiting to start care at Ascent Chiropractic until you’ve been diagnosed with breech presentation isn’t ideal. Regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy and right up until birth helps create a safer and easier birth for the mother and baby and decreases the likelihood of a difficult labor and additional complications.
Expecting moms who commit to regular chiropractic care can look forward to a stronger body, a smoother delivery, and an easier recovery after the baby comes. Looking for a Brookfield chiropractor for care during pregnancy? At Ascent Chiropractic we specialize in a gentle, hands-on, low-force adjusting technique that gives us the ability to treat everyone from moms-to-be to newborns to seniors. To make an appointment today, call us at 262-345-4166 or use our online scheduling app.