The Effect of Childbirth on Mom's and Baby’s Spines

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Birth is a beautiful thing. It definitely has its not-so-pretty moments, many of which involve bodily fluids of various kinds, but it is undoubtedly miraculous and incredible. A new life is beginning and a family is growing, and that is beautiful.

Most moms and moms-to-be know that healing after childbirth takes time, but they may not realize the full extent of the healing that needs to occur. They expect soreness and a squishy tummy, and they expect a bit of a learning curve when it comes to breastfeeding, learning to carry their babies comfortably, and balancing the duties of motherhood. But most moms don’t know that the spine and the surrounding tendons, ligaments, and muscles also need to heal and get used to a new post-baby body.

Additionally, many don’t know how traumatic the process can be on their sweet little babies. Even if you have the most peaceful labor and delivery with minimal intervention and your little one had an easy transition into the world, birth trauma occurred in some way, shape, or form, and if not dealt with appropriately, it can lead to future issues, both short-term and long-term.  


Over the course of nine months, a mom’s body changes a great deal in order to carry a growing baby and prepare for birth. To account for her growing uterus and consistently increasing weight, the rest of her body shifts accordingly, leading to loosened ligaments and more flexibility within the musculoskeletal system. In fact, her lumbar spine allows for increased lordosis (or inward curvature of the spine) to balance the weight of her growing belly. After the baby is born, Mom’s body has to regain its non-child-carrying body, including normal spinal curvature and more stable ligaments.


Today’s medical model of delivering babies is widely accepted in the US, but it is not without concern and possible harm to babies. Most babies can be born vaginally with no interventions and with no resulting problems. However, many parents-to-be and doctors like the process to go faster than Mom’s body dictates, and interventions are often utilized unnecessarily. These interventions include using hormones to start or speed up labor, delivery by forceps or vacuum extraction, and Caesarean section deliveries. Not only have these interventions been linked to both short- and long-term health concerns in infants and children, but they increase the likelihood of spinal trauma caused by the labor and delivery process.

Babies may experience spinal cord damage, brain stem injury, or spinal subluxations (misalignments) from the birthing process, and these conditions become more likely to occur when interventions are employed. These problems stem from the extreme traction that occurs when they’re being delivered, likely due to rotational stresses or hyperextension of the spine and spinal cord. Regardless of if baby is born naturally, vaginally with an intervention or painkiller, or by Caesarian section, newborns almost always have some sort of spinal misalignment due to the journey through the birth canal or their hasty removal from the uterus via C-section.

Chiropractic Care for New Moms and Newborns

Since both Mom and baby’s bodies and spines need to heal and recover from childbirth, it is incredibly important for both individuals to seek out chiropractic care immediately following birth. A Bentonville chiropractor, like Dr. Tom at Arbor Vitae Chiropractic, can help women recover from childbirth and newborns have the best possible start in life. For more information about pregnancy and post-partum chiropractic or pediatric chiropractic, get in touch with Dr. Tom and his team at Arbor Vitae Chiropractic.



Spear, D., & Alcantara, J.  “Resolution of Birth Trauma Sequelae Following Adjustment of Vertebral Subluxations in an Infant.” Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health, 2016: 28-31.

Choahan, N. “Birth Interventions ‘Negatively Impact Child’s Long-Term Health.’” The Sydney Morning Herald, 2018 Mar.