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Miracle of life - III - Sick since birth vs injured at birth

Published:Monday | April 15, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Neil Gardner

 Dr Neil Gardner, Contributor

The nervous system is the master control system of the body. All of our body functions have to be processed in some way by our nervous system. The main organs of the nervous system are the brain and spinal cord and both are susceptible to injury during the birthing process.

Babies and Brain Injury

The brain is encased in a bony vault, the cranium, which is comprised of six bones. These bones fuse with each other during the first two years of life then harden to become the protective housing for the brain. The important advantage for this property in babies is that it allows the head to be easily moulded to allow passage through the birth canal. Another advantage is that it allows room for the rapidly growing brain during the initial years of life. The disadvantage of this feature, however, is that it makes brain injury more likely during a difficult or delayed delivery and especially when forceps or a vacuum is needed to extract the baby.

Sometimes these interventions are necessary to save the baby's life, but sometimes they may cause serious and sometimes permanent brain damage. Some specific dangers include facial nerve damage, skull fractures, neurodevelopmental disorders like mental retardation and attention deficit disorder (ADD), as well as cerebral palsy. Parents should avoid using tight headbands on their new-born or infant girl as it may place undue tensions on her skull and the growing brain beneath.

Babies and Spinal injury

The spinal cord is protected by the spinal column, which is made up of 24 individual, moveable bones. This allows the spine to be very flexible, at the expense of stability. As such, the spine is susceptible to misalignments by the twisting, stretching or compressive forces often associated with childbirth, especially if the baby is large. This puts the spine and spinal cord of the baby at risk for injury, in particular in the cervical spine or neck region.

Common conditions associated with spinal injury to the baby include:

  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Delay in sucking of more than 24-48 hours.
  • Vomiting or spitting up after feeding.
  • Arched back or throwing head back when held or lying on the side.
  • Asymmetric motion of arms or legs.
  • Head constantly turned to the same side.
  • Ear infections

Spells of inconsolable crying for no apparent reason and much more.

Support During Pregnancy

Most cases of children with developmental delays like ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy etc., have a history of traumatic birth. It is highly advised that all pregnant women get regular chiropractic care. It stimulates the nervous system to enable proper functioning of your reproductive organs, thus supporting the needs of your baby throughout pregnancy and during delivery. Chiropractic care can provide a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery for both mother and baby, as well as facilitate the baby getting into the proper vertex position for delivery.

If you suspect that your child might have suffered injury during birth, or if you are unsure, have your baby checked by your family chiropractor as soon as possible.

Neil Gardner, DC, DACNB, Diplomate, American Chiropractic Neurology Board, chiropractic neurologist, Gardner Chiropractic & Neurology Ltd,; Phone: 876-978-1050-1/876-622-9241/214-432-5464 (From the USA).

If you suspect that your child might have suffered injury during birth, or if you are unsure, have your baby checked by your family chiropractor as soon as possible.