In recent years, an increasing number of women are seeking chiropractic care during their pregnancy. Women are beginning to understand the benefits that regular chiropractic care can offer them during their pregnancy and into the birthing process. The woman’s body is going through extreme change and the hormonal and structural changes can cause misalignment of the woman’s spine and pelvis. This misalignment commonly presents as low back pain, sciatic pain, upper back pain or a host of other presentations. Not only does this pelvic misalignment commonly cause pain, it can also cause a condition on the baby called intrauterine constraint. Intrauterine constraint occurs when the uterus is not in its optimal symmetric position in the woman’s pelvis.
To better understand how the woman’s pelvic misalignment can affect the baby’s position, we first must look at the anatomy of the woman’s pelvis. There are key ligaments that connect the uterus to the sacrum (the triangular bone of the pelvis). These ligaments actually have muscle fibers in them, so as the woman’s uterus expands, these ligaments are able to stretch to help support the growing uterus. If the mother’s pelvis is misaligned, this will cause unequal strain to be placed on these uterine ligaments. This unequal strain on the uterine ligaments can cause the uterus and the baby to be in a suboptimal position for growth or for the birth process. When the ligaments are not symmetrical, it is very common for the woman to feel a pulling sensation on one side of her belly. If the pelvis is aligned properly, the ligaments and corresponding pelvic muscles hold the uterus in a symmetrical position and allow the baby to develop in an environment that’s optimal for fetal movements and for the best possible position for birth. An effective and safe way that a chiropractor can determine if the pelvis is aligned properly is with the Webster technique.
The Webster technique is a gentle and specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that can facilitate the alignment of the woman’s pelvis. The Webster technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, as a safe and effective way to restore optimal pelvic alignment. This technique was designed for women during pregnancy, but it is a very effective way to determine pelvic misalignment in non-pregnant women. The Webster technique incorporates gentle chiropractic adjustments, stretching of specific pelvic muscles, and gentle massage of specific ligaments. At our clinic, we have a special pillow that the mom can lay on for comfort and support during her visit. We will also show her simple exercises that can be done at home for pain relief and to keep the pelvis in alignment in between visits. “In regards to pregnant mothers, Dr. Webster reported that when a mother sought care and her baby was in a breech position, the restoration of pelvic neuro-biomechanics with this adjustment was frequently facilitated optimal fetal positioning. There are cases published in the chiropractic literature that support this theory. More research is needed and is currently underway by the ICPA”- Jeanne Ohm, DC. During the visit, it is very typical for the woman to feel a sense of relaxation as the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis relax and the pelvis is aligned symmetrically.
It is well documented in obstetric literature that correct positioning of the baby in-utero will decrease undue stress to the baby and the baby’s developing spine and nervous system. It is also well documented, in obstetric literature, that optimal pelvic neuro-biomechanics of the mother’s pelvis is important in preventing dystocia or difficult birth. Both of these factors can be addressed with the Webster technique.
It is advised that expectant mothers regularly see a chiropractor, trained in the Webster technique, throughout her pregnancy to evaluate pelvic alignment because of her changing hormone levels, weight gain and shifts in her center of gravity. It is also important that she visit her chiropractor after the delivery to correct any pelvic misalignments after she gives birth. The sudden change in her weight and center of gravity can cause pelvic misalignments and can contribute to low back pain after delivery. We will also show her simple exercises to perform to begin rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles that were over stretched during her pregnancy.
- Dr. Leslie Jacobi is the Owner and Chiropractic Physician at Active Care Chiropractic & Rehabilitation in Brandon, FL. She is a Webster Technique certified physician and has been certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. She has had post-graduate training in caring for women during their pregnancy, newborn care and pediatric care. For more information you can visit her website at www.activecarechirodoc.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org