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Osteopathy and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a unique and powerful experience. Enormous physical, hormonal and emotional changes take place over a relatively short period of time. The body has to adapt to carrying up to 20kg of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose physical strain on all the organs and tissues. Osteopathic treatment during and after pregnancy is safe and can be beneficial in a number of ways:

  • Easing some of the physical discomforts of pregnancy
  • Preparing for the demands of labour
  • Helping the mother to recover after birth

During a natural vaginal delivery a baby must pass through the mothers' pelvis. Trauma to the pelvic bones, coccyx or sacrum at any time in a mother's life can leave increased tension in muscles and strain within the ligaments and bones of the pelvis. This can limit the ability of these bones to separate and move out of the way during labour, and thus limit the size of the pelvic outlet. Osteopathic treatment is extremely effective at releasing old strains within the pelvis, thus giving the best chance of an easy and uncomplicated labour.

Childbirth stresses

The mother's pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains from the forces involved in labour, particularly after a difficult delivery. During childbirth the mother's pelvis can become distorted to allow the baby's head to descend. In many cases this distortion corrects itself, but if severe it can remain for many years and disrupt spinal and pelvic mechanics. Unresolved childbirth stresses in the mother can contribute to ongoing back problems, period problems, stress incontinence, constipation, headache and more.

Recovery from pregnancy

After giving birth, the body not only has to recover from the changes made during pregnancy but also from the effects of delivery and cope with the demands of having a new baby. Caring for a baby can place enormous strain on the back, during such activities as nursing in poor positions, lifting car seats especially in and out of the car, reaching over the cot, or carrying a child on one hip. Osteopathic treatment can help the mother to return to normal after birth by releasing strains from both pregnancy and labour. This allows her to relax and enjoy her new baby.

Is Osteopathy safe during Pregnancy?

Gentle osteopathic techniques are safe at all stages of pregnancy. However due to the delicate nature of pregnancy during weeks 12 and 16 treatment is avoided or heavily modified for those weeks.

Techniques used:

Treatment is influenced by the medical history of the mother, her physical condition, her symptoms and the type of techniques with which she is comfortable. The following Osteopathic techniques which may be used in the treatment of pregnant women:

  • Soft tissue massage to reduce muscle tension
  • Articulation or gentle joint movement to improve nutrition in and around the joint and to increase the joints range of motion
  • Cranial Osteopathy
  • Inhibition / Neuromuscular Release to release acute muscle spasm without causing further irritation to inflamed tissues
  • Manipulation and mobilisation to increase the range of motion of a specific joint

Rosedale Road Osteopaths has a close working relationship with the Midwives, Obstetricians and the Paediatrician at Kate Shepard Midwifery. For more information about Kate Shepard Midwifery please visit their website