Your body is a self-healing, self regulating, homeostasis maintaining, intelligent, vitalistic being. This is the philosophical tenet of chiropractic. With this in mind, a baby in the breech presentation is a perfect adaptation to something occurring in the body. This is not a pathological condition. It is important to examine WHY a baby is breech. More often than not, the cause is due to a decrease nerve supply and misalignment of the pelvis. This creates tension in the uterus, which prevents the baby from going head down. A baby wants to be, and will always be in the most open and comfortable spot.
Chiropractic is a system of optimizing human performance and potential by restoring or enhancing the body’s function. Chiropractors work with enhancing the body’s innate ability to integrate structural, emotional, and physiological changes so that it can function the way it was designed to. They work with the nervous system, the communication between the brain and the body, primarily focusing on the cranium, spine, and pelvis, because this is where the nervous system is housed. When there are misalignments (subluxations) of these structures, imbalances, miscommunication, and stress occur in surrounding muscles, ligaments and organs. Due to the rapid change in a woman’s anatomy and physiology while pregnant, chiropractic care is vital to mother and baby’s health, enhancing that ability to adapt and function.
Women who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancy have been shown to have the following potential benefits:
In addition, the infant experiences numerous benefits while in-utero such as better:
All of these elements can cause a decrease in dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore a decrease in birth trauma due to unnecessary intervention.
Dystocia is defined as difficult or abnormal progress in labor. One of the primary causes of dystocia is biomechanical and physiological in nature. According to William’s Obstetrics, this includes interference to the nervous system, misalignment of the pelvis, and tension or torsion of the specific pelvic and uterine muscles and ligaments. Specific chiropractic adjustments address each of these causes and can be an integral part of a pregnant woman’s care in optimizing her pregnancy and birth experience.
The Webster’s Technique, developed by Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, is a gentle and specific chiropractic analysis of the pelvis/sacrum with the goal of reducing the effects of bio-neurological dysfunction. In doing so, neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is facilitated, which allows for space for the baby to not only grow, but move into the optimum position for birth.
What happens when aberrant biomechanics exist in the pelvis and sacrum due to interference from the nervous system? Misalignment in the sacrum, the big triangular bone at the base of your spine, caused not only from a growing belly, but also from a lifetime of stress and trauma, decreases the diameter of the pelvis. Additionally, according to William’s Obstetrics, “any contraction of the pelvic diameters that diminishes the capacity of the pelvis can create dystocia (difficulty) during labor.” When a sacrum is displaced, it creates stress and tension in the ligaments surrounding the uterus and the ones connecting the uterus to the sacrum, which then creates a less than optimum environment for the developing fetus. It has been hypothesized that “a rotational subluxation of the sacrum may result in a tightening and torsion of the utero-sacral ligament contributing to aberrant tension in the uterus affecting labor progression, optimal fetal positioning, and natural, non-invasive birth outcome.” (Jeanne Ohm) Many chiropractic research studies have been done that show the progression of and reduction in labor time, optimum fetal position and increase in natural, non-invasive childbirth following chiropractic care.
Many women in their third trimester seek the care of a chiropractor certified in the Webster Technique if their baby is in a breech presentation. Often these women are also experiencing other symptoms including but not limited to sciatica, low back pain, and an overall discomfort. It is important to note that chiropractors that utilize The Webster Technique are not turning babies. That is the job of obstetricians. Instead, chiropractors are restoring biomechanical and neurological function, which allows a pregnant woman’s body to do what it is supposed to do in order for the baby to innately turn vertex (head down).
Your body is not going to produce a baby that is too big for you! A woman’s body is designed to give birth. Pregnancy and birth are a natural process. Chiropractic care supports this process, not only in the third trimester but throughout the entire pregnancy. To find a chiropractor in your area that is proficient in the Webster Technique please visit the directory at www.icpa4kids.org.
You may have noticed that some young babies have heads that aren’t exactly round; you may even have noticed it in your own baby. This common condition called plagiocephaly (plagio=oblique, cephal=head) and it occurs when the cranial system in a baby isn’t working properly. It can appear as a flat spot in some babies, or sometimes as a distortion through a baby’s whole head. A baby’s body is made mostly of membranes and cartilage, and is very pliable. The skull of a baby is basically a membrane, covered with bones that are not yet thick enough to protect the brain the way that an adult skull does. This makes it very easy for a baby’s head to become mis-shapen, especially if there has been trauma, or if there is a torticollis present (twisted neck).
While the cause of plagiocephaly remains largely unknown, there are a few things that may contribute such as birth trauma or not enough tummy time. All parents should be aware that a plagiocephaly isn’t just about having a baby with a funny shaped head. Plagiocephaly has been found to cause developmental delay in children according to several sources. (1, 2, 3)
There are many different kinds of plagiocephaly, and they are classified by the shape of the head with the deformity. Plagiocephaly needs to be assessed by someone who knows exactly what to do. Chiropractors with special pediatric training are a good place to start. Chiropractic has been shown to help babies with plagiocephaly (4), and if there is a problem that needs to be dealt with by a medical doctor (for example, if the sutures actually fuse, rather that get jammed, even though it’s very rare, it is a medical emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately), a chiropractor with postgraduate training in pediatrics will know what to do.
To find a chiropractor who is trained to deal with plagiocephaly please go to http://www.icapediatrics.com/members-referral.phpand type in your location. There are chiropractors trained in pediatrics near you.
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