Although it is a natural process, pregnancy results in a multitude of physical, hormonal, chemical and emotional transitions. A mother’s body undergoes enormous changes during the whole process and there are many more changes occurring than the growing abdomen. The mother has to gradually adapt to an extra weight of baby, fluid and placenta during the pregnancy. As the body is adapting to carrying this extra weight, it may impose some physical strain on all the organs and tissues.
As the baby grows inside the uterus, the mother’s body has to provide additional space, thereby requiring an adaptation of her posture. This causes changes in the body’s centre of gravity and shape of the spine. Previous pregnancies and injuries may also have an effect on the mechanical adaptations of the spine and pelvis, whilst illnesses may have a relevance on the state and quality of tissues. These factors, along with the natural relaxation of the ligaments in preparation for birth, give rise to the increased probability of concerns including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Sacroiliac dysfunction
- Pubic symphysis dysfunction
- Digestive discomforts
As the final stages of pregnancy approach, there is a natural reduction in the amount of space for the baby to move around, optimizing fetal positioning for delivery. Therefore, any past injuries to the pelvis, sacrum and coccyx may distort the birth canal, making the descent of the baby more challenging.
An Osteopathic approach to treatment is very safe for both mother and baby. A detailed case history is taken prior to examination and treatment. And along with the knowledge of the contraindications coexisting with certain techniques, the treatment of pregnant mothers is always gentle and the comfort of the mother and safety of the baby are always assured.
The goal of an Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy is to support the whole body, enabling it to accommodate the changes taking place. Osteopathy maybe beneficial before, during and after pregnancy, in several ways:
- Preparing for pregnancy
- Easing the discomforts during postural adaptations of pregnancy
- Helping with the emotional component of pregnancy
- Preparing for the demands of labour
- Reducing the risks of complications
- Helping to recover from both the pregnancy and the delivery
Osteopathic Practitioners recommend that all mothers have a post-natal Osteopathic treatment following delivery. Making sure that the body is well aligned and rebalancing the pelvis after childbirth is simple and straightforward when treated within the first few weeks, and may help to prevent further problems in the pelvis, pelvic organs and spine.
Additionally, balancing the meninges (nervous tissue), ensuring freedom in movement particularly of the spinal-dural membranes if an epidural was administered, is significantly important. Treatment can also be beneficial with back pain caused by breastfeeding and is helpful in treating mastitis and speeding up recovery from a Caesarian.