How does being pregnant affect a woman’s body?
Pregnancy causes the body to undergo many changes. Throughout the 9 months, progressive adaptations occur to allow for developing child. The ligaments soften, the curves of the spine change, and the posture is altered. The weight of the baby causes the centre of gravity of the expectant mother to gradually move forward. This alters normal mechanical stress on the body and creates an arching in the lower back and therefore increases pressure on the spinal curve.
Why do pregnant women visit an osteopath?
1. Back and neck pain as a result of extra strain on the spine.
2. Nausea and heartburn as a result of tension in the diaphragm.
3. Circulatory problems e.g. swelling of the legs and varicose veins as a result of increased pressure on the abdomen.
4. History of back problems which could affect pregnancy or delivery.
Why see an osteopath during pregnancy?
Treatment by an osteopath helps support the body through the above changes, especially during the mid to final stages of the pregnancy. An osteopath will aim to mainatain the body’s balance having a positive effect on the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems throughout the pregnancy. Treatment by an osteopath is gentle, and non-invasive.
How does an osteopath treat a pregnant woman?
1. Stretching techniques: To increase blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles
2. Articulation technique: Joints are mobilised by being passively taken through their range of motion
3. Soft tissue techniques: Release tightness on the muscles by alternatively being stretched and made to work against resistance.
4. Providing posture and exercise advice.
Can an osteopath influence the birth of a baby? If so, how?
Osteopathic treatment helps to restore the balance and improve the quality of movements of the whole pelvic girdle through stretching, articulation and soft tissue techniques. This may optimise the ability of this region to adapt to the change required during birth process.
AN OSTEOPATH’S TIPS FOR A SMOOTH PREGNANCY
1. To avoid possible back and neck complications as pregnancy progresses, visit an osteopath for a “tune and balance” of the body in the early stages of the pregnancy.
2. Learn from your osteopath the best stretches and exercise to help your body prepare for the added weight in the coming months.
3. Make sure you have a comfortable and supportive mattress.
4. Maintain regular, gentle exercise regime.
Adapted by Deborah Joy Calleja, Osteopath, The Medical Sanctuary