by Dr. Nicole
Did you know that about 4% of pregnancies end with the baby in breech position? A baby is in a breech position when their head is up instead of down. Ideally, the baby should be head down by around the 34th week of pregnancy. You may be thinking, how does chiropractic play a role in baby position? Well it can play several roles! Women who get adjusted during their pregnancy have been shown to have faster, easier labors. Chiropractic can also help with back pain that is often associated with pregnancy. Many of the commonly used prescriptions for back pain can’t be used during pregnancy. Also, when women are adjusted regularly throughout their pregnancy they are more likely to have a head down baby.
I want to be clear that chiropractors don’t actually turn breech babies, what actually happens is we facilitate the baby’s ability to be in the right position, by creating a more functional environment. In the beginning of the pregnancy (the first 2 trimesters), babies are constantly moving around inside the uterus. During this time, there is a lot of room and movement is normal for their development. In the last trimester, the baby’s head is heavier than the rest of their body, so gravity helps their head move into the correct position. There can be several reasons why the head would be in the wrong position: the umbilical cord may be really short so they may not have the option to move freely or the cord can be wrapped around them preventing movement. There can also be functional causes and this is where a chiropractor can help. A functional cause could be how the uterus and the spine work together. The uterus is connected to the pelvic girdle in three different places. One large ligament in the back called the broad ligament, which connects the back of the uterus to the sacrum and prevents it from tipping forward, and two smaller ligaments in the front, called the round ligaments. The round ligaments are normally very small but during pregnancy they get thicker and have some muscular fibers. They get to be about the size of a pinky finger. Because of the muscular fibers they can get tight and pull. Think of the ropes on a hot air balloon, if someone were to pull on one of the ropes the whole balloon would tilt that direction. The uterus can do the same thing. If the pelvis does not have proper function or if one or both of the round ligaments are in spasm, then the shape of the uterus changes, creating less space for the baby to move into the proper position. There is a specific technique we use here at Whole Life Chiropractic to evaluate and treat the pelvis in order to create optimal function for mom and baby. It is called the Webster technique. Webster technique is used the entire pregnancy to evaluate the proper position of the sacrum and to check the tone of the round ligaments. The most positive outcomes happen when the mom is checked and adjusted as needed throughout pregnancy, but we have also worked on women solely in their last trimester. The most current published research shows the effectiveness of Webster technique to have an 82% success rate. If you are interested in more information on Chiropractic and how it can help pregnant moms and babies, go to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) website at www.icpa4kids.com, or the International Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics at www.icapediatrics.com.
If you are looking for a pregnancy that is as comfortable as it can be, understanding how to keep the right muscles strong, and have a baby who is more likely to be head down, then give us a call and we can evaluate you!