C-section births impact infants in a few important ways. It has an effect on the infant, but it also has an effect on the mother. They are both in it together, but there are a lot of different things that can really occur with a C-section.
The first thing is that, with a C-section, the baby does not pass through the birth canal. When the baby passes through the birth canal, remembering that their heads, the skulls, aren’t fully formed, there’s some flexibility, and when the baby passes through the birth canal, it gives it a big squeeze to the head, which stimulates the start of the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid, which is extremely important for proper neural regulation and neural development in the baby. That gets that started. When the baby is born with a C-section, it does not have that big squeeze and does not stimulate that start.
Another thing that’s very important is that when the baby passes through the birth canal, that mouth is open. The first population of probiotics, the proper bacteria that the baby needs to lead an active, healthy life and have proper digestion are given to the baby as it passes through the birth canal. Again, if it never passes through the birth canal, it will have a few bacteria, but the bacteria that are populating the baby’s intestinal areas and tract are really going to be very homogeneous. It is only going to be one or two types of bacteria, and we need a multitude of different bacteria in order to be healthy.
There are additional things. There are studies that show that the baby does not bond properly to the mother when they are taken via C-section. The mother does not have the high oxytocin connection hormone, which really allows the mother to bond to the baby and initiates the baby’s ability to breastfeed. All these different things are so important that the baby doesn’t always get.
Also, people think that C-sections are safer and less traumatic to the baby, but remember that the incision that they make for a C-section is nowhere near as elastic as the birth canal. So it can put some extra stress on the baby’s neck and shoulders as the doctor is pulling the baby out through that small incision that is not super elastic and designed to really expand and contract as the baby passes through.
Those are some of the major things. Also, there are breathing difficulties when C-sections are done early. We can see increased risk of asthma. Mother and infant detachment can be more likely delayed and it can cause problems with breastfeeding, as well. There are a host of issues. We could go on for hours and hours, but those are really the biggest ones that are most important to really talk about.
Again, the thing that I recommend is that mothers get checked while they are pregnant because when they are pregnant, it puts a lot more stress on the spine. When the spine is in proper alignment, it’s easy for the baby to pass through the birth canal. There are lots of studies showing that chiropractic care, particularly the Webster Technique, can increase the speed of the actual delivery and they usually require less intervention, less need for medications and epidurals because the birth delivery can be less painful.
Seeking out and trying to have a natural birth is something that can really prevent these things. There is lots of research that shows if you’re planning on having a natural birth and you’re working with a doula, the possibility of you having that natural birth are easily two to three times greater than if you just go it alone.
Dr. Gregg D. Rubinstein, D.C., is a midtown Manhattan chiropractor with over 20 years of experience providing customized chiropractic treatment services to a wide range of clients in the Midtown Manhattan/West New York City area. Dr. Gregg Rubinstein and 57th Street Chiropractic can be reached at (917) 534-6484 and is located at 119 West 57th St. in New York, NY.