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It was Memorial Day (May 25th) back in 2009. Instead of celebrating at a family BBQ like most people were that day, we were racing behind an ambulance heading from one hospital to another. Soon that ambulance would not be fast enough, so things turned to a helicopter taking our hours-old infant son Oliver to a Level 3 NICU hospital an hour away.
We were in absolute shock and disbelief. None of this was going according to plan. We had no idea what to do at that moment, but as time would tell (and this article will explain)… we actually knew exactly what to do.
Oliver’s is the perfect example of birth trauma. His birth was extremely fast and ended up being very traumatic. He was delivered on the very first push, shooting out like a rocket almost immediately after my wife began pushing. Our birth team (midwife, doula, etc.) was not prepared and, simply put, did not catch him, resulting in birth trauma and physical injury to his brainstem and neck.
My wife delivered him on “all fours” on the bed, leading to Oliver falling and landing with his head and neck flexed on the bed. Essentially, whiplash-like birth trauma to the most precious and important aspect of human health – the brainstem, spinal cord, and autonomic nervous system.
Since that exact area of the brain and nervous system are responsible for activating and regulating vital life functions such as breathing and heartbeat, he had neither from the birth trauma.
There was no cry, no movement, nothing. He was blue (cyanotic) and had no heartbeat.
Those very first few minutes felt like hours.
Immediately after his birth trauma, the medical team hooked him up to oxygen and emergency life-saving medical technology, and immediately I did something that happens in maybe 1 out of millions and millions of births – I flipped him over, umbilical cord still attached, and made a chiropractic adjustment to the part of his nervous system known to activate breathing, heartbeat, and fluid release!
Yep, thank God for the medical team… and thank God that I was a Pediatric Chiropractor who had spent the last 2 years of my life studying all things birth trauma and its role in disrupting and damaging brain and neurological function.
This is the sort of story that only God can bring to life. We saw both the incredible life-saving results of modern medicine and then the amazing life-restoring benefits of chiropractic care! Without each of them, Oliver would not have the incredible, full life he lives today!
What is Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma is any trauma or injury, most commonly physical, that happens during the labor and delivery process and often leads to lifelong health challenges, disabilities, and neurological problems for the child.
In our opinion, birth trauma is the single most overlooked causative factor of the massive rise in chronic illness in our kids today. Of course, it leads to short-term challenges like lowered APGAR scores and difficulty nursing, but the real issue is the long-term health and neurological development consequences of birth trauma.
Again and again, we see birth trauma correlated with things like:
- Difficulty latching, nursing, breastfeeding
- Sleep disturbances and disorders
- Reflux, colic, constipation
- Torticollis, plagiocephaly, shoulder dystocia, etc.
- Cerebral palsy
- Epilepsy (seizures)
- Autism, sensory processing disorders, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental challenges
- Speech, motor, social, and emotional delays, and disorders
- Chronic ear infections, croup, chronic cough, RSV, and other immune challenges
What Causes Birth Trauma?
Birth trauma is most commonly physical in nature. It can come from all the various forms of birth intervention like epidurals, inductions, forceps or vacuum extraction, fetal cord monitoring, and c-section deliveries – such as in Landon’s case.
Other common risk factors that may lead to birth trauma or birth injury include:
- The position of the baby
- High levels of medical intervention
- A large baby
- Lengthy or very short painful labor
- An unusual or small-shaped pelvis
Additionally, it’s important to note that birth trauma can vary significantly in severity. Most birth trauma cases go completely undetected and unnoticed by the traditional medical team.
Birth can be extremely traumatic for both mother and baby, yet documented and described as “normal” and ordinary. Sadly in today’s world, instances like birth trauma have to go dramatically wrong to get the attention of the traditional medical system.
To keep it quite simple, the longer labor and delivery go on, and the more intervention starts to stack up, the more likely birth trauma will occur.
What are the Effects of Birth Trauma?
As listed above, the negative health effects of birth trauma on the child are far-reaching and can be connected to almost every pediatric health condition.
The reason for this is quite simple to understand – the system most negatively affected by physical (and toxic) birth trauma is the central or autonomic nervous system. And the nervous system controls and coordinates every other tissue, organ, and cell in the body.
When the function of this system is altered and thrown off course right in the very first moments of life from birth trauma, it creates a condition known as dysautonomia.
Nerding out just a bit more, the real key to all of these early and later life health challenges are tied to a very important nerve called the vagus nerve. The Vagus Nerve is responsible for coordinating our heart rate, breathing, digestion, immune function, social and emotional regulation, and so much more.
The Vagus Nerve is most easily injured via birth trauma simply because of its anatomical location.
This vitally important nerve originates (comes from) the lower brainstem area and then makes its way down through the cervical spine (neck) and all the way into the thorax and abdomen. This is why it’s long been called the “wandering” nerve.
Perhaps more appropriately, we call it the “Air Traffic Control” or “Operating System” nerve. It truly does need to be at 100% function for our children to have 100% health throughout life.
This physical injury to the Vagus Nerve, brainstem, and other areas of the nervous system via birth trauma is what Pediatric Chiropractors call a subluxation.
