Webster technique and prenatal care
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Seattle to attend the Webster Certification Seminar, put on by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) of which I am a member, to expand my pre and perinatal care knowledge. Working with my Momma’s-To-Be has quickly become one of my favorite parts of practice and the seminar further invigorated me to continue providing the best chiropractic care that I can to these women.
It is no surprise to hear that pregnancy takes a great toll on women’s bodies. But what exactly are the changes that lead to discomfort and even pain? Biomechanically, her center of gravity shifts forward due to her growing belly and breast tissue. This moves the distribution and increases the weight to her pelvic structures leading to less than optimal pressure through those joints, nerves, and musculature. That in turn can lead to damage to those structures. Gait compensations and the increase of ligament-relaxing hormones add to those stresses and can exacerbate the injuries.
Despite the tremendous neuro-musculoskeletal demands of growing a new life, seeing a chiropractor regularly throughout pregnancy can help to make sure her spinal and pelvic structures are balanced and properly functioning, as well as clear of any interference that might interrupt the flow of nervous innervation from the spinal cord. Chiropractic is safe and effective for both the mother and baby and there are no additional contraindications for treating pregnant women than there would be applied to any other patient population. Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments help with pregnancy-related low back pain and can decrease pain during labor. In one study from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the authors compared two groups of pregnant women with low back pain. One group received regular chiropractic care whereas the other did not. The group under the care of chiropractors reported less pain during pregnancy and labor (Diakow, Gadsby, Gleddie, Leprich, Scales; Back pain during pregnancy and labor. JMPT 1991;14(2):116-8).
Although chiropractic students learn how to care for pregnant women in their curriculum, one technique that chiropractic physicians can utilize in their evaluations of pregnant patients is the Webster Technique. The Webster Technique is a biomechanical evaluation of the pelvic joints, muscles, and ligaments in an effort to restore balance and proper nervous innervation in order to provide the optimal environment for the mother and child. Having a detailed understanding of the lumbo-pelvic rhythm and biomechanics of the pelvis, as well as exam skills to locate and adjust joint fixations, chiropractors are in a prime position to offer outstanding care to the pregnant population. And I, for one, am thrilled to be doing so.