Pregnancy and childbirth are two of the most challenging physical and mental strains women undergo in their lifetime. Pregnant women’s bodies have to cope with a lot of changes – fluid retention, hormone changes, and postural changes are just some of the many changes that they go through during and after those nine months.
On top of that, postpartum issues can also arise from the new lifestyle, and the recovery can be a long and arduous road – all of this is exacerbated by the additional responsibilities of caring for a newborn. During this difficult period, professional osteopathic treatment can support your body through the changes that occur both during pregnancy and after childbirth. Read on to find out how this alternative medicine can yield great results during pregnancy and post-natal care.
Osteopathy during pregnancy
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy as hormonal changes cause the joints to become increasingly mobile. This can result in joint pain, and particularly back pain, which is often worsened by the extra weight you are carrying. Thus, putting extra pressure on the joints and muscles of your spine and pelvis. Prenatal osteopathy is a gentle treatment that supports your body and your baby through these changes. The treatment is mainly focused on maintaining the equilibrium of your body with a careful selection of the most appropriate treatment technique tailored to your needs and medical history.
As mentioned, your body goes through tremendous changes to accommodate your growing baby. Apart from the obvious physical changes such as the expansion of your abdomen, pregnancy causes hormonal changes that have significant effects on your body and its internal systems. As your pregnancy progresses, the extra weight shifts your body’s centre of gravity and dramatically reshifts it back after birth. This causes the supporting ligaments, especially around the pelvis, to become more mobile and are susceptible to strain. These factors can further stress your body, causing problems such as:
- Sacroiliac joint pain – pain caused by injury to the joint between the spine and hip.
- Pelvic Diastasis – the dislocation of normally joined pubic bones without a fracture.
- Pubic Symphysis pain – discomfort in the pelvic region.
- Sciatica – pain that radiates from the lower back through your hips and down each leg.
- Swollen joints.
Pregnant women also go through other common health issues such as back pain, insomnia, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and fatigue, due to these hormonal changes. An experienced osteopath can help relieve these problems and even offer advice as well as self-help techniques on how you and your partner can use during pregnancy and labour.
Osteopathy during birth
During the birthing process, your baby’s descent through your pelvis is influenced by a range of factors – if your pelvis is twisted or stiff, it can interfere with your baby’s passage through the birth canal. Here is where an experienced osteopath can help restore and maintain normal pelvic alignment and mobility, as well as help facilitate the successful and healthy birth of your baby.
Osteopathy during post-natal care
It is common for women to experience malalignment following pregnancy and delivery. Allowing this to go untreated will force other joints to compensate which can further exacerbate structural misalignment. It is best for new mothers who have just given birth to visit an osteopath as part of their post-natal care regime to be cleared of any underlying issues. Post-natal osteopathy aims to restore your body’s normal function.
On top of that, carrying and feeding your baby puts pressure on your recently strained muscles and joints and may cause some common muscle strains such as:
- Gluteal strain.
- Neck and shoulder tension.
- Muscle tension in the lower and middle back.
Although it is common, dismissing back pain as part of the pregnancy process and not seeking proper treatment can cause a lot of problems for women in their future. Back pain can be related to changes in posture, muscular imbalance, weak or overactive pelvic floor, or Diastasis Recti – where the six-pack ab muscles separate during pregnancy from being stretched. These issues are best identified and treated early by an osteopath to avoid further chronic health issues.
Every pregnancy is unique
There is no one-size fits all rule when it comes to pregnancy and an experienced osteopath treats you according to your body. The main aim of this alternative treatment is to help your body adjust to the changes that are occurring through different stages of the pregnancy, alleviate some of the pregnancy related pain, prepare your body for birth and post birth, so you can enjoy the arrival of your baby.
If you are a first time mother, or you just gave birth, reach out to an experienced osteopath or a centre that provides pregnancy massage therapy near you to get all the help you need to focus on recovery and your baby.