Pregnancy and Osteopathy

Motherhood is a turning point in most women’s lives and every pregnancy is special. Pregnancy, birth and the joys of being a new Mum are generally a time of great family celebration. Sometimes pregnancy and childbirth can be a tough time for new mothers as it introduces a new set of stresses & strains.

The safety of the mother & baby is the practitioners first concern. The extra weight of carrying a baby during and even after the birth can cause these stresses, strains and postural changes leading to back pain or other symptoms. In pregnancy, hormonal changes may also disturb water balance & carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism, leaving an expectant Mum feeling both large and sick.

Our Osteopaths have gained a lot of experience working with pregnant women. The shifting stresses and strains of pregnancy, together with the changing hormonal influences on ligaments and joints, can highlight old physical weaknesses. Finding new ways to walk, sit and sleep as a result of the changes in size and shape may introduce new aches and pains.

Believe it or not low back pain, sciatica, hip pain and generalised backache is not an inevitable part of the pregnancy experience. In actual fact pregnancy is a time when women are usually very responsive to osteopathic treatment. Using massage techniques, mobilisation and stretching of joints, together with simple exercise regimes and sensible back care advice osteopathy can ease the strain. This also means that the body can be better prepared for labour and delivery.

We can also help out post nataly. After nine months of pregnancy and the experience of labour you now have a growing baby to lift, carry, feed, and comfort. Osteopathy is there to get you back in shape quickly and help you with the stresses and strains of early motherhood.

Almost 80% of women who are pregnant will experience some back pain, being most commonly felt in the following areas: sacroiliac joints (low in the back towards one side or another), the groin area , coccyx (tail bone), neck pain (due to increased breast size), pubic symphysis (front of pelvis) and upper thighs.

Pain tends to be due to altered posture and gait, and ligamentous stretching under hormonal influences.

In about 80% of ladies, back pain is usually localized, but the site may vary and is most common in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

Disc injuries can occur during pregnancy which can be very painful and your Osteopath will need to see you quickly to help with your recovery.

Back pain in pregnancy is thought to be due to a combination of mechanical, metabolic, circulatory, and psycho-social factors. Hormonal changes particularly in the first 3 months can lead to changes in the stretchiness of your ligaments with resultant joint strains. This is because hormones cause change at the insertion point of ligaments to the bone.

You would expect that your Lumbar curve (lordosis) would increase during pregnancy, but in reality this can actually decrease (flatten) at certain stages of pregnancy!

Thus back pain is due to soft tissue stretch and damage and due to altered blood flow to these regions.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your Osteopath will take a careful case history and then examine you in great detail, noting your ranges and quality of movement. He will do minor tests for trapped nerves.

When a diagnosis has been reached , your Osteopath will discuss the treatment options with you.

Although low back pain can be serious, the vast majority of injuries are not and can easily be helped by your Osteopath. He should normally be able to reduce your symptoms to a pain-free level and give you advice and exercise to help prevent future problems.

It is essential that you seek advice quickly because, apart from getting an accurate diagnosis, evidence shows that the sooner you consult your osteopath, the quicker you will be better!

The treatment and advice will take full consideration of the mother and baby and will be GENTLE and very carefully managed!

This is one of the most common conditions that Osteopaths treat and nearly always a patient can be helped by carefully prescribed Osteopathic treatment and advice!

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