Osteopathy – Post pregnancy
Why see an Osteopath after the birth of your child?
Pregnancy and birth, places stress on a woman’s body, stretching ligaments and joints. Treatment by an osteopath can help restore the body’s balance, removing tension and assisting new mothers cope with broken sleep and breast-feeding. By realigning the spine and pelvis, Osteopaths can also assist in the relief of pain resulting from a strain of birth or strain on body caring for a new baby, lifting, feeding, etc. Treatment by an osteopath is gentle, drug-free and non-invasive.
Common Post Natal conditions treated by Osteopaths
a) Coccyx and Sacro-illiac Joint Pain – result of changes in ligaments during childbirth: As the baby passes through the pelvis, it causes strain and stretching of the coccyx and the sacro illiac joint which can damage the joint. This condition, if not treated, can deteriorate due to increased pressure on the joint when lifting and carrying baby, post birth.
b) Pubic-symphisis Joint Pain – occurs when the front of the pubic bone will open, or is stretched during childbirth. This causes sharp pain and if not treated, may lead to an altered pelvis and pelvic mechanics, producing pain in the pelvis and lower back.
c) Back pain resulting from carrying heavy loads, like baby capsules; and even your baby and the mandatory carry-all crammed with a young one’s never ending list of “accessories”.
d) Neck, shoulder pain, headaches resulting from incorrect posture during breast-feeding and carrying new born. Poor sleep posture.
e) The Sacrum – at the base of the spine needs to swing out of the way during the birth and may not return to a balanced position between the pelvic bones. This may lead to lower back pain and sciatic pain, and alter the spinal curves of the upper back.
How can you help your body recover?
1. Sleep. If you are feeling tired and sleep deprived, sleep when your baby sleeps. This will assist in your recovery and ability to handle stress and remain calm.
2. Breast-feed your baby if posssible. Breast-feeding normalises the hormones and helps you bond with the baby. This in turn helps reduce stress in the body.
3. Drink lots of water and eat nutritious meals. This keeps your strength up, and increases the body’s ability to provide breast milk and cope with fatigue and lack of sleep.
4. Do pelvic floor exercises. The sooner you do these after birth, the better, as they rebalance the pelvis, and assist bladder control, ask your osteopath now.
5. Start light exercise. No matter how tired you feel, a little light exercise will make you feel better, so push yourself to reap the benefits of movement. Try yoga, walking or swimming. These activities will improve general blood circulation, stretch the muscles and improve general well-being.
6. Receive advice on posture re: when feeding, changing and washing newborn.
Deborah Joy Calleja, Osteopath, The Medical Sanctuary