New life and the whole process of pregnancy is always such a magically and amazing feat by the human body. Sometimes there can be pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy. Many processes occur during pregnancy, hormones increase and decrease, weight is gained, and then sometimes pain can present itself. There are many areas of the body in which pain or discomfort can occur, however there are some complaints that are a little more common, which include the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain, thoracic pain, neck pain and even complaints of reflux or GORD.
Some of these complaints can be explained by an increase in weight from the growing baby in the womb. Posture is another factor, whereby the mother’s centre of gravity changes as a result of the growing baby, causing some of these complaints. One of the main culprits for pain and discomfort that you may experience can be related to the hormones that are stimulated. Relaxin is a hormone that occurs during pregnancy and is incredibly active during the third trimester. Relaxin is responsible for the relaxation of ligaments around the pelvis so that the child may pass through the birth canal. If our ligaments are being told to relax more, it will place more stress on our muscles and joints particular the SIJ and even the pubic symphysis causing pain.
How can Osteopathy help?
The philosophy of Osteopathy is that structure and function are interrelated and interdependent. Our treatments aim to normalise the structure so that it functions as efficiently as possible. Treatments during pregnancy are no different. We aim to assist the natural process of pregnancy and birth by aiding the body to adapt and align as the pregnancy progresses. Osteopathic treatment achieves this by using safe and efficient techniques, while making sure the mother is comfortable at all times. During birth, a range of factors influences the descent of the baby through the pelvis. The mother’s pelvis may be twisted or rigid which can interfere with the baby’s passage through the birth canal. Osteopathic treatment can help to align your body so that your pelvis and lower back mechanics are in the best possible position they can be and with as little tension or restriction as possible. Osteopathic treatment will maximise your body’s ability to change and support you and your baby with minimum pain and discomfort.
We would also prescribe some exercises to help the patient manage their pain at home based on our findings. Some of these exercises may include banded hip abduction to help strength the pelvic stabilizers, the use of a foam rolling/ tennis ball to help reduced some tension in tight muscles or other mobility exercises.
Is It Safe To Have Osteopathic Treatment During Pregnancy?
Osteopathy is safe and gentle for both the mother and the baby. The techniques used during pregnancy are carefully selected to minimise any risk. These techniques are gentle and the comfort of the mother is always taken into consideration and may be adapted to suit each patient. Some therapists use specifically designed pregnancy cushions if they need you to lie on your front for certain techniques. Pregnant patients can tell the therapist how comfortable they are in certain positions. An osteopath can accommodate any woman, regardless of size.
Can Osteopathy Help Postnatally?
Depending on the type of labour experienced, women can have a wide range of issues postnatally. Osteopathic care can help to restore and maintain normal pelvic alignment and mobility and therefore, taking away any pain and discomfort they may be feeling. If you have unresolved childbirth stresses from labour, these can contribute not only to ongoing back problems, but also to difficulties with menstruation, stress incontinence, and bowel problems such as constipation. Osteopathic treatment can also help with aches and pains associated with poor breast-feeding posture, lifting car capsules and prams, carrying your baby and bending over the cot.
It is especially important after pregnancy to work on strength and stability to help restore the body back to it’s pre pregnancy status. This is something that we can help and guide you with and help you get back to be the best parent that you can be.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy and related musculoskeletal complaints, feel free to email one of our osteopathic manual practitioners:
Brendan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or
Or call us at (416) 546-4887