Chiropractic care helps women throughout their pregnancy especially in the third trimester by preparing their bodies for a smooth and natural delivery.
How does receiving chiropractic care during the third trimester help women feel more comfortable?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That’s a good question. Chiropractic care is not limited to the third trimester of pregnancy. We typically care for moms throughout their pregnancy, usually starting earlier, around weeks 15 – 20, sometimes in that range, but moms come to us at different times. During the third trimester it’s the same. It alleviates a lot of the stress and tension in the lower back and the pelvic girdle. And chiropractic also can help with headaches, which are fairly common in expecting moms. Shoulder pain and the shoulder hand syndrome of pregnancy because as the body changes, the head has a tendency to go forward, whereas the center of gravity moves forward and that can create problems, tension in the neck and pain or discomfort and even numbness going down the arm and hand.
Later in the third trimester, as the round ligament gets stretched, it can get very tight. And the Webster technique is great at relaxing the round ligament and helps with a lot of round ligament pain in moms. Also, there are a couple of other ligaments, the uterosacral ligament and the broad ligament that also come into play. And we have techniques to work on relaxing those ligaments, which are the ones that suspend the baby in the uterus like this hot air balloon. And it’s really important that they stay relaxed, because that prevents uterine constraint and makes the mom just more comfortable.
I know we’ve discussed this on previous podcasts, but for our new listeners, could you explain what the Webster technique is and what it is designed to do?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Excellent. It’s a great question, because a lot of people back in the day referred to Webster as a breached turning technique and it’s really a technique of specific chiropractic analysis and a diversified adjustment. And the goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of these subluxations or misalignment in the pelvic girdle and the sacroiliac joint, particularly SI dysfunction, very common in the expecting mom. And when we do that, the neuro biomechanical function of the sacral and pelvic region is improved.
These sacral subluxations or misalignments down in the lower back can actually contribute to difficult labor for the mom, which is called dystocia. And that can be caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, baby malpresentation. The correction V subluxation also has a positive effect on all the causes of dystocia. And in that Webster framework, it’s proposed that the sacral misalignment can contribute to three causes of dystocia via the nerve influence, the pelvic misalignment, and the tightening and the tension of a lot of the specific pelvic muscles and ligaments.
By using the Webster technique, we make the mom more comfortable and then the result is tense muscles are usually relaxed and the ligaments are more relaxed, which then prevents a lot of the negative effect on the uterus and can even encourage better baby positioning because the baby will always assume the most comfortable position in utero. If those things are tight or imbalanced or there’s any type of contraction in there, then the baby might not turn. So, all the research shows if we apply the Webster technique correctly, it should lead to shorter delivery times, less pain, and most importantly less need for intervention.
How does chiropractic care help reduce the risk of complications during delivery?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: It really creates the optimal positioning for the baby by eliminating nerve interference and relaxing the ligaments and tendons in the muscles in the pelvic girdle and in the utero area. Particularly as the mom goes through the pregnancy, the center of gravity moves forward, those ligaments are going to tighten up. The more relaxed and the better positioning for the baby, usually the easier the birth is.
It’s so important that we make sure that the pelvic girdle is really relaxed and that we do proper Webster care leading up to pregnancy and it results in amazing things. The things that we see are usually shorter delivery times, less need for intervention, less pain during the pregnancy. A more relaxed mom is usually set up for an easier birth. So it helps in a lot of the complications, but most particular, really creating optimal position for the baby and eliminating a lot of tension through the mom’s pelvic girdle.
For someone past their due date, is there anything a chiropractor can do to induce labor?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: No, absolutely not. The Webster technique will not speed up or delay labor. It’ll only make birthing more comfortable when it happens. We don’t really have all that much control over this situation. That’s between mother nature and the development of the baby. When the baby’s ready to start to breathe oxygen, he or she will signal the mom and then that little chemical signal to the mom is what initiates the cascade of events that delivers the baby. So, it really has no effect onto when they go into labor, that is absolutely between the mom and the baby and the good Lord.
For a woman in her third trimester, how often are the chiropractic appointments and what is a typical chiropractic treatment session like?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: How often they start is usually twice a week for about four to five weeks. That’s usually enough to get the initial correction going. And then typically after that, it’s about once a week until you deliver. And again, the important thing is that if you continue, all the research shows that moms who have had proper Webster care up and through delivery time, about 85% to 92% of the time the baby will be head down. It leads, again, to the shorter delivery times and less need for interventions, which is what they’re all pulling for. So, we start off like that twice a week for five weeks, and then about once a week until you deliver.
A typical Webster session starts off with some drop work on the sacrum because as the mom progresses through the pregnancy, there’s this hormone relaxin, which actually loosens up the pelvic girdle and the ligaments. So, when that starts to happen, the traditional chiropractic techniques aren’t as effective as the Webster technique, it’s a little bit gentler. So, we use these drop adjustments on the sacrum, and then we smooth out some of the piriformis muscle, we stretch the hip flexor, and then we also contact the round ligament and make a small drop vibratory adjustment to the actual pubic synthesis. So, it’s basically six maneuvers that are repeated pretty consistently throughout the technique, and they’re all designed to help maintain the best alignment, the best pelvic balance, and the least amount of tension in the round ligament, uterosacral ligament, and broad ligaments.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call (212) 977-7094 to schedule an appointment.