What is a Webster Certified Chiropractor? (and why does it matter?)

If you are pregnant in this day and age, you have probably heard the term thrown out there, "Webster Certified Chiropractor" at least once or twice by now.

But what exactly is a Webster Certified Chiropractor and why are they such a big deal? I sat down with Dr. Jessica Ray with Radiant Life Chiropractic, located in NW Oklahoma City, to find out why. Below you will find the answers to the common questions I have heard from my expecting photography clients, as well as some of my own questions to help you get to know Dr. Jessica on a deeper level!

1. What is a Webster Certified Chiropractor and why is seeing a Webster Certified Chiropractor more beneficial in pregnancy versus a non-Webster-Certified-Chiropractor?

A chiropractor that is Webster certified has gone through additional educational training in prenatal chiropractic care covering the Webster Technique. Not all chiropractors are trained in the Webster Technique. In my opinion, having the Webster Technique performed by a trained chiropractor is the most important treatment you can receive from a chiropractor during pregnancy. The Webster Technique focuses on releasing tension in the sacrotuberous ligament and the round ligaments. The purpose of the round ligaments is to hold the uterus in place. As your body is rapidly changing during pregnancy, these ligaments become strained and can tighten just as a muscle can. By using the Webster Technique, restrictions found in the ligaments can be released allowing the pelvis to remain more balanced. It is so important to find a chiropractor that is knowledgeable about this technique to use in addition to the adjustment and muscle work.

2. What parts of the body do you focus on the most when seeing a pregnant patient?

During the whole pregnancy I focus on the whole spine. I pay special attention to the cervical spine, lumbar spine, and pelvis. This is to help reduce discomfort and pain felt during pregnancy, ensure the pelvis is well-balanced giving the baby enough room to get in a good position, and prepare the mom’s body for labor. The part of the nervous system that controls labor is called the parasympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system is found along the cervical spine, lumbar spine, and pelvis. Toward the end of pregnancy, I focus the treatment on these areas of the spine to stimulate that part of the nervous system. This is done through the chiropractic adjustment, muscle work, and the Webster Technique.

3. What methods of adjustment are used in your office?

I am trained in several different adjusting techniques. The techniques I use are diversified (with my hands), drop table, and activator. I discuss the options with the patient and together we pick the technique they are the most comfortable having performed.

4. I’m pregnant and a first time patient of Dr. Jessica. Walk me through what I can expect for my first visit.

During the first visit a thorough history and examination will be performed. Following the examination, you’ll receive your first treatment. I take the time to walk through the first treatment slowly and explain each part of the process, so you’ll know exactly what to expect and why I am doing the things I am doing. I allow the patient to decide which adjusting technique they are the most comfortable with and whether they want to utilize the pregnancy pillows to be adjusted face down on the table. Most moms love the pregnancy pillows since they haven’t been able to lay on their stomach in months! The treatment begins with the use of a massager. This is beneficial to relax the muscles, help the mom feel better, and to allow the adjustment to be more comfortable. A very gentle adjustment and the Webster Technique follows to end the first treatment.

5. Aside from preparing her body to physically give birth, what other benefits does chiropractic care offer while expecting?

Chiropractic care is beneficial for so many things including improved pain and functional levels, better sleep, reduced headaches, relief from carpal tunnel symptoms during pregnancy, an improved ability to exercise, and better nutrition. Throughout pregnancy, I provide nutrition counseling to all my patients. This is beneficial in helping her have a healthier pregnancy, making sure the baby is getting the appropriate nutrition during this critical time of development, and to improve the mom’s overall health. Chiropractic care is beneficial in preparing the mom’s body for better recovery during the postnatal period as well.

6. When should a pregnant woman begin her chiropractic care? How will the visits differ from month-to-month, week-to-week, etc?

Taking care of your body sooner rather than later is always the best approach. Why wait until you are in pain? Being in pain is never normal! Generally, I see prenatal patients once per week until the symptoms are under control. Once that happens, treatments occur every other week until around 30-32 weeks. At this time, we will re-evaluate how she is feeling then move the appointments to once per week until delivery. Everyone responds to the treatment differently. Some women may do great at every other week while others respond better to weekly visits throughout their pregnancy.

7. What types of clothing is best to wear when coming in for an adjustment?

Any type of clothing will work, but clothing that is easy to move in is best. I generally have my patients perform therapeutic exercises during their visits, so whatever they are comfortable exercising in works well.

8. How does your office help moms who have young children and toddlers in tow?

We are a kid-friendly office! We love having children in our office. We have toy baskets in the waiting room and a children’s corner in my treatment room. We strive to make the mom and child as comfortable and at home in our office as possible. We want you to enjoy your experience and feel like you are able to take that time to completely focus on you and your health.

9. What are some extra unexpected benefits that patients of Radiant Life Chiropractic have that they might not have elsewhere?

I am certified in prenatal and pediatric care by the Academy of Family Practice and I am Webster Technique certified. The treatment that I provide goes beyond the chiropractic adjustment. As a chiropractor, the adjustment is the most important service that I offer my patients, but I also look at the body as a whole. I spend time performing muscle work with each of my patients in conjunction with the adjustment. The muscles attach to the bones, so it is important to make sure they are healthy and moving properly along with the joints. Muscle health is huge during pregnancy as the muscles are constantly being stretched and strained during this rapid time of change. We also use Rock Tape in our office to provide extra support. I tape my patients during pregnancy that may have a hard time holding their adjustment and need that extra support and stability. Each patient goes through pregnancy exercise protocols that I put together to strength the deep core muscles that are needed during labor. This is also beneficial in reducing pain during pregnancy, increasing the ability to hold the adjustment longer, and improving recovery time during the postnatal period.

10. As a provider, what are some ways that you stay up to date on recent studies and findings regarding chiropractic care?