Objective: A review of the medical literature was undertaken to determine cause, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention of injuries resulting from birth trauma. The primary focus was the neonate, though infant, child and adult were also considered because the effects of birth trauma can be life-long.
Data source: A compilation of case studies and review articles were extracted from numerous "MEDLINE" literature searches. Key Terms included: Birth Trauma, Central Nervous System Injuries, Musculoskeletal Injuries, Stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Cerebral Palsy, Brachial Plexus Palsies (Erb's and Klumpke's), Neonatal-Infantile Respiratory Distress, Obstetric Accidents (Forceps, Vacuum Cup and Cesarean Deliveries), Subluxation, Chiropractic Treatment. American, British, Danish and German studies were included to show the universality of the problem.
Study selection: Findings were selected on the basis of a clear connection between birth trauma and the resulting symptoms, syndromes and/or death.
Data extraction: Findings were compiled by studying articles from the literature search. The quality and validity were assessed by corresponding references, method of documentation, number of case studies, length of time over which studies took place and presence of follow-up documentation.
Data synthesis: Inadequacies and source discrepancies were also included with regard to cause and types of obstetric accidents.
Conclusion: Birth trauma remains an underpublicized and, therefore, an undertreated problem. There is a need for further documentation and especially more studies directed toward prevention. In the meantime, manual treatment of birth trauma injuries to the neuromusculoskeletal system could be beneficial to many patients not now receiving such treatment, and it is well within the means of current practice in chiropractic and manual medicine.