Prenatal Care & Webster Technique
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is so important! Not only does it keep your nervous system functioning optimally so you can provide the best environment to grow that little peanut in, it can address pelvic biomechanical issues that can effect labor and delivery, it can also help relieve some common pregnancy-related conditions:
- Sciatica and low back pain
- Bursitis of the hip
- Round ligament pain and pubic pain
- Headaches and neck pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Nausea and heart burn
Dr. Chisholm is an ICPA Certified Webster Technique provider. Webster Technique is used to identify and treat biomechanical restrictions of the sacrum in expectant mothers to optimize their pelvic neurobiomechanics.
The benefits of Webster Technique
In the mother:
- Prepares the pelvis for birth by creating a state of balance in pelvic bony structures, muscles and ligaments.
- Removes tightness of the ligaments that support the uterus.
- May reduce interference to the mother’s nervous system which controls and co-ordinates all of her systems and functions.
- Reduces the potential requirement for invasive interventions.
In the infant:
- Reducing stress to the mother reduces stress to the growing baby.
- Pelvic balance allows the baby greater room to develop. This may reduce restrictions to its forming skeletal structures.
- Offers the baby the room to move into the best possible position for birth.
Why do Infants and Children Need Chiropractic Care?
It is common to get strange looks from people I talk to about taking infants to the chiropractor. I know what is going through their heads: Is it safe? (Yes!) Babies can have back pain? (Yes!) Do babies get adjusted the same way I do? (No way!) These are legitimate concerns for any parent, but to answer them I will begin with the most important question: Why?
Being born is tough work. There are a lot of pressures and forces being exerted onto your baby during her journey into the world. A recent study by Viola Frymann demonstrated that 90 percent of newborns suffered the effects of birth trauma: associated strain through the neck and cranial areas following birth. Frymann, an American osteopathic doctor, studied more than 1,500 babies periodically across an eight-year period. She examined all babies within the first five days of birth; in fact, many were checked within the first 24 hours of birth. This study revealed that approximately:
- Only 10% of the newborn babies had perfect, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms.
- As many as 10% had severe trauma to the head, evident even to the untrained observer.
- The remaining 80 percent all had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanism.
Most of these will likely improve as muscle tone and movement patterns develop. But when we see aberrant motor tone development or abnormal/delayed motor development, we have to consider this is playing a role.
Chiropractic Infant Care
While each birth is unique, there is always a chance that the baby suffers some sort of strain, due to a variety of reasons. Even the most natural births could result in mild trauma that goes undetected. As researcher G. Gutmann has written, “The trauma from the birth process remains an underpublicized and therefore significantly under-treated problem.” We don’t know what the long term implications of mild birth trauma are, if any, but if you are concerned in any way, it never hurts to consult a professional.
What can cause birth trauma?
- Very short labour OR very long labour
- Failure of the cervix to dilate
- Use of Pitocin to strengthen/induce uterine contractions
- Use of forceps or vacuum procedures
- Cord around baby’s neck
What can chiropractors do?
- Chiropractors have a minimum 7 years of education anatomy, biomechanics, diagnosis, biochemistry, and orthopaedics. The chiropractic core curriculum covers embryology, histology, nutrition, paediatric anatomy, developmental milestones and delays, paediatric conditions, and the associated assessment and treatment of those conditions. Their knowledge helps parents access information that can help with common childhood conditions whether it’s through nutritional counselling, exercises, or appropriate referral.
What kinds of things lead parents to bring their child to a chiropractor?
- Digestive issues like constipation, excessive spitting up and excessive gas which often leads to irritability and colic.
- Irritability or colic. Parents will report the baby cries anytime he/she is put down, in the car seat, or has to lay on their back. Often chiropractors can help with identifying the cause of the colic I.e.acid reflux, food sensitivity, over feeding, and can help parents with dietary modifications, nutritional support, teaching home massage techniques, etc.
- Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking, swallowing or head positions). They aren’t sure whether it’s their own anatomy or if the baby is having a problem, but it’s leading to frustration for everybody.
- Balance issues or clumsiness. All kids seem to have this when learning to walk but if it seems excessive to you or your child is behind in developmental milestones it’s best to trust your instincts.
- Sleeping difficulty. Sleep disorders are often multi-factorial and often require a team based approach. Chiropractors are excellent team managers and can help you identify the most likely causes for your child’s sleep issues and help you determine the best interventions.
- Delayed developmental milestones are often picked up first by a chiropractor because they get to spend more time with your child than a family doctor. Simply delays can be treated through education and home exercises where more complex situations will be diagnosed and managed by a pediatrician and a chiropractor or physiotherapist that have special training in paediatric conditions
For more information about the chiropractic care during pregnancy, safety and efficacy of chiropractic care for infants and children, or for information about Webster Technique please check out the following websites:
- International Chiropractic Paediatric Association. http://icpa4kids.org
- Spinning Babies: Easier Birth with Fetal Positioning. http://spinningbabies.com
- Pathways to Family Wellness. http://www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/
Safety of Chiropractic for children (journal article). http://icpa4kids.com/Safety.pdf