Why see an Osteopath during my pregnancy?
Osteopathy is a safe and effective treatment during the 9 months of pregnancy. Your body has to adapt to major changes in a very short period of time. This can create aches in your lower back, tension in your upper back, heartburn, constipation, pelvic girdle pain, etc…
Osteopathy can help to relieve numerous aches and pains as the body adapts to the growing baby when, as we know, not many medications are allowed during pregnancy. The aim of osteopathic treatment is to re-align the body and reduce muscular tension and joint strain so the body can cope more easily with the changes of pregnancy. Following labour, treatment also helps to ensure that the pelvis and low back are returned to a comfortable position.
Examples of Discomforts during Pregnancy which respond well to osteopathy
As the uterus expands, it can stretch and squash the stomach contributing to heartburn or/and the liver contributing to nausea . A release of the tension around the diaphragm, and theses organs can help with these symptoms.
Postural changes may cause backache, neck ache, headaches, sciatica, aching legs and undue fatigue. If the mother has existing back problems from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for her to accommodate these changes, and she may suffer more discomfort as a result. An osteopath works to realign the body to help it withstand the new changes pregnancy brings.
Tension within the pelvis or diaphragm area can increase resistance to the return of venous blood to the heart from the lower half of the body. This can cause or aggravate varicose veins in the legs, and haemorrhoids. In such cases, the osteopath uses gentle techniques to help the drainage of the blood from legs to heart.
Why is it important to prepare for labour and positioning of the baby
As labour is likely to be more difficult if the baby is not lying correctly, it is worth trying to help them to move into a better position. Osteopaths don’t force the baby to turn but releasing the tension of the “box” will allow the baby to move more easily by creating more space.
The pelvic floor muscles of the mother will work as a hammock for the baby. If baby is not lying correctly the forces on the hammock are not spread correctly, more tension on one side can create SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) or tighter muscles on one side more than the other, the mother can feel lopsided while walking.
An important part of preparation for childbirth is to ensure that the mother’s pelvis is structurally balanced and able to allow the passage of the baby down the birth canal.
In addition, Pelvic floor muscles need to be elastic to guide the baby out safely during labour and to avoid any excessive strain which may affect the ability of the pelvic floor to return to its previous shape.
Osteopathic treatment aims to release old strains within the pelvis, thus giving the best chance of an easy and uncomplicated labour.