Osteopathy is an extremely gentle and safe choice of treatment during pregnancy. As the months progress the spine is placed under extra pressure due to the increase in weight of the baby and the amniotic fluid. Pregnancy hormones also cause the ligaments of the spine and uterus to soften making them more susceptible to injuries.
The most common complaints pregnant women present with to the clinic are:-
Heartburn and breathing difficulties: As the uterus expands it can distort the diaphragm, and cause reflux leading to heartburn. Gentle treatment to stretch out the ribs and muscles involved in breathing reduces tension thus easing the effects of heartburn. Improving posture will improve breathing.
Varicose Veins and Haemorrhoids: A buildup of tension in the pelvis or diaphragm area can increase resistance to the flow of blood from the lower half of the body and aggravate varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Releasing tension in these areas can help in the prevention and treatment of these conditions.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction: An increasingly common complaint of pregnancy. The symphysis pubis is a cartilaginous joint found at the front of the pelvis which is put under increased strain as the pelvis tries to expand and accommodate the growth of the foetus in the uterus. Walking can become very painful and sometimes impossible. Often this is caused by the low lying baby position and typically weakness in another part of the pelvis which acts as a bowl. Accessing the movement of the pelvis and lower back will give me a better idea of where one is restricted and a few treatments should easily relieve this type of pain.
The most common pain associated with pregnancy is posterior pelvic pain, which is pain felt at or near the two dimples on your lower back. The pain often feels deep and can occur on one or both sides of your back. In some cases, pain radiates down to the buttock and the back of the thigh. A quick assessment will determine the cause of the pain and can be easily resolved with gentle treatment.
Other conditions treated include; Headaches, Carpel tunnel syndrome, Hip and knee pain.
Benefits of Osteopathy during Pregnancy
In addition, Osteopathy during pregnancy will be of benefit in facilitating an easy passage for your baby through the birth canal. If the pelvis is held in poor alignment it may make it more difficult for the baby to rotate down through the birth canal and emerge into the world. Mum’s also report they recover more quickly after the labour if their pelvis has been prepared for the birth.
Pain and stress experienced during pregnancy causes the release of hormones that can cause stress to the foetus. Babies that experience stress in utero are more likely to develop chronic health problems as adults. Pain or stress during pregnancy should not be ignored. Osteopathic treatment aids in the reduction of these stressor’s.
- If you stand for any length of time, keep your bottom ‘tucked in’ to reduce strain on the lower part of your spine.
- When sitting, use a cushion for support and don’t sit with your legs crossed.
- Avoid twisting movements. These may cause torsional strain within the pelvis.
- When standing from sitting or getting out of the car keep your knees together, avoid lifting and pushing.
- Take regular rests.
- Being in water can help but breast stroke can aggravate, take care with exercise and especially yoga.
- Avoid lying on your back for long periods of time, particularly after the 19th week of your pregnancy.
- In bed, sleep on your side with a rolled towel between your knees.
- To turn to your right in bed while lying on your back, arch your lower back, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and lower abdominal muscles and bend both knees one by one. Turn your head to the right and take your left arm over to the right of your body. Hold onto the side of your bed if you can. To turn, pull with your left hand and take both knees over to the right so that you roll to the right. As soon as possible, bend your knees up as high as they will go. This helps to lock out your pelvis and lessen pain. Reverse this to turn to the left.
Benefits of Osteopathy post Pregnancy
The birth process can be traumatic experience for baby and mother. Osteopathy can be helpful for both to recover. The mother’s pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains from the forces involved in delivery. Some of these strains and shock can affect the nervous and hormonal systems and contribute to postnatal depression.
Unresolved strains can also lead to pelvic and back problems, stress incontinence, libido difficulties, period problems, headaches, constipation and more. Osteopathic treatment can help release some of these strains.
Epidurals and spinal blocks are administered via a needle through spinal ligaments. On occasion this can scar the area and cause weakness also.
How was the birth for the baby?
Osteopaths consider the birth from the baby’s point of view. Every baby’s birth experience is unique, whether very rapid, long and drawn out, or a caesarean birth. In any delivery the baby may have been squashed, pulled or twisted in different ways, and this may leave a lasting effect on the baby. In the first few days the most common difficulties are with feeding, sleep and crying. Any baby who is unsettled and struggling to feed may be uncomfortable from the effects of birth. Osteopathy may be able to help. Unresolved birth stresses may contribute to many different problems as the child grows, including sleep and behaviour issues, vulnerability to repeated infections such as chest, ear or sinus infections, backache and headache, and difficulties with concentration and school work. I would recommend that every baby is checked after birth. Osteopathic treatment is extremely gentle, and is safe for the smallest of babies. It is never too early to treat.
Alison who attended the ‘Back to Health Clinic’ stated: “I wanted a natural birth, but when I was five months pregnant an old back injury was causing me problems. I couldn’t even squat down I was in so much pain. At the clinic, Stephen resolved my back problem, kept me pain-free and I was able to have the natural birth I wanted. “Every procedure was explained in relation to my pregnancy, it is non-invasive and all my questions were answered. I always felt safe and reassured. The care at the clinic is excellent.”