What is CranioSacral Therapy and Can it Contribute to Better Birth?

Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are miraculous processes that highlight the power of a woman’s body.  However, these processes can also be difficult, painful, and complicated, which is why in light of recent research, we are asking – “What is CranioSacral Therapy and Can it Contribute to Better Birth?” This article will explore research on one of the latest strategies aimed at providing healthier and safer pregnancies and deliveries, which is CranioSacral Therapy.

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a form of massage that releases tension, relieves pain, and stimulates the immune system.  Using gentle pressure, the therapist gradually releases tension in the soft tissues around the central nervous system.  Much of the body’s functions are guided by the central nervous system, of which the craniosacral system is a large part.  The fluid and membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain are a critical part of overall health.

CST works by releasing stress and tension in the membranes and tissue surrounding the craniosacral system, which promotes the body’s natural healing ability and immune system response.  Craniosacral therapy is said to reduce the need for more invasive techniques during the prenatal period, and researchers are highly supportive of CST as an integration into mainstream labor and delivery practices.

As birth injury attorneys, we want to keep our readers informed about emerging strategies to improve birth experiences and reduce the risk of injury.  If you have questions about birth injuries, contact our office today.

Can Craniosacral Therapy Contribute to Better Births?

During pregnancy and delivery, a woman’s body goes through a variety of changes, and in many ways, is in constant communication with the infant.  A woman’s body often “knows” what to do, but the stress and strain of delivery complicate the process.  CST is now being viewed as a means of helping a mother prepare for labor and delivery physically and mentally.

During pregnancy and delivery, CST can help relieve pain, lower stress, and create a more positive experience for mother and child.  Researchers have also noted the following:

  • CST has successfully been used in place of Pitocin to augment or start delivery.
  • Mothers receiving CST have been shown to progress through the first stage of labor without prolonged labor.
  • Infants whose mother’s received an epidural and CST showed no negative effects from the epidural.
  • No infants born to mother’s receiving CST required resuscitative efforts.
  • Mother’s receiving CST report faster healing and better adjustment compared to women who did not receive CST.
  • Women who received CST reported breastfeeding was accomplished more easily.
  • Use of CST produces consistent results across studies.

CranioSacral Therapy for the Postpartum Period

Not only does CST appear to aid in better pregnancies and birth experiences, but research shows that some CST methods are also applicable and helpful during the postpartum period.  Consider the following:

  • Using CST during pregnancy and/or delivery can make changes on a cellular level that will carry over into the postpartum period.
  • One technique that can be considered CST is that of “Kangaroo Care” or the skin-to-skin bonding that many hospitals encourage, especially in NICU’s.
  • CST can be useful in helping infants latch on during breastfeeding.
  • CST has been shown to help relieve tension and compression caused by posture changes during pregnancy.
  • CST for the mother has been shown to:
    • Reduce fatigue
    • Improve energy
    • Decrease stress
    • Decrease pain and inflammation
    • Increase confidence
    • Improve postpartum depression

In addition to these promising elements of CST, there are currently ongoing studies examining the impact of CST on postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  While research already shows a positive correlation between CST and improved pregnancy and delivery outcomes, researchers note that more information and study is still needed.  Any sort of “alternative” or “non-traditional” method in a healthcare setting requires a great deal of study before being integrated.  For many expectant parents, however, CST may be the key to unlocking a safe, positive, and healthy pregnancy and delivery experience.

Could CranioSacral Therapy Reduce Birth Injuries?

There are many reasons why birth injuries occur.  Some injuries are caused by medical conditions impacting the mother or child.  Other injuries are caused by negligent actions on the part of a healthcare provider.  There is certainly some promise for CST reducing the risk of birth injuries caused by medical conditions impacting the mother.  By promoting the body’s healing response and supporting the immune system, pregnant mothers are better able to manage the natural stress caused by pregnancy.

As for birth injuries caused by negligence, it is doubtful that CST could reduce the risk of these injuries.  It may be helpful in treating birth injuries after-the-fact, but injuries caused by negligence are the result of an individual’s poor decision-making or mistakes.  Unfortunately, negligence is a risk that cannot be easily mitigated due to the nature of human beings.

If you have been impacted by a birth injury, you may find it beneficial to contact your healthcare provider about CST as a possible treatment.  If the injuries were caused by negligence, you may also find it helpful to contact Brown & Brothers to discuss your legal rights.  Learn more about birth injuries and what options you may have to pursue financial compensation by filling out our online form to schedule a free case review.

 

Sources:

Does CranioSacral Therapy Contribute to a Better Birth?

https://www.upledger.com/therapies/faq.php