Natural, Drug-Free Pediatric Chiropractic Care for Birth Trauma
“There is a 99% chance Oliver will have a life full of neurological damage and challenges such as seizures, cerebral palsy, and autism. He’ll likely never walk and never talk.”
That was what the Harvard-trained medical neurologist at Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago told us once Oliver had made it out of his three (3) life-saving surgeries from birth trauma.
I’ll never forget that conversation, the room we were in, and the look of despair on my beautiful wife’s face when we heard that prognosis.
But God had a different plan for Oliver. Because he had a different plan for me.
“I don’t believe in chiropractic.”
Those are words I’ve heard again and again in my career as a Pediatric and Family Chiropractor. Not near as much anymore today, thankfully, as parents are getting more educated and informed about birth trauma and chiropractic care and feeling more empowered to make the sort of healthcare decisions they’ve long wanted to. But I’ve heard it plenty nonetheless.
I’ve got to tell you, moms and dads – I didn’t “believe” those medical neurologists when they told me my son was certain to have a life full of seizures and neurological disabilities from birth trauma.
Why? Because I knew what they didn’t. I knew that neurologically-focused chiropractic adjustments could and would restore full function to his brain, brainstem, vagus nerve, and autonomic nervous system.
At this point in my career, just 3 years in, I had already been able to help teenagers and young adults with seizures, anxiety, autism, and other chronic neurological challenges see vast improvements and healing from scenarios related to birth trauma… so, why couldn’t Oliver?
While he had experienced true brain injury and damage from birth trauma (his original MRI and EEG findings were so bad that only 20% of children with that level of damage even live past age one), he also had one very important thing on his side – neuroplasticity.
That is another article for a different day, but that big word simply means one thing – the brain and nervous system can heal.
God designed us to be resilient, adaptable, and “plastic” with our nervous systems. In fact, the younger the child and “newer” the brain – the faster, bigger, and more complete healing we can expect!
Chiro Miracle Man
I provided neurologically-focused, tonal adjustments to Oliver’s nervous system multiple times per day during his 6-week NICU stay post-birth trauma. Then once home, I adjusted him daily for months on end.
As an infant, he was not all the way in the clear from the consequences of birth trauma. He struggled with every cold, seasonal change, teething, and a growth spurt. Each time he’d get congested and have to battle through croup and RSV.
Once again, we were faced with a choice – traditional medications (Tylenol, antibiotics, steroids, etc.) or chiropractic adjustments and natural measures.
We had already gotten him off all seizure medications before we left the hospital, so the last thing we wanted to do was turn to these run of medications for his immune system and leave him with immune suppression and weakness for life.
We fought through. And we made it through!
That picture was taken as we visited the same NICU that saved his life to help support and care for another infant and family in need a few years back.
Oliver never had another seizure. His EEG and MRI completely cleared up. His cardiac and respiratory function is 100% perfect. His digestive and immune systems are strong as a bull (we live on a farm). His entire brain and neurodevelopment have also been on point!
He loves God, is an A+ student, an amazing athlete, and the most humble, heart-centered, and helpful kid out there! He’s our Chiro Miracle Man!
Get Help Now
If you suspect that some or all of your child’s health challenges are possibly related to birth trauma and subluxation, you at least deserve to find out!
Our PX Docs are the only trained professionals in all of healthcare who really know how to dig deep enough to look for birth trauma and then be able to help.
Get connected, schedule a consultation, and give Pediatric Chiropractic a chance to find and care for your child’s birth trauma.
God bless and be well.
Birth trauma, or birth injury, is a term used to describe any type of physical injury that occurs during the birthing process. The most common types of birth trauma include injuries to the head, neck, and shoulders. These injuries can have both short-term and long-term effects on the health and development of the child. Here are some recent studies on birth trauma and health outcomes for the child:
- “Birth Trauma and Its Effects on Breastfeeding: A Prospective Cohort Study” (2018) – This study examined the relationship between birth trauma and breastfeeding difficulties. The results showed that infants who experienced birth trauma were more likely to have breastfeeding difficulties, which can lead to a range of health problems in the long term.
- “Perinatal Risk Factors for Childhood Anxiety Disorders: A Population-Based Study” (2021) – This study explored the link between birth trauma and childhood anxiety disorders. The results showed that children who experienced birth trauma were at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders later in life.
- “Impact of Obstetric Trauma on Early Childhood Development: A Longitudinal Cohort Study” (2019) – This study investigated the impact of birth trauma on early childhood development. The results showed that infants who experienced birth trauma were more likely to experience developmental delays and behavioral problems in early childhood.
- “Birth Trauma and Child Neurodevelopment: A Systematic Review” (2021) – This review analyzed the existing literature on birth trauma and child neurodevelopment. The results showed that birth trauma is associated with a range of neurodevelopmental disorders, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and developmental delays.
- “Impact of Birth Trauma on Maternal Mental Health: A Systematic Review” (2020) – This review examined the impact of birth trauma on maternal mental health. The results showed that mothers who experience birth trauma are more likely to develop postpartum depression and anxiety.