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Blog post 4! The Birth Process and Structural Shifts
Through out human history it has been common for the birth process to occur and babies to have been born early in the morning. This may be because it is a time when the mother is well rested and relaxed which in turn facilitated as easy of a birth as possible. During the last century the modern birthing process has become the norm, where the date and time of the birth is scheduled-often for the convenience of the delivery team. This intervention may lead to increased force and stress during the delivery.
A tremendous amount of stress is placed on the neck by the modern birthing process. There is a NORMAL way for the head to present during delivery. If the baby’s head presents in any other way than with the face down (Normal), there can be added stress to the structures of the spine. Any intervention such as vacuum or forceps may cause additional trauma to the head and neck. Cesarean section is also considered a traumatic birth when considering the effects on the spine.
Sometimes the ability and the capacity of the pelvis is insufficient to allow the child to navigate easily through the birth canal. This may occur due to a small pelvis, an abnormal pelvic formation, or due to the size of the child in relation to the size of the birth canal.
This puts direct pressure upon the infant’s soft cranium, causing the cranial plates to shift, lock, or become disproportioned. This is the reason you may have seen cone head shaped babies. When an infant becomes stuck the use of forceps, suction devices, or the twisting of the head and the bones in the upper neck may add to the neurological damage that is already being done by the force of the contractions upon the stuck head. This then results in direct neurological dysfunction including Structural Shifts.
Obstetricians often need to traction the head during a normal birth. They may end up using between 40 and 70 pounds of pressure, in order to birth the shoulder. Studies reveal this may inadvertently cause damage to the cervical spine (neck) and also to the nerves that exit from the spine.
At birth the spinal nerve roots are prone to injury by the maneuver of laterally flexing the head to free the shoulders from the birth canal. This puts great stress on the brachial plexus and spinal nerve roots.
If the baby is in breech position (positioned abnormally in the womb for delivery), it has a particularly high risk for developing spinal cord injury. In one study, 75 percent of infants manifesting spinal cord injury had a breech birth.
This high incidence of injury to the spinal cord may be associated with its relative inelasticity when compared with that of the spinal column. The neonatal spinal column can be stretched up to two inches before damage to the supporting soft tissue structure occurs, whereas the spinal cord has only one-half inch of stretch before damage in the form of hemorrhage or rupture occurs.
The first month of life is the period of greatest mortality in the childhood years. According to Towbin,
“Life for the newborn depends on the preservation and healthy functioning of the brainstem and upper spinal cord.”
Evidence from research studies indicates that birth trauma to the brainstem and upper cervical spine is a factor in over 10 percent of neonatal deaths in the United States.
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Align Chiropractic Centre
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Align Chiropractic Centre is focused on structural correction of the spine. We use state of the art
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