Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy for Safer, Easier Births

Chiropractic care is essential for the pregnant mother. Her systems and organs are now providing for two and their optimal function is critical for the baby's healthy development. The mother's spine and pelvis undergo many changes and adaptations to compensate for the growing baby and the risk of interference to her nervous system is increased. Specific chiropractic care throughout pregnancy works to enhance nervous system function in order to provide a greater health potential for both the mother and baby.

Another important reason for care throughout pregnancy is to help establish balance in the mother's pelvis. If the mother has experienced any stress of trauma to her spine or pelvis at some point in her lifetime, her pelvic opening may be compromised, resulting in a less than optimum passage for the baby. Williams Obstetrics Text tells us that, "Any contraction of the pelvic diameters that diminish the capacity of the pelvis can create dystocia during labor", which may slow down or stop labor. They further state that the diameter of the woman's pelvis is decreased when the sacrum is displaced. Dr. Abraham Towbin, medical researcher on birth tells us that the bony pelvis may become "deformed" this way by trauma. Chiropractors define this deformation as spinal misalignment or subluxation primarily caused by the stress of trauma.

Additionally, these compensations to her spine and pelvis during pregnancy are likely to cause an imbalance to her pelvic muscles and ligaments. The woman's pelvis supports her growing uterus with specific ligaments. When the pelvic bones are balanced, the uterus is able to enlarge symmetrically with the growing baby. If the bones of the pelvis are out of alignment or subluxated, this will directly affect the way the uterus will be supported. Unequal ligament support of the uterus will torque the uterus reducing the maximum amount of room for the developing baby. The term used to describe this is intrauterine constraint.

In some cases, this constraint restricts the baby's movement during pregnancy thus preventing him/her from getting into the best possible position for birth. Any birth position other than the ideal vertex, occiput anterior position of the baby (head down) indicates the inhibiting effects of constraint. Such positions lead to longer more painful labors with increased medical interventions. Often c-sections are resorted to and both the mother and baby miss the many benefits of a natural vaginal birth.

THE WEBSTER TECHNIQUE, developed in 1978 by Dr. Larry Webster, is a specific chiropractic adjustment for the pregnant mother. It has been featured on The Learning Channel's hit series "A Baby Story" and published in Mothering and Midwifery Today. This technique is classically used during the seventh through ninth months of pregnancy on mothers whose babies are presenting breech or transverse. Working to correct sacral subluxations, this technique balances pelvic muscles and ligaments in the women's pelvis, removes constraint and allows the baby to get into the best possible position for birth. Doctors of Chiropractic reported a greater than 85% success rate in its ability to balance pelvic structures and remove constraint to the uterus, allowing the baby to turn into the vertex position. For more than 20 years, this chiropractic technique has facilitated easier, safer deliveries for both the mother and baby, and many pregnant women and birth care providers are now actively seeking Doctors of Chiropractic who are trained in this technique. Together we are providing a significant contribution to the important goal of safer, easier deliveries for both the mother and baby.