By Alexander Germanis
With age comes change and imperfection. Cars, houses, and even that couch in the living room all show signs of age and wear over time. Imperfections develop: the car starts to sputter and tick, the house creaks, and the couch gets a bit of a dip in one spot.
Our bodies certainly go through similar dysfunction over time. It may come as a bit of a shock to find out some of our physical imperfections are rooted in not just our early years, but even in the months leading up to our births, as well.
Dr. Jess Bruin of Eastland Chiropractic often sees evidence of this dysfunction when her patients are in their adult years, but she also knows ways of preventing them from occurring with some of her younger patients — some of whom are not even born yet.
“There can be things that happen to the baby in-utero such as in-utero constraint,” Dr. Bruin points out. During the later developmental stages in the mother’s womb, in-utero constraint may occur when the mother’s pelvis twists, which in turn causes the uterine muscles to tighten. This sudden tightening may, in essence, trap the baby in an unnatural position, unable to move naturally within the uterus. These forced positions will then cause twisting and compression of the neck and spine of the baby.
The three main forms of in-utero constraint are breech, brow or facedown, and transverse. When a baby is breech, it means the baby is upright, but pressure from above can be compressing the neck and spine. With a brow or facial constraint, the baby is facedown, but their head is often pushed back, putting severe strain on the neck. In a transverse position, the baby is sideways, placing immense pressure on the neck, middle back, and pelvis.
To paint a picture of how in-utero constraint feels to a baby, Dr. Bruin describes it as “lying on your face for eight months. It’s going to cause some serious stress and strain on your neck.”
That strain can cause lasting issues after birth, including scoliosis and problems with the nervous system. Fortunately, for those constrained unborn babies, the Webster Technique was developed.
The technique was created by the late Dr. Larry Webster as an answer to problems his daughter experienced when giving birth back in the 1970s.
Dr. Bruin received certification in the Webster Technique from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. The ICPA, describes the technique as a chiropractic analysis and adjustment meant to reduce subluxation, or spinal misalignment. The technique is not about adjusting the baby, but rather the mother in order to allow the baby to re-adjust itself properly.
“When a baby is in breech position, and especially for mothers who want a natural birth — there’s nothing more powerful than being able to guide them in that,” Dr. Bruin shares. “Having been told, ‘You’re going to need a C-section,’ they come in here crying and happy because we might be able to shift that around.”
Avoiding a C-section is usually more beneficial for the baby, as Dr. Bruin explains. “The [natural] birthing process does a whole lot with development of the baby — to open up the lungs and everything — which we lose with the C-section,” she says. “But, of course, you still have to weigh your options and follow the advice of your physician.”
While the Webster Technique has certainly garnered a lot of success over the decades, not every baby is going to be free of problems after birth. On the contrary, the birthing process is so traumatic for mother and child that both might require further chiropractic care afterwards.
This does not, however, mean the child receives the same types of adjustments as the adult.
Dr. Bruin will continue to explain some of the chiropractic adjustments that can be performed for mother and child in the next part of the series: “Chiropractic for All Ages, Part 2,” available in the next issue of Healthy Cells.
For more information on Chiropractic care, healthy lifestyle, and nutrition, please contact Jess Bruin, D.C. at Eastland Chiropractic & Lifestyle Center, 309-662-8418, or online at www.EastlandChiro.com. Their office is located at 2406 E. Washington St. in Bloomington.
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