Devorah Steinecker, D.O.

Over 30 Years experience as an adult Neurologist with special training in Pediatric Neurodevelopment and Osteopathic Cranial therapy.

557 Roy St., Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98109

206-523-5437

Newborns & Infants

Birth Trauma: The Most Common Cause of Developmental Delays

by Viola Frymann, D.O., F.A.A.O., F.C.A.

In at least 80% of children with developmental delays, including attention deficits and autism, there is a history of traumatic birth. In each diagnosis there are manifestations of various aspects of cerebral dysfunction, which in simple terms mean that the brain is not functioning as efficiently as it should.

The brain is contained within the bony skull, which at the time of birth is designed to accept the temporary compression of the birth canal, and expand fully when the baby cries immediately after birth. The lower end of the central nervous system is located within the sacrum, the large bone forming the back of the pelvis. This, too, is designed to absorb the compressing forces of the contracting uterus, and then be restored by bodily movements after birth. The vertebral column protects the spinal cord connecting the head and the pelvis.

Problems of labor and delivery may compromise these structural areas and thus disturb the nervous system within, thus interfering with its physiological development. Any of the following could be problematic:

  • False labor before real labor began
  • Premature rupture or leakage of membranes
  • Induction or acceleration of labor by use of medication
  • Presentation of baby in other position than face down
  • Very long (>18 hours) or very rapid ( •Epidural anesthetic
  • Forceps or vacuum extraction
  • Cord around the baby’s neck one or more times
  • Severe slowing of baby’s heart
  • Period of uterine inertia, i.e. contractions stopped or slowed
  • Cesarean section delivery because of lack of progress

The condition of the newborn baby or infant can also provide evidence of the health of its nervous system. Signs of potential difficulty:

  • Delay in sucking of more than 24-48 hrs.
  • Vomiting or spitting up after feeding
  • Arched back or throwing head back when held on mother’s shoulder or lying on the side
  • Asymmetrical motion of arms or legs
  • Spells of inconsolable crying

Lack of sequence or missing stages in motor development going from: rolling over, crawling flat on floor, creeping on hand and knees, cruising around furniture, and walking at approximately one year Any of these signs in the baby suggest that some areas of the central nervous system have been comprised. It is true that sucking may be established in a day or two or more, and that vomiting may stop in a month or two. The arching of the back and extension of the head may be less obvious when progression is made to standing and walking, but then toe-walking may be apparent.

Children of school age who manifest problems may already have been subject to a variety of medicinal interventions. They may also have perceptual dysfunction’s that interfere with visual and auditory skills. These children are in dire need of structural treatment to restore the musculoskeletal integrity of the whole body.

A comprehensive osteopathic approach with precise, gentle, restorative manipulative therapy can help these children immeasurably. The general level of well-being, as well as neurological function, will significantly improve. Adjunct therapies, such as visual and auditory perceptual training, tutoring and a well-balanced diet of whole, natural foods, perhaps with carefully selected supplements, will then be far more effective.

Structural dysfunction resulting from birth trauma can be corrected early so that neurological development progresses satisfactorily. Then academic, behavioral and developmental problems can be averted by establishing or restoring optimal anatomic-physiologic integrity. Therapeutic measures can teach a child how to use the body efficiently. When you have your next baby, have an osteopathic physician evaluate and treat you, the mother, during pregnancy in order to reduce any possible complications during labor and then provide a though evaluation of your baby during the newborn period. This is the essence of prevention.

From Parents with Newborns & Infants

Dear Dr. Steinecker,

osteopathic-medicine-new-born-infant-1When we first came through your door, our then four-month-old daughter Stella had an intense feeding aversion, which had halted her growth. As a result, she was fed through a naso-gastric feeding tube. It was a nightmare. We were losing hope and in a constant state of panic. We were told by other doctors that reflux and a milk protein intolerance were to blame, but even after addressing those issues with medication and avoidance of dairy, she continued to refuse the breast and bottle.

From the moment we met you, we felt energized, supported and more hopeful. You had such confidence in Stella, and your ability to heal her. More than that, you educated us on how trauma from her lengthy birth likely contributed to her feeding difficulties, thereby empowering us with a better understanding of her condition. I remember driving her home from one of her first visits and she nearly finished an entire bottle. We were amazed.

osteopathic-medicine-new-born-infant-2The progress continued throughout the course of treatment and it wasn’t more than a few weeks before her feeding tube was removed for good. Stella is now a happy, healthy one year old who loves to eat. The feeding tube seems so far away-like another lifetime. She is thriving.

Your gifted hands and open heart helped heal our precious girl and we are forever grateful to you for that. Your support of our family and belief in Stella meant so much.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Much Love,

Amber, Cody & Stella

Hi Dr. Devorah,

“I’m emailing you over four months later to tell you how awesome Camille is doing. She is the happiest baby. She is very active and moving all over the place – crawling and starting to climb earlier than most babies we’ve known. Breastfeeding became second nature after all the struggles we had at first. I truly believe your work ushered her into a state of comfort and wellness that was just beyond our grasp before we met you. Happy, healthy and thankful for you! Xoxo”

Katie and Camille

“After working with Dr. Steinecker, my son Henry went from being a very sleepy newborn who struggled with feeding and head control to a bright-eyed, happy baby with a ton of energy. He quickly moved from the 11th percentile for weight to the 23rd and started rolling over, pushing up, and holding his head high without any difficulty. We are so grateful for the improvements! It has been a life-changing experience for the whole family!” – Amanda R., Seattle WA

Hi there!

I just thought I’d send you some pictures of our little man! He is 11 weeks now and I return to work 3 days a week next Wednesday. It’s flown by! I am feeling good lately but miss my monthly visits to the office! It sounds like you guys are busy busy, and helping lots of people like usual! I bet that August wedding is fast approaching!
lots of love,
Jed, Jessica and Kaiser