You may be hearing the name “Webster” thrown around quite a bit in your circles of pregnant friends, on parenting websites around the country or even right here on the OANP page. Who is this mystery man and what is he doing to make pregnant women everywhere sing his praises? If you’re someone who isn’t too comfortable with strangers, then you’re about to read some good news. “Webster” isn’t a man at all. The term Webster is actually referring to a specific chiropractic technique that can be used at any time throughout the course of someone’s life, but its history lies in the amazing results it produced in women throughout their pregnancies.
The Webster Technique was developed over 30 years ago by a chiropractor named Dr. Larry Webster. Webster noticed that by addressing the sacrum (that triangle-shaped bone at the base of your spine) for subluxation or misalignment and by addressing some of the corresponding soft tissues in the area, pregnant women were experiencing correction of their breech presentations. Early on in its practice, it became known as “The Breech Turning Technique” or the “In Utero Constraint Technique,” and it has helped thousands of moms-to-be. By the year 2000, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which was founded by Dr. Webster, was paving the way for the public to understand the science and art behind “The Webster Technique.”
Under its current definition, The Webster Technique is a specific analysis and adjustment for all weight-bearing individuals, and is utilized to enhance the neuro-biomechanics of that individual. So that clears it all up, right?! The fact is that Webster can be and is used on anyone in our office, but let me dig a little deeper as to why it is vital to a healthy pregnancy.
Webster has likely become so effective in fetal positioning (a study published in JMPT in 2002 touted an 82% success rate) because of the attention it gives to the very structures that can cause intrauterine constraint. Simply put, intrauterine constraint means that the baby doesn’t have enough room to get into the proper head-down position because something is in their way.
So, how does Webster work its chiropractic miracles that grace the pages of message boards everywhere?
It mainly focuses on the proper alignment of the sacrum, which is the central bone of the pelvis. When a pregnant mothers pelvis isn’t in normal alignment, it not only changes the shape of the pelvic inlet for baby to pass through, but it also leads to the tightening & torsion of some important ligaments. The uterosacral ligaments that attach directly to the sacrum which are responsible for holding the uterus in its proper position. You can imagine how their job can become a lot more difficult if the bony foundation they are attached to is out of alignment!
Assisting the uterosacral ligaments in their weighty role are the round ligaments. These sets of ligaments are the only ligaments in the body that actually contain some muscle fibers, meaning they can develop similar adhesions and scar tissue. Both pairs work together in a delicate balance to support the growing uterus during pregnancy. The tightening of one uterosacral ligament due to a sacral subluxation can cause pulling on the opposite round ligament, and vice versa. Webster practitioners use a gentle, sustained pressure on the round ligaments to keep them relaxed and loose. Moms are encouraged to rub and massage both round ligaments frequently throughout pregnancy, but only a trained chiropractor can address the underlying cause of sacral subluxation.
When these structures are all growing and stretching properly, Baby has enough room to grow and develop properly, allowing for a safer and easier birth. And, in the end, isn’t that simply what every Mom wants?