Cesarean Avoided due to Transverse Pregnancy Resolution with Chiropractic

Published in the the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health on November 25, 2014, is a case study of a transverse pregnancy being corrected and a cesarean birth being avoided due to chiropractic care. The normal position for a fetus in the third trimester of pregnancy is head-down, known as the vertex position.

A transverse presentation, also known as a shoulder presentation, is when the fetus is lying across the mother’s womb. This type of presentation is more dangerous that a breech presentation where the fetus is positioned feet-first. The risks associated with transverse presentation include premature rupture of membranes, placenta previa, and a higher prenatal mortality rate. The authors of this study note that transverse or shoulder presentation occurs in approximately 1 in 300 deliveries.

Breech and transverse presentation result in a much higher rate of cesarean birth. In the U.S., 86% of breech presentations are birthed through Cesarean section. A cesarean birth comes with a list of possible complications including obstetric shock, uterine rupture, cardiac arrest and hemorrhage which can result in the need for a blood transfusions and/or a complete hysterectomy.

The study reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) states that only a 10-15% cesarean rate is appropriate. In the U.S. in 2011, the cesarean rate was 32.8%, but only roughly 12% of those were due to a breech or transverse presentation.

This case involved a 28-year-old expectant mother who came to the chiropractor in the 37th week of her pregnancy. She had an ultra sound 2 weeks earlier that confirmed the her fetus was in the transverse position. She also just started experiencing low back and sciatic-like pains down both of her legs.

A chiropractic examination revealed muscle spasm, as well as spinal and pelvic subluxations. It was decided to utilize the Webster technique with spinal adjustments. The Webster technique is a specific technique developed by a chiropractor, Dr. Larry Webster. This special procedure addresses in-uterine constraint in a very non-traumatic way. The procedure has been shown to be very effective in allowing a breech fetus to return to the normal vertex position.

During the application of the Website technique, the chiropractor noticed a pelvic relaxation indicating that the procedure was successful. The woman had a checkup with her ObGyn shortly after seeing the chiropractor. An ultrasound was performed that confirmed the fetus had moved into the normal vertex position. The woman continued chiropractic care and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery at 40 weeks.

In their conclusion, the author discussed the success of this case and wrote about how this procedure could help many other expectant mothers in the same situation, “This case report discussed the chiropractic management of a patient with a transverse lie fetus utilizing the Webster Technique. Women in this same position are often faced with the challenge of deciding what is best for their health and for the health of the fetus. Common solutions include cesarean section and ECV, however both come with risks to the mother and the fetus.”

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