Chiropractic care in pregnancy is vital to the normal physiological function of both the mother and baby throughout pregnancy and birth. More women and birth providers are discovering the many benefits associated with chiropractic care in pregnancy and recognize this area of expertise through Webster Certification.
The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. In doing so, neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is facilitated.
Sacral subluxation may contribute to difficult labor for the mother (i.e., dystocia), caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby mal-presentation. Correction of sacral subluxation may have a positive effect on all of these causes of dystocia.
History of the Webster Technique
Dr. Larry Webster, founder of ICPA, Logan practitioner and Life College instructor, developed the Webster Technique in response to his daughter, Lucinda's birth to her daughter, Shannon. Dr. Webster was present at her long and arduous birth and although he adjusted her during the birth, he felt that chiropractic could have a bigger impact in labor with a more specific approach to the pelvis.
After this personal experience with his daughter’s birth, Dr. Webster strove to develop an adjustment “for laboring women to help with the ease of birth." He felt that there must be a more specific way of addressing subluxations throughout pregnancy that would contribute to safer, easier births for the mother.
Shortly after, Dr. Webster was caring for a family whose mother was pregnant and also presenting breech. He applied his newly discovered approach in hopes of an easier delivery than his daughter had. He saw her once per week for several weeks and they noticed that her baby turned vertex in time for delivery.
Dr. Webster began teaching other chiropractors this adjustment. These doctors reported that when their patient's babies were not in an optimal position, these babies were turning vertex as well. Thus the title: “Webster Breech Turning Technique” later to be called the "Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique" by Drs. Anrig and Forrester.
When his daughter, Pamela, was pregnant, he insisted that she get regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy and mailed her a video of his technique to show her chiropractor. She also showed it to her OB, who was quite interested in the pelvic biomechanics and the chiropractic perspective. He too encouraged her to see her chiropractor regularly for this technique knowing this was out of his obstetric scope.
ICPA and Webster Certification
In 2000, ICPA officially implemented the Webster Technique Certification. Connie Webster, Dr. Webster’s widow and ICPA Executive Director, and Dr. Jeanne Ohm developed the course and Certification to teach chiropractors the technique and the importance of its application throughout pregnancy. Dr. Ohm created the curriculum around the physiological concept that utilizing the Webster Technique throughout pregnancy may eliminate the causes of dystocia. Within a year or so after, ICPA members were encouraged to eliminate terms that implied breech turning.
In 2012, ICPA Research Director, Dr Joel Alcantara and Dr. Jeanne Ohm published the paper, The Webster Technique: Definition, Application and Implications. It clarified the intent, definition and specific analysis with sacral correction of the Webster technique as originally taught by Dr. Webster. It reiterated the importance of eliminating the terms "breech turning" and "in-utero constraint".
True to Dr. Webster’s original intent, the Webster Technique has always been taught in the ICPA Certification Program as a specific sacral analysis and diversified adjustment to be used throughout pregnancy to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation but also for all weight-bearing individuals regardless of age or gender.