pregnant woman

Pregnancy is a unique and powerful experience. Enormous physical, hormonal and emotional changes take place over a relatively short period of time. The body has to adapt to carrying up to 20lb of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose physical strain on all the organs and tissues.

Osteopathic treatment during and after pregnancy can be beneficial in a number of ways:

Easing some of the physical discomforts during pregnancy such as headaches and neck pain, pelvic pain or back pain.



Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture. If the mother has existing back problems or strains in her body 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.

The ligaments of the whole body soften during pregnancy due to the action of hormones. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of the baby's head through the pelvis. Unfortunately this softening affects the whole body and makes it more vulnerable to strain during the pregnancy.

Postural changes may cause backache, neck ache, headaches, aching legs and undue fatigue.

Changes to the posture as the uterus expands is often accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, heartburn and shortness of breath.

 Preparation for labour and position of the baby

treatment of pregnant lady


Labour is likely to be more difficult if the baby is not lying correctly. The baby generally settles in a head downward position and facing backward with his spine curled in the same direction as his mother's spine. This puts the baby in the most advantageous position for passing through the birth canal during labour.

As the baby grows and takes up more space within the abdomen there is less space for them to move about, and they will find their own preferred position. The mother's posture has to adapt to accommodate the position of the baby, and if this conflicts with her own postural needs it may cause undue aches and pains. This is the reason that one pregnancy may be much more uncomfortable to carry than another.

Trauma to the pelvic bones, coccyx or sacrum at any time in a mother's life can leave increased tension in muscles and strain within the ligaments and bones of the pelvis. This can limit the ability of these bones to separate and move during labour, and thus influences the size of the pelvic outlet.

Osteopathic treatment is extremely effective at releasing old strains within the spine, hips and pelvis etc, improving mobility in these areas and helping you to relax.

Treatment after Birth

Birth can be a wonderful experience for both parents.  Some births can be more of a challenge for the mothers and babies bodies.

Mother:

The mother's pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains from the forces involved, particularly after a difficult delivery. Some of these strains can have a profound effect on the nervous system, and contribute to postnatal depression.

After giving birth, the body not only has to recover from the changes it made during pregnancy but also from the effects of delivery. All this whilst doing the very physically and mentally demanding job of caring for the new baby. Caring for a baby can place enormous strain on the back, during such activities as nursing in poor positions, lifting car seats especially in and out of the car, reaching over the cot, or carrying a child on one hip.

Unresolved childbirth stresses in the mother can contribute to ongoing back problems, as well as a variety of other symptoms in pelvic organs.

Osteopathic treatment can help the mother after birth by releasing strains in her spine, hips and joints.. This allows her to feel more relaxed.

Baby:

The baby can suffer long-lasting effects from the moulding process during birth.

An osteopathic check up is recommended to assess if your baby has any muscular or skeletal discomfort. See our page on osteopathy for babies and children.

Is Osteopathy safe during Pregnancy?

Osteopaths are highly skilled and undergo a minimum of 4 years training. Gentle osteopathic techniques are considered safe at all stages of pregnancy. The cranial osteopathic approach is a particularly gentle way of working with the body's own natural mechanism for releasing and re-balancing tensions, without force.