Last week we highlighted all the reasons expecting mothers should see a doctor of Chiropractic throughout their pregnancy, and now that baby has arrived, we urge our patients to continue coming to the office. As you might expect, the benefits to getting adjusted after childbirth are far reaching for mom, but perhaps even more crucial is having a certified Pediatric Chiropractor examine your newborn for any subluxations that may have resulted from the birthing process.
The key to safety in pediatric chiropractic is education, which is why seeking out a doctor who is certified is so important. Babies have the same joints as we do but they’re not fully formed yet, so finding a doctor who understands the proper adjustment techniques, contacts and depths should be a number one priority for new parents. I am not only certified to work with pregnant mothers and newborns, it is truly my favorite aspect of my job. Read on for all the reasons you should bring your newest family member into the In8Love offices today.
Begin at the Beginning
Some parents might question why their newborn—who has yet to even sustain a fall or an accident on the playground—would be in need of an adjustment. What they don’t realize is that the birthing process is one of the most traumatic experiences to take place in a human’s existence. Subluxations—points where the vertebrae are putting undue pressure on the nervous system housed inside the spinal column—can occur from emotional and chemical causes as well as physical, and all three of these types of trauma can occur during birth.
Let’s begin by looking at the subluxations that occur in utero. If the mother’s pelvis is misaligned, it can cause intrauterine constraint, and the baby can get stuck in one position, potentially for several months. When you look at it from this perspective, it’s easy to understand why a newborn would need an adjustment; we certainly would, as adults, after being in the same position for months!
The Big Day
The greatest instances of subluxation however, occur during labor and birth. Modern medicine has pulled the normal physiological act of childbirth far off track from the natural event it is intended to be, and created a scenario where the doctor may be gently rushing us to fit his busy timeline. The use of an epidural for pain has the added caveat of decreasing sensation, meaning that the mother may not be able to feel when to push properly. Furthermore, inducing to stimulate abnormal contractions can cause complications that put undue stress on both mother and baby.
It is the current birthing position however, that causes the most trouble. Lying on one’s back with feet in stirrups doesn’t allow for gravity to assist the motion of the baby through the birth canal. Because this position works against the mother’s normal physiologically innate abilities, discomfort increases and labor times are extended. The mother may become fatigued and overwhelmed by pain, and this in turn, makes it necessary for the doctor to intervene in the delivery process. This is typically when an epidural is administered, and it explains why tools like forceps and vacuum extractors, or methods like episiotomy and cesarean section might become necessary.
Naturally, the more the doctor must intervene, the greater the risk of potential injury to the infant’s head and neck. During delivery, the head of the child is firmly gripped, rotated and torqued. Over time, doctors have decreased the use of forceps, because so many children have been injured by them, but the alternative is not much better. Vacuum extraction, during which suction cups are placed on the newborn’s head, causes the baby to be literally sucked out of the womb. During this process, approximately 120 pounds of pressure goes through the baby’s head and neck. Here’s a statistic to give you some perspective of what this means for your child: Decapitation occurs at 140 pounds of pressure.
Is it any wonder why so many babies sustain injuries to their heads and necks during vacuum extraction? The force is simply far greater than their little bodies can tolerate.
It’s also important to mention also that these are just the instances of trauma that we can observe. What we can’t see are the millions of different hormonal changes and chemical reactions occurring both in the mother and the developing baby that are coordinated through the nervous system. For this reason—and because even the easiest deliveries can result in subluxations—every child should be checked by a Chiropractor before problems with their health can ever begin to develop.
Benefits for Mom
It turns out that Chiropractic care can also help with the postpartum healing process, by correcting any misalignments that may have occurred during labor and by re-establishing the natural position and mobility of the joints and ligaments. Furthermore, nursing and carrying your baby around can cause posture problems and neck and back pain. Above all, regular adjustments ensure that your body is functioning optimally so that you can heal quickly, so call 310-477-3335 and schedule an appointment for the entire family today.