On March 11, 2019, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case series showing the results of pregnant women whose breech pregnancies were resolved under chiropractic care and were then able to give birth normally.
The study begins by describing the importance of the position of the fetus for a normal birth. “It is extremely important for a baby to be positioned correctly before delivery for the safety of the mother and child as well as for ease of delivery. The correct position for a baby is the head down, or vertex position. When a baby does not attain this position, but is instead in the buttocks or feet down orientation, this is referred to as the breech position.”
It is estimated that about 3-4% of pregnancies become breech presentations. The study authors report that in 1970, the percentage of breech pregnancies that resulted in caesarian birth was about 14%. This number has risen to where currently about 95% of breech presentations result in cesarean delivery. Studies have shown that vaginal births are less likely to have serious negative outcomes than cesarean births.
The medical approach to try to correct breech presentation is to perform External Cephalic Version (ECV). This procedure involves the doctor physically trying to externally push the baby back into a vertex position. This process has only a 65% success rate and severe associated risks including umbilical cord entanglement, premature separation of the placenta from the uterus, premature rupture of the membranes, and preterm labor.
This study reviewed five separate case studies of woman with breech presentations late in their pregnancies. In the first case, a 40-year-old woman, 36-weeks pregnant, was referred for chiropractic care by her obstetrician, because of pelvic pain and both of her hands being numb. Chiropractic care over a three-week period in this case resulted in the woman’s symptoms being helped and her baby returning to the normal vertex, head down position. The findings were confirmed by ultrasound.
In the second case, a 30-year-old woman went to the chiropractor with a breech pregnancy presentation. She had also been suffering with chronic headaches for years. After four chiropractic visits, the woman’s obstetrician had confirmed that her baby had turned and was in a normal position. After continued chiropractic care, her headaches were also resolved.
Three additional cases were also reviewed in this study. In each case, a chiropractic analysis was performed, and subluxations were determined to be present. The chiropractic care consisted of specific adjustments and the inclusion of the “Webster technique.” The results in all these cases were that after a short amount of time each of the pregnancies went from breech to normal vertex positioning.
In the study conclusion, the authors summed up the cases by saying, “We describe the positive health outcomes confirmed by ultrasound of five women with breech presentations where vertex positions were assumed following chiropractic care. Additional positive health outcomes included decreased back, pelvic and head pain.