Osteopathy and pregnancy
Although pregnancy is a natural condition, women often find themselves experiencing various symptoms from sickness to back pain and nausea, very often being told to expect and put up with them. This is not always the case, with many of the unwanted symptoms easily alleviated by ensuring the spine, pelvis, muscles and ligaments are functioning well and allowing the body to be able to accommodate the growing baby and compensate for the changes occurring.
Prevention is better than cure
Osteopathy is extremely useful in facilitating your body to adjust to changes occurring during each trimester. An initial examination may reveal underlying mechanical problems which may cause pain and discomfort later. Even problems relating to hormone changes such as reflux and circulatory problems causing hand swelling, may be temporarily eased by improving drainage.
Here are some examples commonly seen at our practice:
Lower back pain – is one of the most common complaints and often arising when the spine cannot adapt for the growing baby. Spinal curves change throughout pregnancy, any joint restrictions or muscle tightness not addressed before can cause a problem.
Sciatica – often starts in the later stages when the baby is pressing down into the top of the pelvis where the sciatic nerve travels through. Treatment to the pelvis and lower back may allow the baby to settle into a different position.
Neck and shoulder pain – as the lower spine adjusts with the advancing pregnancy and the lumbar curve increases, the upper back also has to change and increase its curve. This has a knock on affect above and may lead to shoulder and neck pain.
Pubic pain and pelvic floor problems – Hormone changes affecting the stretch of ligaments can be responsible here, but appropriate treatment is effective in rebalancing strains and exercises can be prescribed to improve pelvic floor function.
Tingling in hands and feet – Pressure and decreased movement may lead to congestion and affect circulation and nerves into the arms and legs causing tingling in the extremities. Although hormone changes may also be responsible, osteopathic treatment to your spine may improve fluid drainage and improve mobility.
Osteopathy during pregnancy is completely safe for mother and baby. You may be advised
by your osteopath that it is better not to be treated with manipulation (clicked) between weeks 12-16. There is no evidence to suggest osteopathy is not safe at this time, but this is the most common time for miscarriage and you may feel more comfortable being treated with other techniques.
Pregnancy and exercise
There is no reason why you should not continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy and you should be encouraged to do so. Specialist classes in yoga and pilates are beneficial to maintain a supple spine and pelvic floor function and to prevent constipation and congestion. Gentle aerobic exercise will help manage weight gain. Swimming is especially useful in the later stages as the water reduces the effects of gravity when you are at your heaviest. Exercises to avoidinclude heavy resistance and high impact type workouts or anything that you do not usually do.
Call us for more information on treatment and exercise.