The mother’s pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains from the forces involved, particularly after a difficult delivery. Some of these strains can have a profound effect on the nervous system, and may contribute to fatigue.
After giving birth, the body not only has to recover from the changes it made during pregnancy, but also from the effects of delivery. All this as well as the physical and mental demands of caring for a new baby. Caring for a baby might place some strain on the back, during such activities as nursing in poor positions, lifting car seats in and out of the car, reaching over the cot, or carrying a child on one hip.
Babies’ skeletons are softer than an adult’s and osteopaths will therefore use gentler techniques such as cranial osteopathy when treating babies.
Osteopaths are highly skilled and undergo a minimum of 5 years training. Gentle osteopathic techniques are very beneficial and perfectly safe at all stages of pregnancy.
Osteopathic Treatment may help for
Osteopathy may help relieve the stresses and strains on your body during pregnancy and after birth including:
Aches and pains
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture.
If the mother has existing back problems, or strains in her body from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for her to accommodate these changes, and she may suffer more discomfort as a result.
The ligaments of the whole body soften during pregnancy due to the action of hormones. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of the baby’s head through the pelvis. The hormones circulate throughout the bloodstream affecting the tissues of the entire body, making it more vulnerable to strain during the pregnancy.
Poor posture may cause back or neck pain, headaches, aching legs and undue fatigue. Osteopathic treatment is helpful in assisting the body to make postural changes, allowing a more comfortable pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting
Osteopathy can help by releasing debilitating physical strains caused by vomiting and restoring musculoskeletal harmony and balance. Treatment to improve the circulation to and from the liver can help reduce nausea.
As the uterus expands, it distorts the diaphragm contributing to heartburn.
Varicose veins and haemorrhoids
Tension within the pelvis or diaphragm area can increase resistance to the return of venous blood to the heart from the lower half of the body. This can cause or aggravate varicose veins in the legs and haemorrhoids.
Osteopathic treatment to release tension in the pelvis and diaphragm regions may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of these conditions.
Postural changes through the lower ribs and spine can impede the action of the diaphragm and make breathing difficult. Osteopathic treatment to improve function of the whole rib cage allows full use of available lung capacity.
Position of the baby
As the baby grows and takes up more space within the abdomen there is less space for him/her to move about, and the baby finds its own preferred position. The mother’s posture has to adapt to accommodate the position of the baby, and if this conflicts with her own musculoskeletal demands it may cause undue aches and pains. This is the reason that one pregnancy may be much more uncomfortable to carry than another.
The baby generally settles in a head downward position and facing backward with his/her spine curled in the same direction as the mother’s spine. This puts the baby in the most advantageous position for passing through the birth canal during labour. If the pelvis and uterus are correctly balanced and aligned this may also allow the baby to have an optimum position for childbirth.
Preparation for labour
An important part of preparation for childbirth is to ensure that the mother’s pelvis is structurally balanced and able to allow the passage of the baby down the birth canal. Trauma to the pelvic bones, coccyx or sacrum at any time in a mother’s life can leave increased tension in muscles and strain within ligaments and bones of the pelvis. This can limit the ability of these bones to separate during labour, and thus limit the size of the pelvic outlet.