The Need for Chiro from Birth

by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen

The Need for Chiro from Birth


“Many believe that a newborn infant is little more than a blob of protoplasm, feeling very little, understanding less, reacting hardly at all to its surroundings.  Yet the opposite is true.  The newborn infant is more fully feeling than he may ever be again; he has a wide open ’sensory window’ which allows him to react wholly as he may never again; and he is born experiencing his new life without an illusory veil of ideas, which almost undoubtedly will never be the case again.”
– IMPRINTS – THE LIFELONG EFFECTS OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE, Arthur Janov, Ph.D., Coward-McCann, Inc. New York, page 13.

“Why,” Leboyer asks, “must the new human being, emerging from the darkness and silence of the womb, be brought out into a blaze of blinding lights and loud voices?  Why, when the vulnerable spine has always been curved, do we insist on holding the newcomer upside down and jerking the back straight?  Why is the baby after the terrifying experience of being separated from the womb, then instantly separated from the mother?  Why, in short, do we treat the infant, not as a human being, but as an object?”
– BIRTH WITHOUT VIOLENCE, Frederick Leboyer, M.D., Alfred A. Knopf, N.Y., 1975, Jacket Cover.

“To stress the seriousness of the birth trauma may seem like exaggerated melodrama to many adults.  It is difficult to imagine the pain involved; to really experience a baby’s suffering requires us to get closer to our own suffering – and that may be too close for comfort.  This is why the birth trauma cannot be adequately imagined.  One cannot imagine what it is like to be squeezed for hours by massive contractions; to be blocked in an unyielding canal or pushed back up the canal by a nurse’s hands; to be suffocated by an overdose of anesthetic, to be drowned in viscous fluid; to be fighting for air; to be squeezed by a doctor’s metal forceps around the head and yanked out unceremoniously – and then to be held upside down in a cold room, spanked sharply by a stranger and removed from the only person a baby knows.  What must it feel like to be in a new world, isolated from human contact in a metallic contraption after almost dying; where every sight and sound is totally new and often assaultive; where blinding lights prevent one’s perception of this new and strange environment?  Indeed, these early experiences become the most memorable – or should I say immemorable – of our lives, for no baby can integrate traumatic pain and keep it in consciousness.  That is why the entire birth process, from conception and pregnancy to delivery and post-delivery, can lay the foundation for later mental and physical disease.  How does this happen?  What are the mechanisms?  We know now that the traumas surrounding birth are engraved as imprints in the developing nervous system of the fetus and newborn.  The birth imprint thus determines physiological and neurological response tendencies, shapes later personality and physiotype, and directs the type of pathology we eventually develop.  Whether we will be constant travelers, compulsive workers, heavy smokers, overeaters, alcoholics, asthmatics; whether we will be aggressive and ambitious ‘upbeat’ types or depressed and pessimistic ‘downbeat’ types; whether we will be prone to cancer, epilepsy, psychosis or even suicide – may all be predetermined by those first precious hours of birth.  Gestation and birth experiences can and do dictate how we act and react for the rest of our lives.  Indeed, giving birth in today’s world usually means giving birth to neurosis.”
– IMPRINTS – THE LIFELONG EFFECTS OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE, Arthur Janov, Ph.D., Coward-McCann, Inc., 1983, page 14.

“The hazards confronting the fetus mount to a climax during the hours of labor.   Birth is the most endangering experience to which most individuals are ever exposed.  The birth process even under optimal, controlled conditions is a traumatic, potentially crippling event for the fetus.”
– JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Organic Causes of Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Abraham Towbin, M.D., 217, No. 9, August 30, 1971, 1213.

“Longitudinal traction incurred in the birth process, especially for assisted delivery of breech or forceps births, is the cause of severe spinal injury detected in still-birth and crib death autopsies.”
– LATENT SPINAL CORD AND BRAIN STEM INJURY IN NEWBORN INFANTS, Developmental Medical Child Neurology, II: 54-68, 1968, Abraham Towbin, M.D.

“It is estimated that physicians use forceps about 70 percent of the time in normal as well as abnormal deliveries.  It is believed, apparently, that the forceps are necessary and helpful.  In extremely difficult births, the use of forceps may be unavoidable, but is this really the case in most births?  Certainly not.”
– IMPRINTS – THE LIFELONG EFFECTS OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE, Arthur Janov, Ph.D., Coward-McCann, Inc., 1983, page 42.

“There is no scientific justification for the routine application of forceps for delivery.  The incidence of delivery by forceps rarely rises above five percent in countries where mothers actively participate in the births of their babies.  In contrast, the incidence of forceps extraction frequently rises to as high as ninety-five percent in some American hospitals.  Research in Europe, where there are more natural births to serve as controls, has demonstrated that, when forceps are used for delivery in order to relieve maternal distress, those infants so delivered are more likely to sustain intracranial hemorrhage and damage.”
– THE CULTURAL WARPING OF CHILDBIRTH, Doris Haire, International Childbirth Education Association, 1972, page 19.

