Osteopathy during pregnancy
During pregnancy it produces the largest postural change that a woman’s body will undergo. For many years, Osteopaths have used their skills to help relieve pregnancy pain and the aches and pains caused by weight and posture changes during and after pregnancy.
Labour and pregnancy are completely natural events but sometimes due to a variety of mechanical and physical complications, it can be more painful than they should be. For many women pregnancy can mean having to cope with a whole range of symptoms from back pain to morning sickness.
Changes during Pregnancy
As the baby grows in the womb its extra weight results in a changed centre of gravity, which causes the spinal curves to become more exaggerated resulting in posture changes from week to week. This can place strain on muscles, ligaments and joints throughout the spine and pelvis, leading to a variety of aches and pains in the lower back, groin and legs. As breast weight increases, this also causes changes to the upper spinal curves increasing stress and pain in the upper back and neck. Hormonal factors can also play a part in the mechanical changes of the body. Relaxin, a hormone secreted during pregnancy has a loosening affect on the ligaments, especially around the pelvis. The pelvis and abdomen is the most obvious area of change during pregnancy as the baby grows and the pelvis changes shape to prepare for labour. The change of shape and with the loosening of the ligaments can leave the pelvic joints (sacro-iliac joints, pubic symphasis) more vulnerable to injury and pain.
What can Osteopathy Do?
Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy is a wonderfully gentle way of helping the body adapt to the changes which are taking place. The aim of Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy is to manage postural and biomechanical factors to help prevent aches and pains which then may reduce more serious mechanical problems such as symphasis pubis dysfunction, sciatica or sacro-iliac problems. Expectant mothers often want to avoid taking unnecessary medication throughout the pregnancy which is why Osteopathy is a good way of achieving natural pain relief.
Advice from your Osteopath can help you to adapt your posture and learn to use your body correctly throughout pregnancy. The Osteopath will also be able to give you the best advice on the type of exercise that should help strengthen the appropriate areas without placing stress on vulnerable areas. Support belts can often be useful in some cases, particularly during the later stages of pregnancy which your Osteopath can advise you about.
Osteopaths can also help to ease other side effects of pregnancy such as heartburn, indigestion, constipation and pain in the buttock, groin or leg (commonly called sciatica). Osteopathic treatment is intended to be complementary to medical obstetrics and other midwifery services and not to replace it.
The safety of mother and baby is the Osteopath’s main concern. After a thorough assessment the Osteopath can decide whether the treatment is appropriate for each particular problem.
Exercise is extremely important during pregnancy but it is also very specific to the individual. It depends how the pregnancy is generally going, how fit the individual is prior to becoming pregnant and what stage you are at. Exercise helps with the labour and keeps the body strong to help recovery after giving birth. Pilates is a fantastic and safe form of exercise pre and post-natal. We run pregnancy specific classes at our clinic and also one-to-one sessions.
After labour the body has to re-adjust back to its normal position which can also cause pain and dysfunction throughout the body. Osteopathy can help the body balance and restore its usual posture.
A very subtle technique for the treatment of new born babies is called cranial Osteopathy. It is a completely safe and effective treatment which can be used on new born babies. Cranial can be very successful in easing common complaints such as colic, sleeplessness and agitation by gentle techniques to the head and sacrum of the baby. The trauma placed on the babies head during labour can be quite dramatic; particularly during long or complicated births, which cranial treatment can help to ease.
Some patients also report reduced morning sickness after Osteopathic treatment.
- Osteopaths are skilled practitioners
- Osteopaths deal with pain every day
- Osteopaths can advise on good posture
- Osteopaths may help relieve back and leg pain in pregnancy
- Osteopaths can advise on pain relief during labour
- Return for advice and a check up after delivery
Look after your back during pregnancy. Take particular care when lifting and carrying. Do not carry a small child on one hip for any length of time. Ask your Osteopath for appropriate exercises.
If you stand for any length of time, keep your bottom ‘tucked in’ to avoid strain on the lower part of your spine.
Lying on your side in bed, place a pillow between your knees and under ‘the bump’ to provide support and prevent back strain.
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Whether you have chronic niggles, aches or muscle and joint pain due to work-related strain, sports injuries, or postural problems; you are suffering acute problems due to an accident, whiplash, pregnancy, a slipped disc or trapped nerve; or you suffer with other symptoms such as headaches or general stiffness, the team at The Bedworth Active Health Centre for osteopathy and sports injuries can help.