Here is a wonderful video showing what happens from conception to birth. Don't worry, it's all computer animation and no babies were harmed in the process. What is interesting for an osteopath is notice how early all the important structures are formed (within the first 12 weeks) and we are mostly just getting larger after that. Also, look at how the baby has to twist one way and reverse to get out at birth. This may result in birth strains, especially if the labour is a long one. If you are interested in the journey from conception to birth, look out for this really good 3 part documentary Countdown to Life available on ABC iView.
When I walk the dog, it's my podcast-listening time. My favourite is Radiolab, and this recent one had me gobsmacked. It's about a couple having twins, but very early on, they learn that one of the twins won't survive due to a severe malformation of the brain (anencephaly). Despite the tragedy of losing a child a week after the birth, the couple decide to donate Thomas' organs.
The podcast tracks down some of the research labs which received Thomas' genetic material. Because Thomas and his surviving brother Callum are identical twins, it can really help us understand how the same embryos in the same womb can develop in vastly different ways.
So how does this relate to osteopathy? Osteopaths, especially cranial osteopaths, are fascinated by embryology. This study of how external factors can influence prenatal development is called epigenetics. In the future, epigenetics may help explain why some babies are born with cleft palates, tongue ties or hip dysplasia. One of the research projects found that there were 1000 epigenetic differences between Thomas and Callum, which obviously had a profound effect on life and death. Listening to this podcast really made me appreciate how much of nature we don't understand and take for granted.
All entries complied by osteopath Dr Wei Chua unless otherwise stated.