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Home Wellness Research Birth Trauma Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic

Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 10:07

The Reality

"Birth today has become a technological experience where a natural process has been replaced with artificial procedures and schedules. Without the necessary support during pregnancy, women enter the birth process with fear and are led to rely on drugs instead of their bodies' own natural strengths.  These drugs weaken her body's ability to function and lead to even further interventions. The more interventions used in birth, the greater the risk of injury to both the mother and baby.


Routine labor procedures such as inducing labor, pain medications, and restrictive maternal positions lead to further complications and the resultant use of forceful pulling and operative devices such as forceps, vacuum extractions and c-sections.

The Cause

Standard obstetric managenent includes grasping the infants head during birth usually accompanied by some degree of pulling and rotation. Further intervention including the application of obstetric devises creates an environment where an even more serious injury is bound to happen.

Although the studies sited below mostly deal with the excessive trauma caused by obstetrical, operative devices it is important to note this comment by Dr. Abraham Towbin, medical researcher on spinal injury, He says, 'the birth process, even under optimal, controlled conditions is a traumatic potentially crippling event for the fetus.'

"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."

"Routine procedures such as inducing labor, pain medications and restricted maternal positions are known to cause greater difficulty in labor and lead to further interventions."

"Medical research on birth trauma tells us , 'Forceful pulling on the baby's neck particularly when combined with stretching of the spine- has been considered the most important cause of infant spinal and brain stem injury.'

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed startling data. It reports: difficult labor itself and the method of delivery may lead to brain injuries and deaths in babies.

Brain injuries were found in:

  • one out of every 664 infants delivered with forceps;
  • one out of every 860 deliveries by vacuum extraction and
  • one out of every 907 infants delivered by c-section.

Another published medical study reports: "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"

It further states ," 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."

Jeanne Ohm, DC