The goal of osteopathic treatment is to assist the body as this natural process occurs.
Pregnancy and your body
Being pregnant causes the body to undergo many changes. The ligaments soften, the curves of the spine change, and the posture is altered. The weight of the baby causes the centre of gravity of the expectant mother to gradually move forward. This creates an arching in the lower back and therefore increases pressure on the spinal curve, with added mechanical stress on the body. As breast size increases, pressure is also placed on the upper back and neck.
- Back and neck pain as a result of extra strain on the spine
- Lower back and buttock pain
- Sciatica (leg pain)
- Neck, shoulder and middle back pain
- Pelvic girdle instability
- Sacro-iliac Joint pain
- Pubic symphysis pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (tingling and/or numbness in the hands)
- Pelvic floor weakness and incontinence
- Poor abdominal tone
- Nausea and heartburn as a result of tension in the diaphragm
- Circulatory problems e.g. swelling of the legs and varicose veins as a result of increased pressure on the abdomen
The goal of osteopathic treatment is to assist the body as this natural process occurs, maximising the body's ability to adjust and compensate for the changes which take place. Gentle techniques such as stretching, articulation (moving a joint through its range of motion) and soft tissue techniques (such as massage) are used to maintain mobility, reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow and promote lymphatic drainage.
Advice from your osteopath can help you to change your posture and learn to use your body correctly through pregnancy. This will make you more comfortable, while helping to prevent injury. Osteopaths can also help to ease other side effects of pregnancy such as pain in the buttock, groin or leg (commonly called sciatica). Osteopathy will improve also the quality of movement in your pelvis and hips.
Weakened ligaments and muscles caused by pregnancy can weaken the whole body structure. Many new mothers receive osteopathic treatment following the birth of their newborn in order to correct the body imbalances that may be present, particularly to the pelvis, lower back and mid back region to prepare for a busy life with a new active family member. Please ask your Osteopath when it would be appropriate to commence your osteopathic treatment following the delivery of your newborn.
Breast feeding and carrying a baby can be hard work for the upper back and neck, and may be detrimental to posture. Osteopathic care can relieve the discomfort in this area and improve posture. Your osteopath can provide you with advice on posture, lifting techniques, other daily activities, sleeping, and exercises to strengthen abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
Osteopathy, is it safe?
Osteopathy has one of the best safety records of any medically related profession. The techniques used during pregnancy are carefully selected in order to minimise the risk to the patient. These techniques are gentle and the comfort of the mother is always assured.
- Take care of your back – be especially careful with lifting and carrying. Avoid carrying small children for long periods
- When standing for long periods, keep your bottom 'tucked in' to relieve strain on your lower back
- Don't sit with your legs crossed
- Learn from your osteopath the best stretches and exercises to help your body prepare for the added weight in the coming months
- Sleep on a supportive mattress. Lye on your side with a pillow between your knees
- Maintain aerobic exercise to keep strong and healthy. Swimming and brisk walking are great exercise for pregnant women * Wear flat supportive shoes. Stay away from high heels.