Infant and pediatric
Birth is hard work for both mother and baby. There are a lot of pressures and forces being exerted onto your baby during their journey into our world. Birth in its many forms can be quite traumatic. While every birth is unique, there is always a chance that the baby suffers some sort of strain due to a variety of reasons. Even the most natural births can result in trauma that goes undetected. As researcher G. Gutmann has written, “The trauma from the birth process remains an under-publicized and therefore significantly under-treated problem.”While it may not be written in our conscious memories, research shows our prenatal, birth and neonatal imprints remain in our very cells and is certainly within our subconscious, influencing how we ultimately end up perceiving the world. From our behavior, reactions and perspectives later on in life, how we relate (in our adult lives) to stress at home or work, pressure from loved ones, how we go about making our toughest decisions, can very well be traced back to how we experienced life in our mother’s womb and our birth, when our response to stresses within our nervous system were developing.
baby is ready
On the physical level, birth happens naturally by a complex series of biological events initiated by the baby. When baby is ready, they navigate their way down the birth canal by way of their primitive reflexes and with the help from the contractions of the mother’s uterus, her instinctive pushing, gravity and positioning. Anything that interrupts this entire dance between the mother and baby has the potential to be experienced as invasive or overwhelming. And, we generally know that the traumas which have the deepest roots in our lives are the traumas that happen the earliest, all the way back to experiences of young childhood – including birth and womb time – when we were fully conscious but not yet verbal. This may sound overly dramatic, but we don’t pay enough attention to the psychological impact of childbirth on newborns—we assume that babies are not aware and won’t remember this transition.
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In regards to the potential physical trauma, a recent study by Viola Frymann demonstrated that 90% of newborns suffered the effects of birth trauma: associated strain through the neck and cranial areas following birth. Frymann, an American osteopathic doctor, studied more than 1,500 babies periodically across an 8-year period. She examined all babies within the first 24 hours to the first 5 days of birth. The study revealed that 10% of those newborn babies had perfectly, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms. 10% had severe trauma to the head, evident even to untrained observers and the remaining 80% had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanisms.
Left unassessed and uncorrected, this trauma can potentially impact a baby’s neurological development and spinal growth, which could reduce healthy function of their nervous system. 65% of neurological development (development of the brain and nervous system) occurs in the child’s first year of life and 90% of their brain growth happens by age 5. We want to ensure your baby has every opportunity to maximize their nerve function during this critical period in their development.
Aside from birth, as your child develops, whether it’s their neurological developmental milestones, breast-feeding support, immune system function, falls on the playground or helping support your child(ren)’s participation in sports/physical activities, chiropractic care can positively impact their overall quality of life.
I strongly encourage you to find a chiropractor with the CACCP, DACCP, who is actively working towards those certifications or who has stated on their website other classes or certifications (such as Epic, Craniosacral, BEST, ICA) they have received in order to become more proficient in this realm of care. Again, of the 227+ credit hours it takes to become a Doctor of Chiropractic, we take between 4 and 16 credit hours (one-four classes) on OBGYN and pediatrics. That’s it. I do not believe it is sufficient enough to be able to serve an infant or child with specific chiropractic care and a thorough understanding of how their bodies and neurology develop. Yes, they are tiny humans, but they are far more complex than just “miniature adults.” I highly recommend finding a chiropractor who has taken the time to study and understand all the stages of pregnancy, postpartum and pediatric development. The best way to do this, is the call the practice and ask questions about their training. You should interview all practitioners you want to work with to see if they are the right fit.