International Day of the Midwife

Sunday 4th May is also known as the International Day of the Midwife. As a Chiropractor who has a special interest in Pregnancy, I welcome the chance to blog about a profession that plays a huge important part in the life of the pregnant lady and her family. I am very lucky to say that I had a brilliant midwife at the birth of my daughter, the same wasn’t quite so true at the birth of my son, but I want to remain positive in this post, so will not go into that here.

A few days ago I posted under the heading “Ring of Fire” a picture of the bones of the pelvis, and if I can take you back to the photo alongside the post, you will see the shape of the pelvis is well designed for the head of a baby to pass through, if the Mum’s pelvis is as straight as the pelvis in the picture. Unfortunatley not all pelvises are that aligned by any means, and the problem is that nobody knows what shape their pelvis is in, until they try and birth a baby through it, and that is often too late, for the experience of birth to be a good empowering one. Instead it becomes a traumatic experience and having a long-lasting impact, that could have been so different had the midwife only been aware during the pregnancy, and recommended that the woman gets her pelvic alignment checked before, way before, the birth. I prefer to see the woman even before she has become pregnant, so that we can realign the pelvis before her centre of gravity changes with a growing baby, and the ligaments start to soften with the hormone relaxin. It then becomes more difficult to get the pelvis to remain in alignment as the ligaments that hold it inplace are softened and start to stretch in preparation for the birth. But here’s a fact that you might not be aware of: In the taking of the history a pregnant woman does not even have the shape of her pelvis noted. Why do I think that this is a mistake?

Image

Because the shape of the pelvis can give some indication as to how the labour and birth may progress. As you can see from the picture, some pelvis’ are narrow and deep, some are wide but shallow. The shape will affect the length of time that the baby spends getting through that pelvis, at what midwives see as separate stages in labour, but are in actual fact, one continuous birth.

In my 16 years as a Chiropractor treating pregnant women, I have never, let me say again,NEVER had a lady, at full term, with a breech baby. Why do I think that is? Well if the pelvis is aligned then the baby has the maximum amount of room to move around and get into a good position. If the pelvis is not aligned then it is more difficult for the baby to move, and hence they stay with a rump presentation. So then they go and try an external cephalic version, where they try and turn the baby, rather than look at why the baby is deciding to stay in the position that it is in. Maybe try adjusting the Mother’s pelvis and see what happens!

The Webster technique is a Chiropractic adjustment that is done on the sacrum, named after the person who developed it. As a McTimoney Chiropractor I do not do that adjustment, because as part of the McTimoney training I was  taught the McTimoney adjustments of the sacrum which has the same effect. So the webster technique is not necessary if you see a McTimoney Chiropractor during pregnancy.

So as a tribute to Midwives out there, can I recommend that you start to take an interest in the pelvis which the baby nestles in, and which they have to pass through to have the best start in life, because being born vaginally really is the best start for both Mother and baby, whenever possible. We salute you for your dedication to being the holder of the Sacred Space for Birthing. Blessings to each and everyone of you.

Do you have an experience of any form of treatment for turning a breech baby during pregnancy that you would be willing to share?

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