Article Submitted by Dr. Heather Yost from Yost Family Chiropractic
A breech birth (aka “breech presentation”) refers to the position of the baby in the uterus. These babies will be delivered buttocks first instead of the normal head down (vertex) position. The risk of breech presentation is small, with research showing approximately 4% of full-term (38-42 weeks) pregnancies being breech.
In the 1990’s, some breech babies were still delivered naturally. Beginning in 2003, almost all hospitals declared a halt to delivering breech babies vaginally and began using c-section 100% of the time. But what about the woman who doesn’t want a c-section? Is this the only way?
Chiropractic care, using the Webster Technique, may help prevent a c-section. This is a technique where specific chiropractic adjustments allow for balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce unnecessary stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. This makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported, in the July/August 2002 issue, an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex (head down) when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to create pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. Breech presentation may be avoided altogether, resulting in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.
For more information, contact Dr. Heather at Yost Family Chiropractic. 278-YOST. Or visit us at www.YostFamilyChiropractic.com
Information submitted by Dr. Heather Yost, DC, FICPA, Webster-Certified.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, http://www.icpa4kids.org/
American Pregnancy Association, htt;://www.americanpregnancy.org/
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 25, July/August 2002.
Breech birth – Wikipedia, htt://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breech_birth
Block, Jennifer. Pushed. MA: Da Capo Press, 2007
note from the editor (Sarah):
During my recent pregnancy, my head-down baby turned Frank breech (butt down, legs and head up). There was no physical reason, and I had been under chiropractic care the entire pregnancy (with Dr. Heather). My own research showed me that breech delivery is really quite safe if you are with a skilled care provider who has experience with breech. Problem? There are very few providers with breech experience these days. Those who are skilled at breech often will not do it. In Des Moines, I found one OB who would “consider” taking me as a patient and one OB who would not make me have a C/S if I showed up at the hospital in labor with a breech and refused to consent to surgery. This man was experienced and skilled at breech, and comfortable handling a breech delivery, but would not take me as a patient knowingly planning a vaginal breech delivery. Phone calls to providers – OBs and midwives – across the state and into neighboring states turned up only one OB who would take me as a patient planning a vaginal breech delivery. This was an OB in Omaha.
It is SO important for women to educate themselves about their options and not accept No for an answer unless it’s what YOU want. In the case of a breech, it’s not enough to refuse surgery. You need to make sure you’re being safe – a care provider who doesn’t know what they’re doing can really cause a bad outcome with a breech.
I know the Webster Technique is among the most proven ways to turn a breech naturally. Acupuncture is another well-studied option. Neither choice will do any damage in any way – there are no risks. There are also no guarantees – I was one of those women for whom neither technique did the trick. We ended up doing an external version (which IS risky) and went on to have a wonderful homebirth with a head-down baby.