On December 11, 2017, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study documenting the resolution of a pregnant mother’s footling breech presentation under chiropractic care. A footling breech presentation is when one or both of the baby’s feet are in the downward position and are therefore more likely to be born first instead of the normal head first position.
The study begins by noting that about 3-4% of pregnancies result in a breech presentation. Current medical thinking is that a breech birth represents a significant medical threat and therefore a Cesarean birth is normally recommended in these cases. Since, for many reasons, a normal head-first vaginal birth is preferable to a cesarean birth, any reasonable process that can correct the breech should be explored.
In this case, a 38-year-old pregnant woman sought a chiropractic consultation and evaluation. The woman was in her 30th week of a pregnancy with twins that were in the footling breech position. She had previously had three individual pregnancies and delivered each child without complication. The woman had never experienced chiropractic care before. She was physically active by playing volleyball and swimming.
A chiropractic examination included palpation and a postural analysis. This showed a forward position of her head, as well as an uneven pelvis. There was also an abnormal motion of the pelvic bones when put through a range of motion test. Based on the findings, chiropractic adjustments were given.
Over the next 11 days, the patient was seen 5 times. In that time, both of the fetuses turned from the footling breech position down to a normal vertex, head-down position. This correction of the position of her fetuses allowed her to deliver her twins vaginally, without complication or medication.
The study also reviewed several previous studies showing chiropractic helping correct breech presentations and allowing for normal vaginal delivery. In one of those documented cases, a breech presentation self corrected after four chiropractic adjustments. In another case, the breech corrected after one week of chiropractic.
The overall body of evidence for breech presentations being resolved under chiropractic continues to grow. The authors of this study reviewed several other studies showing that chiropractic helped in those cases. In this particular case, the results were especially important because of the woman being pregnant with twins. In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case report provides supporting evidence on the benefits of chiropractic care for the pregnant woman with fetal malpresentation.”