Osteopathy considers the musculoskeletal aspects of pregnancy and aims to alleviate mechanical strains, thereby assisting the body to adapt to the changes in shape and posture in this crucial period.
More than two-thirds of pregnant women experience back pain and almost one-fifth experience pelvic pain. The pain often increases with advancing pregnancy and may interfere with work, daily activities and sleep .
During pregnancy the body goes through many changes to accommodate the growing baby. The mothers growing belly is an obvious one, but how does this change in shape affect the rest of the body?
There are three fundamental changes in pregnancy which have an impact on the body’s muscles, joints and ligaments; a gradual shift in centre of gravity upward and forwards, stretching of the abdominal muscles as the uterus expands, and the hormone relaxin which allows the ligaments to soften and yield to the changing shape of the body.
All of these factors can result in increased tension and load on the muscles and joints of the spine and pelvis. This is one reason why pregnant women tire more easily, as their muscles get tighter they fatigue more quickly. Increased muscle and joint stress can quickly escalate into irritation and pain.
Some of this muscle tension and fatigue can be mitigated and managed by pacing yourself, stretching, and gentle exercise to improve movement and circulation. However if pain is not managed by these more simple strategies, we recommend consulting with an osteopath who can assess your alignment and function and make more specific recommendations for you.
Osteopathy diagnoses asymmetry and tension, and works to restore restricted movement to create balance within the body’s physical structure. At Balmain Osteopaths we recognise the importance of the mother’s wellbeing during this crucial period, and work with your body to prepare it for transition into motherhood.
Your comfort is important and techniques are selected that are appropriate to your stage of pregnancy.
A 2013 Cochrane Systematic Review showed that Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment relieved pelvic or back pain during pregnancy more than usual care alone .
Once baby has arrived, we understand that this is a demanding time for new parents and that they may experience stress in adapting to their new phase of life as parents of one or more children. However, the mother’s recovery from the birth process is paramount in helping her to cope and adjust to this transition. Many times in practice we see mothers putting themselves last and prioritising the needs of the rest of the family. While we understand this may be a natural inclination, in our clinical experience we have seen that womens’ bodies carry a significant burden of strain following the birth process, whether it be a vaginal delivery or cesarean section.
At Balmain Osteopaths our emphasis is to support the family unit and one of the best ways to do this is to help women’s bodies recover and rehabilitate from the stresses of labour, and the recurrent physical strains that can result from caring for a child.
- Pennick, VE. & Liddle, S. (2013). Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Systematic Review