During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby.

A case study of a pregnant woman, whose fetus presented breech and was successfully turned with chiropractic care, was published in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health on December 4, 2012. The title of the case study was, Resolution of breech presentation after application of Webster Technique in a 35-year-old female: A case study.

The 35-year-old pregnant woman was in the 30th week of her pregnancy. The woman’s doula (a labor coach or midwife) established that the fetus was in breech position. The woman was in good health and had been receiving chiropractic care for headaches and low back pain with good results for the previous two years. This was the woman’s second pregnancy, with her first child delivered vaginally.

Previous studies have determined that breech presentations occur in 3 to 4 percent of all pregnancies, with the often resulting decision to birth by cesarean section rather than vaginally for the safety of mother and baby. Breech presentations often turn after the 35th week of pregnancy, but 87 percent of breech pregnancies are delivered by caesarian section.

Though safety is argued as the case for a caesarian section, the rate of morbidity was 3.6 percent in a study of 2,088 women birthing with caesarian section. Fetal morbidity can also result from caesarian section with reports of fetal heart-rate abnormalities, spinal cord injuries, skull fractures, long bone fractures, genital injury, and respiratory problems.

A chiropractic examination was performed, and postural abnormalities were found, as well as a decrease of lateral flexion of 5 degrees, and lumbar range of motion significantly decreased due to the pregnancy. Motion palpation found several spinal misalignments, and EMG scans and thermography correlated the determination that spinal subluxations were present in the patient.

Chiropractic care began for the woman using Webster’s Technique—a technique that uses sacrum adjustments and trigger point release in the abdomen area to reestablish pelvic function which can allow the fetus to turn to the desired head-down birth position. After four adjustments in four weeks using Webster’s Technique, the fetus turned from the breech position to the normal birth position.

A healthy female baby was delivered vaginally by the mother at a home birth. The use of the Chiropractic Webster’s Technique resolved a breech presentation, and a possible caesarean section into a normal, natural and healthy birthing experience.

"Pregnancy Today" magazine describes themselves as "the journal for parents to be". On June 13, 2004 they ran a story written by Patti Larson a mother and author, about her experiences while being pregnant and the help she received with Chiropractic care. She began the story by explaining the emotions she and her husband experienced when she found out for sure she was pregnant.

As a woman in her mid-30s having her first baby, she described her concerns and questions by asking, "When will morning sickness start? How long will I be able to work? Will I make it through delivery with little pain and swearing?" She also noted that her diet and sleep habits were good, but although she had great intentions, her exercise regime was less than desirable.

She did however, mention the one thing she saw as a big factor in helping her. "What ultimately saved me from suffering undue tiredness, aches and stress from my ballooning body shape and shifting hormones was chiropractic care." She continued, "I already made regular visits to my chiropractor prior to pregnancy, so it seemed natural to continue. My chiropractor recommended I continue with weekly visits, adding that I should come in more often if I felt I needed it."

Dr. Jeff Ptak, her chiropractor in Santa Monica, Calif., explained why chiropractic care made such a positive difference, during her pregnancy. "Chiropractic care addresses the functioning nervous system," he said. "When the nervous system is not unduly stressed from environmental factors physical, emotional or chemical stress the body will work according to its unique genetic plan. A stressful birth will stress all parties involved and remain until the nervous system stress is cleared. Chiropractic, by allowing the body to handle stress, helps expecting mothers, new mothers and their newborn children handle life with greater ease."
Leslie Stewart, a certified nurse-midwife also agrees. "Chiropractic care can actually help with labor. Some women who run past their due date have used treatment to help start labor, rather than having a hospital induce them."

The article author, Patti Larson, noted that she not only continued care through her pregnancy, but also after the birth of her daughter Madeline. She concluded the article by saying, "Madeline received regular adjustments her second week after entering the world. She never had colic, ear infections, colds or any symptoms of sickness throughout her first 12 months of life when children are often most susceptible. Some people cringe when I tell them she sees a chiropractor, yet everyone agrees that she is one of the most alert, active babies they have ever seen. Some say I'm lucky, but I tell them it's really very simple; “ just stay well adjusted!"

A November 7, 2001 report on a study conducted by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association showed that a chiropractic technique known as the "Webster Breech Turning Technique" was statistically very successful in resolving breech pregnancies without medical procedures. A Breech pregnancy is when the baby is not properly positioned in the mother's womb near the date for delivery. If the baby is not positioned head-first, the delivery may be difficult or even dangerous for both the mother and child.

