Osteopathy and Pregnancy

Dec 17, 2015 by David Tio Topics: Osteopathy, pregnancy

Pregnancy can be remembered as a joyful and exciting time. But for some women, pain, discomfort or illness can darken this picture. Osteopaths can assess and treat many of these complaints associated with pregnancy:

  • lower back pain
  • sciatica or leg pain
  • neck, shoulder and middle back pain

Morning sickness and other symptoms

Early stages of pregnancy are often associated with symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness, headache, fatigue and dizziness.

As the pregnancy progresses, the extra weight creates a shift in the body centre of gravity, as well as a softening of muscles and supporting ligaments. This can cause symptoms such as

  • generalized back pain
  • sciatica (leg pain) from nerve pressure
  • pubic symphysis or sacro-iliac joint pain from instability
  • scoliosis and accentuation of the normal back curves.

Where does osteopathy fit in?

The philosophy of Osteopathy teaches that the body structure and its functions are closely related and interdependent. This distinctive way of thinking applies to the treatment of almost any injury., condition or change in the state of health.

Pregnancy is no exception. To accommodate the growing fetus, the body undergoes tremendous changes. Some are visually obvious. Others are subtler, such as hormonal releases that affect the anatomy, physiology and biology of most systems.

The goal of osteopathic treatment is to assist this natural process, maximizing the body’s ability to adjust and compensate for the changes as efficiently as possible. This is done in support of both mother and baby with a minimum of pain and discomfort.

Is it safe to have Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy?

Osteopathy has one of the best safety records of any medically related profession.

The techniques used during pregnancy are carefully selected to minimize the risks. These techniques are gentle. The comfort of the mother and the safety of the baby – are always assured.

Can Osteopathy influence the birth of my baby?

The descent of the baby through the pelvis is determined by factors such as ligament laxity, hormonal control, uterine contraction, gravity and the position of the baby.

If the mother’s pelvis is mechanically unstable or lacking mobility, it may interfere with the baby’s passage through the birth canal.

Osteopathic treatment helps to restore balance and improve quality of movements of the whole pelvic girdle, promoting hormonal and neurological feedback. This, in turn, allows stimulation of the uterine contraction.

Should I still see an Osteopath after my baby’s birth?

YES. For a range of reasons.

Some women start to experience constant back problems or period pain only after giving birth. This can be caused by weakened ligaments and the lack of muscle strength, thereby causing imbalance in the pelvis and low back.

Whilst mothers are breast-feeding, it can be common for them to experience postural pain in the mid to upper spine.

Osteopathic treatment to this region can help ease this discomfort as well as promote better blood flow and lymphatic drainage to the breast area.

Your osteopath can also provide you with advice on posture for breastfeeding, sleep, other daily activities and also exercises to strengthen abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor.

Osteopathic treatment after delivery restores the normal mechanics of the back and pelvis, optimizing the body for an active life.