Autopsy of infants who died of SIDS revealed blood in the spinal cord, which the author hypothesized, was due to obstetrical trauma. "Spinal cord and brain stem injuries often occur during the process of birth but frequently escape diagnosis. Respiratory depression in the neonate is a cardinal sign of much injury. In infants, there may be lasting neurological defects reflecting the primary injury." Towbin further states: "mechanical stress imposed by obstetric manipulation-even the application of standard orthodox procedures may prove intolerable to the fetus. Difficult breathing in the newborn is a classic indication of such injury" He goes on to say," Survival of the newborn is governed mainly by the integrity and function of the vital centers in the brain stem. Yet paradoxically, the importance of injury at birth to the brain stem and spinal cord are matters which have generally escaped lasting attention."
Towbin, A, Dev Med Child Neurol. 1969 (Feb);11 (1): 54-68