This chiropractic technique was created by the late Dr. Larry Webster, who was affectionately known as "The grandfather of chiropractic pediatrics." The study entailed surveying members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Inc. throughout the United States and Canada. The survey noted that there were a reported 112 cases of breech recorded by the chiropractors. Of these, the results were 102 positive resolutions.  This means that in 102 of 112 cases the baby turned properly after the chiropractic procedure was performed. This represents a success rate of almost 92%!

The conclusions of this study clearly stated, "When successful, the Webster Technique avoids the costs and/or risks of either, ECV, cesarean section or vaginal trial of breech. In view of these findings the Webster Technique deserves serious consideration in the health care management of expectant mothers exhibiting adverse fetal presentation."

By Laylan Connoly / Staff Writer
The Orange County Register

As I tried to lift my 2-year-old son, a sharp pain shot down my back, and I cringed in agony.

The back pain that I’d dealt with for years was creeping back, just as my belly started to grow during my fourth month of pregnancy.

For about a month, I tried to suck it up and deal with it. I treated myself to a pregnancy massage, instructing the therapist to ignore the rest of my aching body and rub out the big knot that had formed on the right side of my lower back.

I tried to relax and stay on the couch and rely more on my husband’s help for the care of our son.

But my job as an on-the-go reporter doesn’t allow for much downtime, so I knew what I had to do: Go see my chiropractor.

Everyone has different views about seeking chiropractic help. Some people say it helps everything from asthma to infertility. Others grimace at the slight mention of a chiropractor.

A few years ago, I’d suffered back pain that eventually got so bad I couldn’t bend down to load the dishwasher. I sought relief from Dr. Larry Omo, a chiropractor who has a practice in Lakewood and lives in Garden Grove. A few visits to his office, and I was good as new.

But being pregnant and getting twisted up like a pretzel made me nervous. I’ve gone to enough prenatal yoga classes to know that big twists are not recommended after the second and third trimester.

I started doing some research. According to the American Pregnancy Association, most chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant, and some have additional training for prenatal and postnatal care.

A growing belly can increase the back’s curve, and the pelvic area changes as the hips expand. Hunching over with more weight on the front side of the body can cause the pelvic bones to misalign and reduce the amount of room for the baby.

Discussing my pain with Omo and reading extensively on the topic calmed my nerves, and I decided to go forward with chiropractic care. Omo’s table had a pop-out section for my belly, so I could lie face down as he worked on the knot that had developed in my back. He also incorporated massage work on tight areas and worked on stretching the muscles out. After three visits, my back pain was cleared up.

Omo says it’s common for pregnant women to come to his office seeking relief. A substance called relaxin kicks in during pregnancy, helping to soften the ligaments so your body can expand for the birth of the baby, he explains. “When a pregnant woman advances into her pregnancy, and the relaxin comes on and you have more weight carrying in the front, the mom has to adjust posture to carry the weight,” he says.

That can cause instability in the ligaments, and the muscles try to overcompensate, he says. The muscles start working double duty – moving and stabilizing because of the extra weight and lack of stability.

There are also sciatic nerve issues that can cause shooting pain down the legs that can be eased with help from a chiropractor, Omo says.

“When you have good alignment and muscle balance going into birth, you will optimize the ability for the baby to come out. It will be less stressful for the mom,” Omo said. “Birthing is a symmetrical process. We try to keep the back relaxed and symmetrical.”

To view the original article, click here.

In the October 8, 2002 issue of the online magazine "The Beacon Journal" at, appears a story with the simple headline, "Adjusting baby". The story talks about pregnant women's success in going to chiropractors as part of their care. The article states that many women who go to chiropractors during pregnancy do so for back pain related issues. The misconception is that we treat pain,'' says Dr. Joseph Medina, an Ohio chiropractor. "My job in health care is to find pressure that's in the spinal column and take it off. When I do that, back pain tends to clear up."

Additionally, the article highlights that more women are going to chiropractors for a procedure known as the Webster technique. This technique is specifically intended to help women who have a breech pregnancy when the baby should be positioned with the head downward. Dr. Jeanne Ohm, a chiropractor from Philadelphia and executive coordinator and instructor for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, described the Webster technique this way: "It's a specific chiropractic adjustment that removes interferences of the nervous system, balances out pelvic muscles and ligaments, which in turn removes constraint to the woman's uterus and allows the baby to get into the best possible position for birth."

