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Caesar vs Natural Delivery


There is much speculation about the benefits and disadvantages of the different types of delivery you may have. As it is very difficult to do research on babies, there are very few hard facts to go on. So when parents have to choose which birth method they want, the decision can become very confusing as the information available is very varied and largely based on personal experiences or opinions.

We need to remember that in natural birth, the twisting and turning through the birth canal is very important for baby’s passage into the world. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, helps squeeze the amniotic fluid out the lungs, it helps align the neck and spine and it plays a very important role in stimulating and inhibiting various reflexes that baby needs to begin his journey in life.

In private practice, chiropractors see babies for some of the following reasons: irritable bowel symptoms such as cramping, excessive winds, bloatedness and any of the following colic syptoms such as inconsolable crying, which may be at a specific time of the day, baby may go red in the face, the hands will fist and the legs will tuck in. What we assess baby for is a chiropractic subluxation.

A chiropractor’s main concern is the spine and nervous system. A pair of spinal nerves exit between each vertebra ultimately supplying every organ, tissue and cell in the body. If there is displacement of any vertebra, called a subluxation, it can cause the nerve exiting at that vertebral level to become irritated, thus interfering with the message that is being relayed via that nerve. For example, if the nerve supplying the bowel system is irritated then the message to the muscles of the bowel is over-stimulated causing excessive cramping.

Chiropractic subluxation is the result of any one or a combination of physical trauma, chemical irritants or mental (emotional) stresses. In the neonate, physical trauma can be isolated to the birth process and handling errors.

In research, much attention has been focused on the use of forceps and suction extraction and the effect on the spine and it has been shown that these methods can put strain on the neck and skull. However, research has also shown that the potential for subluxation development may have occured much earlier in the delivery process. This is evidenced by the fact that many infants who had “normal” occiput anterior, non-instrumental delivery demonstrate clinically significant subluxation as early as the first day of life and commonly within the neonatal period (birth-6 weeks). 1

Although there has not been much research conducted on the impact of Casarean delivery on the spine, there is no guarantee that the cervical spine (neck) was not mechanically strained. Depending on the length of the abdominal incision and the urgency of the operation, the child may have been pulled out forcefully. 2 This could result in strain to the neck and spine.

In clinical practice, there is a much higher presentation of babies with the above mentioned symptoms among the caesarean born babies than the vaginal delivery births, suggesting that there is something else contributing the onset of these symptoms. In my practice nine out of every ten babies that I treat are Caesarean deliveries.

No matter what type of delivery you had or choose to have, it is advisable that you take your baby for a chiropractic assessment within the first few weeks after birth. Make sure that your chiropractor is comfortable working on babies, it is advisable that you choose a practitioner who specialises in working with babies.

Please contact:

Dr Sonja Kneppers – Chiropractor
Weltevreden Park
011 478 2346

1. Chiropractic Pediatrics, A Clinical Handbook. Neil J. Davies. Churchhill Linvingstone. 2000, page 2-5.
2. Manual Therapy in Children: Proposals for an etiological model. Heiner Biedermenn, MD. Journal of Manipulative and Therapeutics, March 2005 (Vol. 28, Issue 3, Page 1-15)

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