Enormous physical, chemical and emotional changes take place over a short time during pregnancy. Osteopathic treatment can help ease some of the discomforts of pregnancy, prepare for labour, and assist mother and baby to recover after birth.
Common problems during pregnancy
Aches & Pains
During pregnancy, huge postural changes are necessary to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. Hormonal changes cause ligaments all over the body to soften and stretch to prepare for labour. Aches and pains may develop, particularly if any pre-existing back problems affect the body’s ability to adapt to these changes.
Postural problems can become more acute around 20 weeks, as the uterus becomes heavier, and takes up more space in the abdomen. This can cause pain or aching in the neck or back, tension headaches, and fatigue. Osteopathic treatment can assist the body to make postural changes more easily, which can help make pregnancy more comfortable.
As the ligaments soften in pregnancy, painful stretching or separation can occur at the joint where the two pubic bones meet at the front of the pelvis. This can lead to pain at the front of the pelvis, which can be worse for exercise, and towards the end of the day. Osteopathic treatment aims to help release any restrictions in the lower spine and sacrum, which are putting more strain on the pubic area. This can help to relieve this painful condition and restore balance to the pelvis.
Shortness of Breath, Chest Infections, Nausea and Heartburn
The position of the mother’s stomach, liver and lungs changes, as the baby gradually fills the abdomen. This affects the muscle of the diaphragm, and can cause shortness of breath and an increased risk of chest infections. The crowding of the internal organs can also cause other discomforts, such as nausea and heartburn. Using gentle non-invasive manual techniques, osteopaths can help ease some of these symptoms.
Preparing for Labour
Osteopaths can also check the mother’s pelvis to ensure it is balanced, and ready to allow for the passage of the baby, and they can give postural tips, to help the mother to prepare for labour.
Osteopaths recommend all mothers have a postnatal osteopathic check up, after delivery.
After giving birth, new mothers may suffer from aches and pains, as the body has to recover from the changes made during pregnancy, and the effects of the delivery. The mother’s pelvis can often be pulled out of balance by the passage of the baby, especially after a difficult delivery. This can contribute to ongoing back problems, neck pain, general fatigue, or headaches.
Osteopathic treatment can help the mother return to normal, physically and emotionally, after giving birth, by releasing strains in the back. This can allow the mother to relax and enjoy her new baby.
Caring for a new baby
Caring for a rapidly growing baby can be physically demanding. Activities such as feeding, lifting a car seat, reaching over the cot, or carrying the child, can place enormous strain on the back. Osteopaths can advise a new mother how to manage the baby without straining her own body. They can also give advice about exercise and diet, to help her return to fitness after pregnancy.