“Between one percent and two percent of pregnancies terminate with neonatal death.  Over fifty thousand newborn deaths occur in the United States each year.  In a large portion of these cases the cause of death goes unexplained; often nothing of significance is uncovered at the routine postmortem examination.  In many instances, however, if the spinal canal is opened, if the cord and brain stem are carefully examined, needful information will be derived; a significant number of neonatal deaths, otherwise unexplained, will yield evidence of spinal and brain stem injury.”
– ARCHIVES OF PATHOLOGY, Spinal Cord And Brain Stem Injury At Birth, Abraham Towbin, M.D., June 1964, page 631.

“Besides a high incidence of maternal mortality, the United States has a neonatal death rate six to nine points higher, per one-thousand live births, than Denmark’s.  The percentage of deaths from birth injuries is also increasing here.  What is Denmark doing that it does not have these problems?  Dr. Mendenhall found that midwives handled 85 percent of all deliveries.  They used drugs infrequently and did nothing to hurry the delivery.  When she told Dr. S. A. Gammelfoft, a leading Danish obstetrician, that she was trying to discover the cause of the huge maternal mortality rate in the United States, he replied that the answer was easy.  ‘You interfere and operate too much,’ he said. ‘We give nature a chance.’”
– THE HIDDEN MALPRACTICE, Gena Corea, Wm. Marrow & Co., N.Y., page 186.

“Gestation and birth thus form an inexorable leveling mechanism, with the brain marred at birth, the potential or performance may be reduced from that of a genius to that of a plain child, or less.  The damage may be slight, imperceptible clinically, or it may spell the difference between brothers, one a highly coordinated athlete and the other an awkward child.”
– JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Organic Causes of Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Abraham Towbin, page 1214, August 30, 1971.

“But obstetrics is big business in the United States.  Nearly 8 percent of practicing physicians are obstetrical specialists.  More than 98 percent of babies are born in hospitals, which give rise to perhaps 15 to 20 million days of hospital care.  One might estimate the business at about four billion dollars a year.”
– THE WASHINGTON POST, Childbirth Without Hospitals, April 3, 1977

“The effect of obstetrical traction was studied by Duncan, who tested the tensile strength of the spinal column in the fresh term fetus. He found that in some instances, with traction of 90 lbs, the vertebral column yielded; the disseverance of the vertebrae took place in the cervical region. Decapitation occurred with the 120 pounds of force. Duncan commented, “This is probably far from being what most obstetricians would regard as a great force.’ ”
– LATENT SPINAL CORD AND BRAIN STEM INJURIES Develop. Med. Child Neurology. 1969, Abraham Towbin.

“Even when severe damage does not occur there may still be lifelong consequences.  When the head is harshly rotated, or is allowed to drop precipitously just as birth is finishing, the birth imprint will be focused in the neck.  I believe this is part of the reason that neck tension is a practically universal ailment in adults – because improper head rotation is a practically universal delivery procedure in Western medicine.”
– IMPRINTS – THE LIFELONG EFFECTS OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE, Arthur Janov, Ph.D., Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, page 43.

“To expose a mother to the possibility of a lifetime of heartache or anguish in order to insure her a few hours of comfort is misguided kindness, for which analgesia and anesthesia for the laboring woman may be the easier route for the nurse or physician, the price of a narcotized mother may be a narcotized or damaged newborn infant whose ultimate potential for learning is forever diminished.”
– THE CULTURAL WARPING OF CHILDBIRTH, Doris Haire, International Childbirth Education, 1972, page 19.

“We are now aware that drugs used during pregnancy can and do cause gross physical congenital defects.  Yet the deeper concern is not with gross defects caused by chemicals, but the subtler and more difficult- to-evaluate effects of drugs on a developing child’s personality, his intelligence and mental abilities as well as his motor coordination and psychological growth.  If drugs can cause arms not to grow and faces to be left open, then they can certainly get into fetal brain cells leading to poor electrical transmissions or storage-ability, interfering or coupling with sub cellular structures, not enough to kill the cells but to affect their functioning, leading to seizures, hyperactivity and decreased intelligence.”
– THE GREATEST BATTLE, Ronald J. Glasser, M.D., Random House, N.Y., 1976, page 73.

“Dr. Caldeyro Barcia also points out that when birth progresses without interference, the mother’s membranes and her ‘bag of water’ remain intact until late in labor, cushioning the fetus’ head against the impact of contractions.  But to induce birth by the amniotomy procedure, the doctor ruptures the membranes prematurely, thus subjecting the baby to a battering he or she would not normally have to endure.  The contractions may squeeze the baby’s suddenly unprotected head, pushing the bones at the top out of alignment.  Dr Barcia found that the parietal bones of the induced-birth baby’s skulls were shoved out of alignment with twice the frequency of infants who had not been induced.  He also found that oxytoxin injections intensified contractions to markedly that they could also cause parietal bone disalignment.”
– THE HIDDEN MALPRACTICE, Gena Corea, Wm. Marrow & Co., N.Y., 1977, pages 199-200.

