General aches and pains are very common during pregnancy and can be experienced anywhere in the body, commonly feet, legs, lower back, mid back and neck. These are normally due to the change in body shape and the carrying of extra weight.
Posture can change markedly during pregnancy and osteopathy can gently help your body to cope with its extra pressures.
As the pregnancy develops, hormones which are released start to soften the ligaments to allow the pelvis and spine to give a little during delivery. Sometimes these hormones soften other ligaments in the body, which can cause overstrain in other areas. Your osteopath will be aware of this and can treat accordingly.
Postural changes as the pregnancy progresses or the position of the baby may also cause conditions such as low back pain, pelvic joint pains of the sacro-iliac joints or symphisis pubis, hip and leg pain, ‘sciatica’, upper back and neck strain which may lead to headaches, and rib pain. Again your osteopath can use gentle techniques to relax muscles and reposition joints which may help to ease such conditions.
Digestive problems such as indigestion, heartburn, nausea and vomiting are very common for many mothers and can be very debilitating during pregnancy. By restoring balance to the body, taking the pressure off the digestive organs and helping with circulation to the liver, osteopathy may be effective in easing these problems of digestion. Often this is due in part to strain in the lower ribs/mid back or because the baby’s position is exerting pressure on the upper abdomen and diaphragm (the ‘breathing muscle’). Osteopathic treatment may help address these changes by improving mobility in the mid back
and upper abdomen.
For similar reasons, breathing difficulties are also very common as additional stress on the mid back and around the diaphragm can impede normal breathing mechanics. Osteopathic treatment can help restore mobility and improve the function of the thorax and rib cage.
Circulatory problems such as varicose veins, swollen ankles and haemorrhoids may also be relieved with osteopathic treatment. The growing baby takes up extra room in the pelvis and abdomen, putting pressure on the vital fluid drainage systems of the veins from the legs and pelvic floor. This causes the swelling of the vessels and limbs. Osteopathy can help to alleviate the
pressure and improve the drainage by freeing up the pathways for the circulation of blood and lymph.
In preparation for labour it is very important to make sure that the mother’s lower back, pelvis, hips and uterus are moving well and in their optimal positions. Good balance of these structures is a great preparation for labour and delivery to help to enable a smooth passage of the baby down the birth canal. Previous trauma to or pre-existing conditions of the pelvis, sacrum, coccyx or lower back can restrict/limit mobility, or cause ligamentous and muscular tension. This can limit the ability of the pelvic
joints to ‘give’ during delivery, which may cause a more difficult labour.
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