Common Obstetrical Procedures and Their Link to Autism - Restricted Maternal Position

Author // Jeanne Ohm, DC

Article Index
Common Obstetrical Procedures and Their Link to Autism
Mercury in Pregnancy
Restricted Maternal Position
Umbilical Cord Clamping
All Pages

Restricted Maternal Position

In addition to the direct toxic side effects of epidurals, once given an epidural, the mother is confined to her bed, usually on her back. Restricted motion in labor interferes with normal pelvic biomechanics of the laboring mother. On her back, the normal pivitol action of her sacro-illiac joints becomes impaired, her sacrum becomes restricted, and the progress of labor can slow down and even stop. Difficult and halted labors due to controlled maternal positioning lead to further pain and nerve system stress for the mother and baby.

Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) is used to determine fetal distress despite the lack of efficacy shown for its use. Research shows it does not improve birth outcome and may in fact hinder it. Again, restricted maternal position used with EFM may be the primary reason for increased birth complications and fetal injury.

Once fetal distress has been determined, mechanical interventions are implemented. Here is where the most neurological damage can occur. One medical researcher on birth trauma, Abraham Towbin, MD, tells us, “Mechanical stress imposed by obstetric manipulation—even the application of standard orthodox procedures—may prove intolerable to the fetus…Spinal cord and brain stem injuries often occur during the process of birth but frequently escape diagnosis. Respiratory depression in the neonate is a cardinal sign of much injury. In infants, there may be lasting neurological defects reflecting the primary injury.”

Injury from routine birthing procedures causes damage to the baby’s delicate brain and spinal cord. When there is damage to the respiratory centers in the brain stem, the baby’s oxygen intake is compromised. Impaired nerve function, however insidious it may be, can compromise all current and future aspects of the baby’s health and well-being.

Forceps, Vacuum Extraction

These 2 invasive procedures occur as a result of all preceding birth interventions discussed. They have grave effects on the baby’s future brain function. Abraham Towbin, MD, expert on birth trauma tells us, “Forceful pulling on the baby’s neck particularly when combined with stretching of the spine…has been considered the most important cause of infant spinal and brain stem injury.”

A recent study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine revealed startling data. It reported, “Difficult labor itself and the method of delivery may lead to brain injuries and deaths in babies.” In another study, Abraham Towbin, MD, reports, “Survival of the newborn is governed mainly by the integrity and function of the vital centers in the brain stem. Yet paradoxically, the importance of injury at birth to the brain stem and spinal cord are matters which have generally escaped lasting attention.”


As seen above, C-sections are frequently caused by the cascading effect of the numerous interventions and procedures of modern obstetrics. The current rise in C-sections is alarming. The World Health organization says our C-section rate should be about 12%, and yet we see the nation’s average C-section rate as high as 33%. A baby born by C-section is 3 to 4 times more likely to have autism says George Malcom Morley, a frequently published OB/Gyn. One hospital in Britain scheduled all mothers for elective C-sections 1 week prior to their due dates resulting in a 21 times higher rate of autism then neighboring hospitals.

Mothers are being erroneously convinced that cesareans could actually be better than a natural process! Unfortunately, they are not aware of the dangers and resulting injuries associated with them. During this surgical procedure, most women experience a great tugging sensation as the doctor is pulling on the baby. The struggle and pulling used to extract a baby out from the mother’s small incision is often not seen by the parents. Trauma to the baby’s spine and the resulting respiratory impairment is escalated. Is this the reason for the high correlation between C-sections and autism?

Another deficit that C-section babies experience is in their level of “friendly bacteria” in their gut. Because they do not pass through the vaginal canal, they are not exposed to these helpful bacteria at birth and their immune system development suffers from this deficit. With many indications that autism and immune system function are related, it is imperative we choose providers who will support our inherent ability to give birth naturally.

Finally, C-sections usually have immediate cord clamping.George Malcolm Morley, MB, ChB, FACOG, author of numerous papers on the dangers of immediate cord clamping reports, “C-section babies are four times more likely to be autistic than vaginal deliveries.”