How does being pregnant affect a woman’s body?
Low back pain is common in pregnancy, and can be treated effectively and usually quite quickly. It may be accompanied by discomfort in your upper back, shoulders, between your shoulder blades and in your ribcage. Pain in pregnancy shouldn’t be ignored – as soon as you feel it you should do something about it.
During pregnancy enormous physical, chemical and emotional changes take place over a relatively short period of time which can cause pain. The body has to get used to carrying up to 20lb/10kg of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose great physical strain on the organs, tissues, joints and ligaments of the body. In order for the pregnant body to adapt to all these changes it has to find new ways to walk, sit and sleep resulting with new aches and pains arising. Ligaments soften, the curves of the spine change and your overall posture is altered. As the baby grows your centre of gravity gradually moves forward. This alters the normal mechanical stress on the body and exaggerates the arching in the lower back. All of these changes increase the pressure on the spinal joints, muscles and ligaments.
Osteopathic treatment supports the body through these changes, especially during the mid to final stages of the pregnancy. An osteopath will aim to maintain the body’s balance by having a positive effect on the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems throughout the pregnancy. Treatment by an osteopath is gentle, and non-invasive.
Benefits of Osteopathy during Pregnancy
Osteopathic treatment while pregnant can ease some of the symptoms typically associated with pregnancy which include:
- Aches and pains (back pain, neck and shoulder pain, muscular tension) as a result of extra strain on the spine
- Sciatica – a sharp shooting pain down one or both legs. In a few women
- Groin, lower abdominal pain or pubic symphysis pain as a result of extra strain on the pelvis
- Nausea and Heartburn
- Circulatory problems such as swelling in the legs and varicose veins as a result of increased pressure on the abdomen
- Rib and mid back pain leading to breathlessness and difficulty deep breathing
- History of back pain which could affect pregnancy or delivery
What can I expect from a treatment?
Your initial consultation will involve a thorough case history will be taken including any current symptoms, past medical history and obstetric history. Treatment is different for every patient, but may include techniques such as different types of soft tissue massage, mobilisations and cranial Osteopathy. This will help release tension, stretch muscles, help relieve pain and mobilise your joints.
Once your symptoms improve you may well be offered maintenance treatment to address specific areas of your body and spine that are going to change during the coming months. Osteopathy can help minimise stress and discomfort leading to a more natural and easy pregnancy.
At MC PP Osteopaths we can:
- Provide advice on breathing techniques, stretches and exercise you can do to maintain your health and well being throughout your pregnancy.
- Assist the mother prepare for childbirth, by improving flexibility in the pelvis and abdomen.
- Ease aches and pains during pregnancy.
- Help the mother to recover after birth.
Should I have a treatment with an osteopath after giving birth?
Pregnancy and labour can take its toll on your body. Your posture has gradually adapted for several months to pregnancy, and, suddenly it must be readapted to the absence of the baby in the womb.
Pregnancy hormones also continue to affect your muscles and ligaments for around 6 months after birth, making them more lax, which places pressure and increased risks of injury on the joints, ligaments and discs of the lower back and other parts of your body.
Finally, new activities such as feeding and carrying your baby will put additional strain on your body.
Osteopathic treatment is an effective way to address these concerns, promote optimum recovery and help prevent future problems due to unresolved issues.
Besides, by relieving postural strains resulting from long hours spent carrying and feeding your baby as well as repetitive movements such as lifting your baby, osteopathy will make the day-to-day demands of motherhood much easier for you.
Finally, it can harmonize your nervous system, improve sleep and help hormonal balance.
How soon can I consult an Osteopath after giving birth?
If you had a difficult delivery, It is recommended to consult an osteopath the earliest to speed recovery and prevent future problems.
For example, the use of instruments, such as ventouse and forceps, can leave strains in pelvic tissues and alter the position of the uterus and bladder.
The sooner you will be treated, the fewer tensions can set in, and the less pain will appear.
Even if you had an uncomplicated delivery, a post-check-up four to six weeks is highly recommended to assess your alignment and make sure everything is back in the normal position and moving well.
It is important to take care of yourself. Happy Mum helps create a happy baby!