It is undoubtedly true that modern birthing techniques have saved countless newborns who would otherwise have died. It could also be said that the birthing process as we know it today may be responsible for causing trauma in some newborns that cannot be easily dissipated. The use of devices such as forceps and suction, Caesarean section, and drugs given to the mother, have the potential to disrupt the natural rhythm and flow of the birth experience for both mother and baby. For example, births are often rushed by flooding the mothers’ body with Pitocin, an artificial hormone. This increases the strength of the contractions, which often necessitates the need for powerful pain reducing drugs through epidural injection. This may increase compression and trauma on the child.
New parents may wish to consider a craniosacral therapy evaluation and treatment. Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a very gentle, non-invasive approach that will locate and dissipate any stress or structural strain that occurred during the birthing process. CST practitioners use gentle contact to evaluate the craniosacral system by testing for the ease of motion and rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid. Simple manual techniques are then used to release restrictions anywhere in the structure, fascia or fluids.
With any delivery, common trauma includes compression of the head and spine. The critical Atlas-Occipital joint, cranial base, cranial bones and intracranial membranes receive and may retain incredible stresses. Compression can negatively influence function of the brain stem, cranial nerves and spinal cord, and may inhibit cerebrospinal fluid flow, crucial to the delivery of nutrients to and removal of metabolic waste from the brain. Simply put, when tissue and systems are confined and compressed, they just don’t work as well.
Some of the early symptoms of compression/trauma are neck strain known as torticollis, colic, digestion and elimination problems such as gas and constipation, inability to be comforted and failure to thrive. Later a host of problems may arise, such as sensory integration dysfunction, motor coordination difficulties, developmental delays, learning disabilities and other functional deficits.
What should be an awesome, inspiring experience can turn into a traumatic event for many. It was nearly so for my family’s birth experience, and I believe it is somewhat typical. Hospital staff insisted that a Pitocin drip was needed immediately upon arriving at the hospital. We resisted at first, but after multiple attempts to convince us we finally gave in, with potentially disastrous results. Immediately after receiving Pitocin our baby’s heart rate decreased, and the health care professionals began to panic. They insisted we now inject as much Pitocin into the system, as quickly as possible, to get that baby out now! That seemed to defy logic. Why would we increase something that hurt him? I insisted they remove the Pitocin from the IV. Immediately after that, our baby’s heart rate quickly returned to normal and his and his mom’s natural process was back on course. The doctor now insisted that we allow her to screw an intrauterine heart monitor into the top of our baby’s head to monitor his dangerously erratic heartbeat. When we refused she left the room.
Twenty-five hours into the labor process a small dose of Pitocin was again given and this time my wife and our son were ready. Twenty-nine hours after the water broke Luke was safely born into this world, and I was there, of course, to administer CST. He is now a happy, healthy 4-year-old.
What we need to realize as parents of that beautiful, newborn child is that no matter what our perception is of the birth event, our child has had their own experience and often it is a traumatic one for the mind, body and spirit. CST can help alleviate birth trauma, eliminate colic, relieve torticollis or neck stress, solve problems with eating digestion and elimination, and remedy speech and developmental issues in toddlers.
My first mentor, Dr. John Upledger, the developer of CST, believes that a CST evaluation should be protocol at all hospitals and every birth. There may not be a craniosacral system problem, but a CST evaluation of newborns can take as little as 20 minutes. It could make all the difference in the world in the lives of parents and their precious babies.
Ken DiPersio, BCST, CST-T, NMT, LMT is a Florida Licensed Massage Therapist, with 21 years’ experience treating infant to elderly clients. Ken earned certification in Neuromuscular Therapy with Judith Walker-Delaney (1991), Biomechanical Craniosacral Therapy with Dr. John Upledger (1997), and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Michael Shea, PhD (2011). He is a national speaker and instructor for Craniosacral Therapy through Cross Country Education. He has taught over 300 classes to professionals and inspired thousands of therapists and clients toward health. DiPersio practices CST at Full Spectrum Health in Sarasota; call 941-952-1200 for more information and a free preliminary evaluation.