I have had the privilege of treating increasing numbers of pregnant women and new mothers over the past few months. Many of these lovely ladies were patients prior to conceiving and so had previously experienced the benefits of osteopathy. Some were unsure whether or not to continue with treatment while trying to conceive. Others asked the question of when to have treatment throughout the different stages of their pregnancy.
As with any patient, the aim of treatment is to ensure all the bodily systems are working in harmony, that musculoskeletal structures are balanced and to alleviate pain/symptoms.
To address these aspects of health prior to conceiving can promote optimal function of the reproductive system and thereby support fertility. As you all know the first trimester is the most delicate. The beauty of osteopathy is that we as practitioners have a wide variety of techniques to adopt to be appropriate for the patient and the situation. You will always be made to feel comfortable. We may change the position we have you in on the table and the type of techniques we use but it will still achieve the same goal.
As the female body undergoes the enormous changes associated with nine months of pregnancy, a common complaint I hear is low back pain. Others often include groin pain, sciatica, nausea/vomiting, reflux, carpal tunnel and neck pain. Those lovely hormonal imbalances can also exacerbate fatigue, headaches and poor concentration.
While such symptoms are temporary it is important to minimise any unnecessary strain or restrictions in the joints, nerves and muscles. This is for the benefit of both mum and bub. When delivery time finally comes along, you both have a big enough job to do as it is! You want your body to be able to perform as it needs to and your mind to be clear and calm for as smooth a delivery as possible. You also want your baby to have an easy a journey through the birth canal.
Not all birth plans become a reality so your body may need to adapt quickly under. By exploring old injuries and previous postural imbalances, as well as those associated pregnancy, your experience of this momentous event in your life can be made much easier with osteopathic care.
As your body then attempts to return to its old self, upper back pain, neck strain and headaches usually bring women back to my door. This is primarily due to nursing and breastfeeding, but we must take into account the sleep deprivation, hormonal changes and external stressors associated with being a new parent. Ongoing treatment will support and assist you in the next stage of motherhood.
This article from the National Council for Osteopathic Research is a nice easy read with some more information and evidence of the benefits of osteopathy in treating pregnant women - CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE