The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on October 18, 2018, documenting the resolution of a breech pregnancy after chiropractic care. In a normal pregnancy, the baby’s head will be pointed downward prior to delivery. This is known as a cephalic or vertex position. A breech pregnancy is when the head is not pointed downward and either the buttocks or feet are downward instead.
The study begins by noting that, in the United States, there are approximately six million pregnancies yearly, of which about 875,000 will experience one or more complications. Breech pregnancy is one of the more common complications of pregnancy occurring in approximately 3-4% of pregnancies at full term.
Common medical practice for breech presentation is to schedule a cesarean delivery instead of allowing the baby to be born breech. The study notes that breech presentations will rarely spontaneously reposition to cephalic presentation beyond 34 weeks of pregnancy. Because of this, 80-100% of breech presentations are delivered by caesarean section. On occasion, a medical procedure known as an external cephalic version (ECV) is used to attempt to physically turn the baby by pushing from the exterior.
In this case, a 33-year-old woman who was 29 weeks pregnant with a breech pregnancy presented herself to the chiropractor for an evaluation and possible care. The breech presentation was confirmed by an ultra sound performed by her obstetrician. This was the woman’s first pregnancy.
A chiropractic examination was performed which consisted of static and motion palpation, postural analysis, a surface EMG study, thermographic heat readings along the woman’s spine and a Webster protocol analysis. The conclusion of the examination was that subluxations were present, and the Webster technique was indicated.
The Webster technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster, a chiropractor whose practice specialized in pregnancy and pediatric cases. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association defines the Webster technique as “…a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of subluxation and/or sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction. In so doing neurobiomechanical function in the sacral/pelvic region is improved.” Specific chiropractic adjustments and the Webster technique were utilized in this woman’s case.
The study reports that, at the time of the woman’s ninth chiropractic visit, the fetus had turned to the normal cephalic vertex position as confirmed by a second ultrasound done by her obstetrician. The study further noted that the woman was able to have a normal vaginal delivery under the guidance and supervision of her midwife. There were no reported complications with the birthing process.
In the conclusion of this study the authors summed up this case by saying, “The patient presented with frank breech presentation. Utilizing Webster Technique during her pregnancy helped to reestablish normal sacral biomechanics of the female through sacral adjustments and trigger point therapy. After nine chiropractic adjustments, the fetus was confirmed to be in vertex position and the patient went on to have a natural vaginal birth with no complications. This single case study of one woman’s experience with Webster Technique will contribute to the current research available on Webster Technique.”