The Webster Technique has long been associated with chiropractic care during pregnancy. Combining sacral analysis and diversified adjustment, the aim of this technique is to “reduce the effects of sacral subluxation / SI joint dysfunction,” and in doing so, to facilitate “neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis [1]”. A recent case series, published in the journal Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, has covered five cases in which breech presentations resolved under chiropractic care [2]. 

Among the plethora of medical reasons a caesarean section birth might be performed, breech presentations are among the most persuasive. Following a study published in the Lancet in the year 2000, “caesareans became the most popular medical intervention for a breech presentation. In fact, while the rate of caesarean delivery for breech presentations in the United States was 14% in 1970, it is currently 90-95% and in some institutions 100% [2]. 

Each comes with its own set of risks, but the fact remains that when faced with an unresolved breech position, many mothers believe that caesarean delivery is their only option. 

Yet there are some indicators that chiropractic care for the mother may assist in facilitating the baby’s movement into an optimal birth position. This recent case series (which carries the usual warning that we can’t generalize based on these findings) covered five women whose breech presentations resolved while they were under chiropractic care. Interestingly, these case reports are certainly not the first reports in which breech presentations have resolved while the mother was under chiropractic care. 

In the latest cases to hit press, the expectant mothers were aged between 24 and 40 years old, and between 30 and 36 weeks gestation. All were cared for using the Webster technique, but their subluxation listings varied from patient to patient as did their course of care. 

Thermographic findings, spinal range of motion, posture and Webster analysis were all used to ascertain the course of care needed for each patient. The researchers noted that, “they were all adjusted using several different techniques but all using the Webster protocol. All breech presentations turned to the normal vertex presentation after the chiropractic adjustments [2].”

In four of the five cases, the researchers observed that shortly after the Webster test was negative, an ultrasound confirmed the baby had returned to the normal position. In the remaining case, the ultrasound confirmed the baby’s return to the normal position after 5 weeks (10 visits). This patient had presented at 31 weeks, hence the baby was in normal position by 36 weeks gestation.

It should be noted that some of the other cases resolved much more quickly, with one returning to normal within 7 visits over 3 weeks, and another returning to normal after 4 visits in 2 weeks.

While there have been previous case reports showing resolution of breech position following chiropractic care (and in particular care using the Webster technique), it is certainly an encouraging addition to have another five cases in the  evidence bank. 

A proposed mechanism behind the change in position, as discussed it the paper, is a potential link between an increase in the hormone relaxin,a misalignment of the pelvis, and uterine tension due to extra pulling on the ligaments attached to it. While further research is required to confirm and explain the mechanism behind the potential link between the Webster Technique (or chiropractic care in general) and resolutions in breech presentations, this case series is welcome news indeed.

The full report includes full details of subluxation listings, and further explanations into each course of care. Make sure you check it out (at the reference below).  

REFERENCES: 

  1. Staff Writer, “Training: About the Webster Technique,” ICPA 4 Kids, https://icpa4kids.com/training/webster-certification/webster-technique/retrieved 13 May 2019
  2. Muclahy R, Mayo E (2019), “Resolution of Breech Presentations Confirmed by Ultrasound Following Chiropractic Care using Webster Technique in Five Women: A Case Series,” Journal Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, pp. 19-27

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