The Webster technique is perhaps the most well known of pediatric chiropractic techniques. It has been featured on television shows like The Learning Channel’s A Baby Story, as well as in numerous magazines like Midwife Today and Mothering. This technique was developed in 1978 by Dr. Larry Webster, the well known pediatrician and chiropractor who founded the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, or ICPA. The technique’s goal is to relieve physical and mental stress on the mother and unborn child by targeting the causes of intrauterine constraint. It has been practiced throughout the United States for nearly thirty years and has proven very successful in relieving constraint and helping to convert breech presentations to cephalic presentation.
Intrauterine constraint is defined as any external force adversely affecting the developing fetus by constraining the natural movement of said fetus. Intrauterine constraint can result in such abnormal development as the fetus resisting the head-down position, which can lead to later complications in birth and possibly throughout the child’s life. By dealing with the potential for complications early on, the labor and birthing process become easier and the child may find it easier to live a productive, happy life by allowing the chiropractor to provide a foil for possible birth defects as their potential for development becomes apparent.
The Webster Technique and pediatric chiropractic care in general are not without their detractors, of course. Critics doubt that chiropractic care can do anything to affect the physical position of the fetus during pregnancy or remove any constraints. Furthermore, they maintain that chiropractic care during pregnancy in the final weeks can actually be detrimental. These critics protest the application of chiropractic care for either pregnant mothers or newborn children. One can easily imagine what provokes this criticism, as when you imagine the loud pops and cracks that go along with chiropractic care being applied to the sensitive body of a newly born baby, it’s hard not to cringe. Of course, pediatric chiropractic care is a very gentle method of light pushing to correct spinal misalignments that can occur during even the easiest of childbirths. This gentle realignment isn’t generally accompanied by the same loud noises that adult chiropractic care results in and might prove necessary to prevent scoliosis and other back and nervous system problems later in life, however, even these critics will admit that breech deliveries are the last thing a mother to be wants and that some preventative measure should be taken. Not all of these criticisms are completely unfounded, though, so a mother to be is advised to discuss their pregnancy with their primary doctor first and resist the temptation to go straight to the chiropractor.
The Webster Technique does have a definite weakness in that it’s only proven effective against the problem of breech pregnancy. Breech presentation isn’t the only possible incorrect position for a fetus to take during pregnancy, so other methods should be looked into as much as possible, as well.