Theoretically, if the pelvis is symmetrical and in an optimal position, it will allow better positioning and easier passage of the baby through the pelvic outlet during delivery. This technique has gained a reputation as being effective in 'turning' breech or mispositioned babies. While this is often a positive side effect of an open and symmetrical pelvis obtained by the technique, it is important to note that, as chiropractors, we do not claim to do this; rather, we treat only the mother's pelvis and not the baby itself, with the sole objective being to create a balanced and symmetrical pelvis.
Why would a pelvis be asymmetrical in the first place? The lifestyle of an expectant mother in today's western society is very different from those in other societies or those of the past. We no longer hunt and gather, and very few of us are capable of a deep squat, let alone when pregnant. We have busy lives - we sit at desks and commute to and from work in our cars. However, the pelvic outlet is in a closed position when we sit in chairs and cars, whereas it is fully open in a deep squat position. Couple these lifestyle factors with increased levels of relaxin in the bloodsteam, a hormone present throughout pregnancy which causes ligaments to relax, and it is easy to see how pelvises can become misaligned. Chiropractic check-ups throughout pregnancy can keep the pelvis symmetrical and avoid painful conditions associated with pregnancy, such as sacroilitis, pubic symphysitis, round ligament pain, and sciatica.
There is sometimes hesitation surrounding chiropractic care during pregnancy. The Webster Technique is extremely light force, utilizing the table's special 'drop pieces' to correct the rotated sacrum, so there is no popping of the joints and no torsional or rotational forces on the mother. The technique is followed up with releasing tension from the surrounding muscles and ligaments of the pelvis with gentle pressure. As a result, the technique is quite comfortable for patients.
A woman's body and pelvis are made for giving birth - women have been giving birth without intervention since the beginning of time. Now, many women are fearful of labour and birth. We, as a society, have interfered with the most natural process of life - birth itself. Women must trust and have confidence in their bodies again. Health care professionals, such as chiropractors, especially those with Webster certification, doulas and midwives can be a great resource in helping educate expectant mothers and rebuilding that trust. From there, we will have healthier pregnancies, healthier births, and healthier babies.
by Dr. Erin Kempt-Sutherland, DC