The Stress of Birth

Life Events as Stressors – The Stress of Birth

Huh? What do you mean? Birth is stressful?

It’s a conversation I have on a regular basis with Mums of children of all ages. When you think about it – something rather large (a baby) gets squeezed through a very small hole to be born.  There are countless benefits of natural birth over c-section and this article is not about that. It’s about the stresses that can be put into our body from birth and what can be done about it.

So why as a chiropractor am I interested in this?

Think about it. Baby gets squeezed out pretty small hole and thankfully the majority of babies are healthy, breathing, well perfused and so on.

However during the birth things can slow the birth down or create potential problems.

Sometimes the baby will get stuck. This can be for a whole host of reasons. This however can put increased pressure on the neck and/or spine of the baby. From a medical perspective this may result in forceps or a vacuum pump being used to help pull the baby out. This also puts a lot of stress on the baby’s neck.

As a chiropractor I believe the following:

·       Healthy function in the body is coordinated by the brain and nervous system

·       The spine protects the nervous system

·       Any distortions or twisting to the spinal column or nerves can reduce the brains ability to coordinate health in the body

So when we check babies immediately after birth it is not unusual to find restrictions in the upper neck that are related to the birth process. Some of these babies have symptoms that can be associated with neck restrictions, others appear healthy and happy.

We also commonly find spinal restrictions in babies that have been breech late in pregnancy, whether born naturally or through c-section. My belief is this is related to the position they got stuck in, inside the womb.

Many of the children we see have a history of some degree of birth trauma, and we commonly see restrictions in the upper neck which once resolved result in improvements in how they function and live their lives.

So what I’ve learnt is that even in babies that had no obvious symptoms, checking their spines in the early stages of life increases their opportunity of a healthy spine and a healthier body. Yes, they will have accidents and falls – all children do – and this will create further restrictions to their spine – most of which they will spontaneously correct themselves. Periodic check-up s mean these get picked up before they become a problem.

We all get our teeth checked on a regular basis – because teeth are important. Yet I never learnt the importance of a healthy spine until my spine started to play up. I know I’m not the only one.