Webster Technique

What is it?

The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces nerve system stress, balances pelvic bones, muscles, and ligaments and optimizes the person's pelvic function in pregnancy and birth.

Beyond the obvious changes to your body during pregnancy, there are some not so obvious changes as well.   An aptly named hormone called relaxin is released in abundance to relax, your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Such laxity can lead to bony restrictions, pain, discomfort, and the need for a chiropractor.  Unfortunately, chiropractic care is limited during pregnancy because certain adjustments become unachievable.  Fortunately, special training in the Webster Technique allows for adjusting the hips during pregnancy which was once impossible.  Not only does the technique help with pain and discomfort, but it positively affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves to set you up for the most success during pregnancy and birth.  

How does it work?

Any stress on the uterine nerves, which originate in the sacrum, can cause inadequate uterine function. This is most evident during labor, seen as poor contractions.

 

Some of the uterine ligaments attach to the sacrum (the bone above the "tailbone"). When the sacrum is restricted in mal-position, as any joint can be, it causes uneven pull on the uterus through these ligaments. This can cause the uterus to be distorted and may be restricting the baby's ability to get into the best possible position for birth. This may also be a reason why baby only wants to hang out in one spot and does not move much.

 

When it comes to the hips, any torsion can not only be painful but it changes the pelvic outlet, the area where baby must pass through for a vaginal birth. Even the slightest torsion changes the shape of the outlet, making for a smaller passage.

The technique

Its a six step process that involves a gentle adjustment to the sacrum and mobilization to the pubic bone, soft tissue massage to the piriformis and psoas muscles, and release to the sacrotuberous and round ligaments.

The anatomy

When you walk your illium (hip bones) rock back in forth in opposite directions.  This allows for mobility while ensuring stability.  Often times one illium becomes restricted (stuck) in one position over the other.  This is common in everyone, especially with hips and/or low back pain but much more common in pregnancy because of relaxin.  Such restriction will also cause one pubic bone to be higher than the other 

Your sacrum (the bone above your "tailbone") also rocks to the beat of your illium during movement.  This bone can become restricted on its own, or more commonly in random with the illium.  Ligaments that attach to the uterus also attach to the sacrum.  When the sacrum becomes restricted, it puts uneven tension on these ligaments which induces torque on the uterus.

The piriformis muscles, which are already tight and tender in a lot of people, become even more tight and tender as they fall victim to the sacral restrictions. Responsible tor externally rotating your leg, the piriformii are also the culprit in sciatica for many due to their tightness.

Your psoas (pronounced so-as) muscle is the main driver of hip flexion (bringing your knee to your chest). Because of its location is is very difficult to stretch yourself.  A tight psoas muscle can create spinal torsion as well as hip torsion.

Animations from Serola Biomechanics | https://www.serola.net

What they are saying

Even Williams Obstetrics, the leading obstetrics reference, tells us that difficult labor is caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic imbalances, and baby mal-presentation.

 

Doctors of Chiropractic are seeing that sacral adjustments may improve uterine function, balance the pelvis, and reduce tension to the pelvic bones and ligaments.

 

When balance is restores to the mother's pelvis, her uterus and pelvis function better. This reduces undue stress to the birther's ligaments and muscles making pregnancy and birth more comfortable.

 

Pelvic balance also allows the optimal space for baby to grow throughout pregnancy.

 

Resources

The portrayals and stories of birth are not always pleasant. The birthing process in the U.S. has gotten a little out of touch. The methods have become a little extreme and the rate of unneeded C-sections has grown too large. Proper prenatal care and education can make a world of a difference. I encourage you all to pass this information along to someone you know.

To find a certified Webster Technique practitioner near you please visit:

https://icpa4kids.com/find-a-pediatric-chiropractor/

 

For those in the Oak Park area, the best midwives and doulas can be found at:

http://www.chicagofamilydoulas.com

http://westsubmidwives.com