The article ended with a response from the patient who originally went to the chiropractor for the pain she was experiencing. Her comments about her results were, "In the morning, my back would hurt so bad it would be hard to walk,'' she stated. Now it's not bad at all. I really think it's helping."

 A qualitative study of pregnant women with low back pain, and their chiropractors was published on Oct. 9, 2012 in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies with the title of "The treatment experience of patients with lowback pain during pregnancy and their chiropractors: A qualitative study".

The pregnant women, all in their second or third trimester and suffering with low back pain, were interviewed by the study’s authors to investigate their feelings about the experience of chiropractic care during their pregnancy. Anonymity and confidentiality of the study’s respondents were protected by assigning a number to each respondent.

Low back pain is a common symptom during pregnancy. Between 50 to 80 percent of pregnant women report low back pain during pregnancy because of hormonal, postural, and structural adjustments to the body. Chiropractic care for low back pain during pregnancy is safe and effective according to previously published studies and reviews.

Positive results with no adverse effects were experienced by all the pregnant women in the study. A reduction in low back pain, increase in range of motion, and better function were some of the reported experiences.
“It really allowed me to function. I could barely walk before or stand, the pain was intense, but after I went to the chiropractor I found I could function day to day, I could walk from the bus stop to work, I could do these things, so that was pretty significant. It’s just helping me function. It’s just teaching me how to pick up my daughter so I don’t hurt myself. To still function, to still play with my daughter and be able to go to the grocery store and do all these things without really hurting myself. As well as it allows me to sleep at night,” said patient number 05.

In addition to the reduction or elimination of lower back pain, some of the pregnant women reported that chiropractic care increased their overall quality of life, and increased mobility.

“I can walk longer periods of time. So that’s excellent. I can go standing for four to five hours. Because prior to that I’d be standing 40 minutes to do the dishes and I’d be in agony. Even the basic things, like picking things up off the floor, you’d get stuck in that position, I haven’t experienced that yet [in this pregnancy]. Or just sitting for long periods of time, because I do work an office job from home, so I do sit long periods of time. I know for most people [they] have to get up and stretch for a couple minutes, even in doing that I’ve been doing okay,” said patient number 01.

Some respondents had sought chiropractic care for previous pregnancies due to low back pain, and continued with chiropractic care for later pregnancies because of positive results.
Pregnant patient number 11 said, “It worked so well the first time, I’d even come away from the appointment feeling better. It was almost an immediate fix. So because of my positive experience the first time, there was no question that I was going to use chiropractic care for the second pregnancy.”

The study results conclude that chiropractic care for pregnant women suffering from low back pain is effective for pain relief, increased range of motion, increased mobility, and overall better quality of life. “I think after the treatment, it was decreased pain and increased sense of mobility, increased range of motion and decreased sense of frustration and grumpiness,” said patient number 06.

A study published in the July/August 2002 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) shows that a chiropractic technique known as the "Webster Technique" for managing the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint, is effective in cases of pregnancy with women experiencing breech presentation which can lead to a cesarean section birth.

According to the published study, "Intrauterine constraint is defined as any force external to the developing fetus that obstructs the normal movement of the fetus." Intrauterine constraint can prevent the developing fetus from moving into the normal head-down position needed for a normal vaginal birth. When this happens this is called a "breech presentation". This situation plays a critical role in how the mother delivers her baby. According to the statistics published in the article, in the United States 86% of all infants with breech presentation are delivered by cesarean section.

According to the JMPT article, the Webster Technique is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint. This technique is also known by names such as as Webster's In-Utero Constraint Technique or Webster's Breech Turning Technique. The Webster Technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster in 1978. Dr. Webster was often referred to in the Chiropractic profession as "The Grandfather of Chiropractic Pediatrics." Additionally, the technique is presently taught in many chiropractic colleges and postgraduate chiropractic education seminars.

The study was done by surveying a large number of doctors of chiropractic who use the technique to see the percentage of results they obtain on real patients. The survey required detailed information to verify the accuracy of the responses. The results showed that 82% of the doctors surveyed reported a high rate of success when using the Webster Technique. The results from the study suggested that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique in the 8th month of pregnancy, if it has been determined that the child is in the breech position. This timing is important because from the 8th month on, a breech presentation is unlikely to spontaneously convert to the normal head down position.

The study concludes by saying, "when successful, the Webster Technique avoids the costs and risks of cesarean section or vaginal trial of breech. In view of these findings, the Webster Technique deserves serious consideration in the management of expectant mothers exhibiting adverse fetal presentation."