Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

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Choosing a pre-school

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Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...


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Pelvic floor exercises

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Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...


The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Caesarean vs Natural Delivery - A Chiropractic Point of View

There is much speculation about the benefits and disadvantages of the different types of delivery you may have. As it is very difficult to do research on babies, there are very few hard facts to go on. So when parents have to choose which birth method they want, the decision can become very confusing as the information available is very varied and largely based on personal experiences or opinions.


We need to remember that in natural birth, the twisting and turning through the birth canal is very important for baby’s passage into the world. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, helps squeeze the amniotic fluid out the lungs, it helps align the neck and spine and it plays a very important role in stimulating and inhibiting various reflexes that baby needs to begin his journey in life.


In private practice, chiropractors see babies for some of the following reasons: irritable bowel symptoms such as cramping, excessive winds, bloatedness and any of the following colic symptoms such as inconsolable crying, which may be at a specific time of the day, baby may go red in the face, the hands will fist and the legs will tuck in. What we assess baby for is a chiropractic subluxation.


A chiropractor’s main concern is the spine and nervous system. A pair of spinal nerves exit between each vertebra ultimately supplying every organ, tissue and cell in the body. If there is displacement of any vertebra, called a subluxation, it can cause the nerve exiting at that vertebral level to become irritated, thus interfering with the message that is being relayed via that nerve. For example, if the nerve supplying the bowel system is irritated then the message to the muscles of the bowel is over-stimulated causing excessive cramping.


Chiropractic subluxation is the result of any one or a combination of physical trauma, chemical irritants or mental (emotional) stresses. In the neonate, physical trauma can be isolated to the birth process and handling errors.


In research, much attention has been focused on the use of forceps and suction extraction and the effect on the spine and it has been shown that these methods can put strain on the neck and skull. However, research has also shown that the potential for subluxation development may have occurred much earlier in the delivery process. This is evidenced by the fact that many infants who had ‘normal’ occiput anterior, non-instrumental delivery demonstrate clinically significant subluxation as early as the first day of life and commonly within the neonatal period (birth-6 weeks).1


Although there has not been much research conducted on the impact of Casarean delivery on the spine, there is no guarantee that the cervical spine (neck) was not mechanically strained. Depending on the length of the abdominal incision and the urgency of the operation, the child may have been pulled out forcefully.2 This could result in strain to the neck and spine.


In clinical practice, there is a much higher presentation of babies with the above-mentioned symptoms among the Caesarean born babies than the vaginal delivery births, suggesting that there is something else contributing the onset of these symptoms. In my practice 9 out of every 10 babies that I treat are Caesarean deliveries.


No matter what type of delivery you had or choose to have, it is advisable that you take your baby for a chiropractic assessment within the first few weeks after birth. Make sure that your chiropractor is comfortable working on babies, it is advisable that you choose a practitioner who specialises in working with babies.

 Dr Sonja Kneppers. To make an appointment with Dr Kneppers, phone her on 011 478 2346 or go to



Chiropractic Pediatrics, A Clinical Handbook. Neil J. Davies. Churchill Livingstone. 2000, pages 2-5.

Manual Therapy in Children: Proposals for an etiological model. Heiner Biedermann, MD. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, March 2005 (Vol. 28, Issue 3, pages 1-15).