Chiropractors have great success performing the Webster Technique on pregnant women. Women experience more comfortable pregnancies and less complicated deliveries as a result of having relaxed ligaments around the uterus and less nerve pressure on the pelvic girdle and lumbar spine.
What is the Webster Technique?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, that’s a great question. So, the Webster Technique is named after Larry Webster, who named it after himself. It is defined as a specific form of chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system. It also facilitates balance in the pelvic structures, muscles, and ligaments. This has really been shown to reduce the effects of intrauterine constraint, which can lead to slow-labored birth or dystocia. It really allows for the best possible positioning with the most room for birth. It’s not really an obstetric breach turning technique, which is what a lot of people call it, but it has really nothing to do with turning the baby; it is just about creating the optimal space inside the mom.
Dr. Larry Webster, after witnessing his own daughter’s birth, strove to develop a system of adjustments for laboring women to help ease the discomfort associated with birth. He felt that there had to be a more specific way of addressing subluxations throughout pregnancy that would contribute to a safer, easier birth for the mom. So, after observing this, he really went to work and started working with a lot of expecting moms and found that he was getting great results by relaxing some of the ligaments, balancing out the hip and pelvis, adjusting the pubic synthesis. These women were just having a much easier time with birth, less pain, less need for interventions. And it was really, literally the birthing of the Webster Technique, which we apply almost unanimously in every expecting mom who comes in through the office.
How often do pregnant women need to visit the chiropractor to receive the Webster Technique during their pregnancy?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: There are a lot of factors that go into that. Obviously, the health of the individual, how well they’ve cared for their spine are important factors, but also depending on time, on how far along they are with their pregnancy. So, it varies a little bit, but the protocol typically starts with about two sessions a week for about four to five weeks. Then you start reducing the frequency to once a week until they deliver. It can be accelerated for some mothers who start very late, but typically, somewhere around week 12 to 16 is the most common start time that we work with. But generally speaking, it’s about twice a week for four to five weeks and then it can reduce. But if there are cases where we see more complex subluxation patterns or misalignment patterns or things are tighter or not moving the way we want to, sometimes we do accelerate that schedule.
In what ways does the Webster Technique help a woman experience a more comfortable pregnancy?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That’s a good question. It’s pretty technical, but what we talked about when you asked the first question is that it’s really a system of analysis and adjustment that really balances the pelvic structure and relaxes some of the ligaments. Particularly there’s the ureteral sacral ligament and the round ligaments, which tend to be very contractile. So, when the baby is ready to come and join us in the world, those ligaments are very contractile. They start to tighten up and contract, and that actually expels the baby out through the birth canal, along with some of the primitive reflexes. So, if we can relax those ligaments while they’re pregnant, they don’t get that tight pulling sensation, which allows really the uterus to keep its shape and be as large as possible. And so, when we don’t have that tightness and pulling, we don’t have pain or discomfort associated with the tightness of the ligaments.
Also, when those ligaments are tight and pulling, it can actually distort the shape of the pelvic girdle by pulling on some of the bones and create misalignments there, which we in chiropractic call subluxations. So, the technique is also excellent for realigning the pelvic bones, the pubic synthesis, and the lumbar spine. And that can also eliminate pain in the lumbar spine and pelvis. It’s also extremely safe for both the baby and the mother.
So, by keeping things lined up and keeping pressure off the nerves and relaxing those ligaments, obviously there’s going to be a lot less tension throughout the pelvic girdle. They’re going to feel better, have less pain, and that usually accelerates things and helps moms have more clear and early delivery times and less need for interventions.
How effective is the Webster Technique in correcting a baby’s breach position?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: You know I don’t really like this question because I don’t like to call the Webster Technique anything that affects the baby. It’s really, we’re working with the mom, because if you say you’re affecting the baby’s position, you’re kind of practicing obstetrics without a license. So really the Webster Technique, again, is a way to support the mom and kind of make sure that there is internal alignment and there is as much relaxation through the uterus and the pelvic girdle as possible, allowing the baby the most room for the baby to flip and turn and do what it wants, but it’s not really turning the baby.
Most doctors, including Larry Webster, report anywhere from an 80 to 85% success rate. But there are other factors that contribute to this as well, like if when the technique was started, if the mom is multiparous, meaning had children before. So, there’s a lot of different factors in the mom that come in that can affect your outcomes as well.
But generally, somewhere in the 80, 85% rate. And I do want to make one other note, it is that a lot of the moms that are coming to our office are concerned and are told by their OB GYNs that, “Oh, the baby’s not in the right position and if he’s not in the right position, we have to do this, this, and this”. A lot of moms are coming here that have already some more complicated factors in their birth. So, we kind of tend to see people who are struggling. So, to have an 80, 85% success rate working with that population is something that we’re really proud of, and getting great results.
If a woman received the Webster Technique throughout her pregnancy, how will this help her and the baby have a smoother birth and delivery?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: So again, we kind of talked about that. The technique when applied correctly, is going to relax the anterior and posterior ligaments. It corrects all the subluxations or misalignments that can cause pain during pregnancy without the use of drugs. So, if we apply all these things, technically she should have less pain, and a more comfortable, faster, and more efficient delivery. And also, it usually results in less need for interventions.
If everything is going smoothly, then we don’t have to get involved with doing the Pitocin, the epidurals, and then the dreaded C-section. So, a lot of moms who are looking to have a more natural birth are usually the ones who are calling in and coming to the office. We kind of call them the crunchy moms, so to speak. I know a lot of these moms are even trying to align themselves to maybe even have home births.
It’s so important that we relax all the structures, make sure everything is in good alignment, and the better the alignment, the better the neurology or the connection to the nerves. Because obviously when we get distortion in the pelvis and misalignment through the lumbar spine, it starts to irritate the lumbar nerves. That can affect the communication coming from the brain, which orchestrates this amazing delivery of the baby. So, the clearer that communication is, the less tension through the pelvic girdle and the better the alignment is typically going to result in those three things, shorter delivery times, less pain, and most importantly, less need for interventions.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call (212) 977-7094 to schedule an appointment.