Many parents are unaware of the benefits of chiropractic for newborns. It seems to defy logic that a baby, brand new to this world, would have any health issues that would warrant a visit to a pediatric chiropractor, however, birth can be quite traumatic on your little one's spine. Initiating chiropractic care from the beginning of life can address any injuries or subluxations that may have occurred during the birth process and set the newborn up for a lifetime of health and well-being.
Birth Injury in the United States
Labor and delivery isn’t just difficult for the mother—the infant also experiences the physical stress and strain of the birth process. Around 2 percent of births in the United States result in physical injury to the infant. This percentage is likely low as injuries often go unnoticed and injuries to the spine may be painless, making it difficult to identify. These injuries can cause nerve system damage or interference and can lead to other health problems. The only way to determine if an injury has occurred is through an infant chiropractic care evaluation.
Some common injuries are brachial plexus palsy (injury to the nerves in the baby’s arm), bone fractures, cephalohematoma (hemorrhage of blood between the skull and outer membrane of the bone), facial paralysis, spinal cord injuries and caput succedaneum (swelling of the scalp).
Subluxation of the Spine
Spinal subluxation occurs when one or more spinal vertebrae move out of position, creating stress or irritation on nearby nerves, which prevents the body from functioning optimally. One of the three most common causes of subluxation is trauma.
Minor and/or major trauma can occur to an infant as he or she makes the way through the narrow birth canal, especially if the medical staff must use tools to assist the baby’s exit from the womb or birth canal. These traumas often result in subluxations—infant chiropractic care can help alleviate these issues through gentle adjustments. These adjustments remove the subluxation and allow the body to function optimally.
Why Birth Injury Occurs
Birth injury may occur due to use of tools during the birth. Doctors and medical staff will often use vacuum suction and forceps to reposition the baby’s head or to pull the baby out if pushing is proving ineffective. Doctors will also pull on the baby’s limbs or head. Any of these techniques can result in subluxations of the spine.
Have Your Baby Checked
Immediately following or soon after birth, it’s important to have your infant checked by a pediatric chiropractor to determine if any subluxation occurred. Many chiropractors have pediatric certifications and specialize in infant adjustments, and chiropractic adjustments on infants are proven to be safe and gentle. Research has shown a correlation between chiropractic care and a reduction in the symptoms of colic, ear infection, ADHD and more.
Read on to learn more:
Is Chiropractic Care Really Safe for Kids? American Chiropractic Association, June 2015
Newborn Clavicle Fractures, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, accessed July 2015
Birth Injury Statistics, Birth Injury Guide, accessed July 2015
Birth Injury, Stanford Children’s Health, accessed July 2015
Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy, American Pregnancy Association, accessed June 2015
Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature, Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Spring 2007