“In America, birth has become a technological, profit-making event.  Pregnancy is quite literally treated as a disease, with technological-surgical delivery the final remedy for the disease.  Failure to submit to medical machinations for childbirth can result in criminal negligence charges or prosecution for practicing medicine (healing the disease of pregnancy) without a license.  At an average cost of over $1000 to have a baby in this country, as of this writing, and considering the millions of infants being born yearly, a lot of cold cash is at stake, along with a massive investment of ego and power.”
– MAGICAL CHILD, Joseph Chilton Pearce, E.P. Dutton, N.Y., 1977, page 39.

“It might seem that birth by Cesarean section would be the easiest and least traumatic way to be born, since the infant doesn’t have to hazard the rigors of a long labor or a constricting birth canal but is simply lifted out and into the world.  Unfortunately, we have found that traumas to the newborn delivered by C-section are different from – but no less traumatic than- the traumas that occur in a difficult vaginal delivery.”
– IMPRINTS – THE LIFELONG EFFECTS OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE, Arthur Janov, Ph.D., Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, page 36.

Birth has become a procedure rather than a human experience. According to current studies, C-sections are as frequent as 1 in 5 births!  Women are not informed that it does not have to be this way!

In one hospital in Dublin, Ireland, nurses are trained to provide supportive, intimate care for the laboring women, encouraging the mother’s belief in this natural process. Interventions are minimal, labors last half the length of those in the US and the C-section rate has never gone above 6%. One study in JAMA 1991 showed that women who are continuously attended to by a caring person  during their labors had a 68% fewer C-section rate and used 85% less pain medication. In Pithivers , France, labors are never artificially induced, pitocin is never used and medications or anesthesia are only used in C-sections. Their C-section rate is less than 7%.

In spite of the raising consciousness about birthing, hospital births, combined with drugging the mother and limiting her birthing positions can greatly affect the natural progression of birth and result in excessive pulling, twisting and tugging on the newborn’s neck. One obstetric teaching video titled “Human Birth” produced by Lippincott, graphically displays the excessive amount of force used in birth. For your own validation, speak with an obstetric nurse or watch a video of someone giving birth. Any pulling or twisting is due to maternal muscles deadened by drugs or a hasty physician.

In America, childbirth has been turned into a surgical procedure. With the attempt to take the mother out of pain, and allow for easier access of the doctor, we have lost sight of a natural process, causing irreversible damage to the child. We need to remove the fears, which surround the birth process and restore the mother’s faith in the body’s inherent ability to function without outside- in help. We must remind ourselves that birth hurts, and the pain should not be deadened but rather experienced. In fact the whole experience of a natural birth, pain included, is a woman’s initiation into her true maternal power.  To be robbed of this growth process, in addition to injuring the newborn, sometimes beyond repair- is an issue we need to reevaluate and work to change. Many lives are depending upon our commitment to change these current procedures.

As Doctors of Chiropractic we have a tremendous responsibility to educate parents about Spinal Care from conception through childhood. Studies have shown the benefits to the mother receiving specific spinal adjustments during care.1 If the child is not presenting in normal vertex position, the Webster Technique has proven highly effective in removing constraint to the uterus and allows the baby to assume its best position resulting in a less traumatic birth.2 The chiropractic adjustment should be a part of the pregnancy and then the delivery process- caring for the mom during labor with immediate attention to the newborn.

For those children whose parents have not known about the benefits about chiropractic prior to birth and their children have undergone a traumatic birth, chiropractic care in childhood is the means to stop the continued damage from the Birth Trauma Syndrome.

As Doctors of Chiropractic we embody a philosophy in accordance with natural law. We recognize the inherent ability of the body to heal itself and maintain itself in a state of wholeness. Our conviction to this philosophy is an inspiration to mothers who are being treated as if they have a disease which needs to be terminated, rather than a an individual who has been chosen to participate in one of life’s greatest expressions of magnificence- the birth process.

“A woman does not need to give birth in order to be a complete and fulfilled human being, or to express her love and nurturance into the world But if a woman does give birth, she deserves an opportunity to do so in a way that is emotionally and spiritually meaningful to her. In every woman who gives birth there is a meeting of the intimate and the infinite.”  – John Robbins, Reclaiming Our Health

Dr. Eddy Cohen originally printed parts of these notes in “Fearless Chiropractic”
Reprinted with permission.

Copyright Dr. Jeanne Ohm; Makin’ Miracles 1997.
All rights reserved.

1. AMA records released in 1987 during trial in US District Court, Northern Illinois, Eastern Division, No.76 C 3777.
2. Berg G. Hammer, M., Moeller-Neielsen, J.: Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy, Obstetric Gynecology 1988; 71:701-775.