There is no denying that pregnancy is one extremely daunting experience for many women (especially the first-time round, am I right?) and that is OKAY. Comparing the parenting advice from your friend Jane at lunch who has 3 kids under the age of 6, to your mother’s advice which usually revolves around “oh, I never worried about that with you” can be extremely stressful and can make you feel as though you need to pour coconut oil over your entire life to survive. However, there are many support systems in place to help you along the way for both your physical and mental health. This blog article is aimed at shedding some light onto how Osteopathy can assist you on your pregnancy journey. It is NEVER too late to see an Osteopath along your journey, whether you plan to deliver vaginally or by C-section. During pregnancy, there are many structural changes that occur, which can impact on your daily functioning. Due to biomechanical changes experienced during pregnancy, this can result on additional pressure on the spine and pelvis. This may lead to certain musculoskeletal pain and additional ailments which can impact on a woman’s wellbeing. Changes that you are likely to see
- Shift in your centre of gravity
- Rib expansion
- Softening of ligaments
- Increase in blood volume by almost 50%
- Mood Swings
Conditions that you might experience.
- Pelvic Girdle Pain
- Pubic Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Upper Back Pain
- Leg Pain
- Swelling of the legs
- Fatigue and Exhaustion (you are growing life remember!)
- High or Low Blood Pressure
Who are we? I hear you say it in your mind, “Ost-E-O-path…it’s something to do with bones, isn’t it?” correct, BUT we consider all your body systems and how they impact on your wellbeing through our wholistic approach to your health.
- Government registered allied health care professionals, who attend 5 years of accredited university study inclusive of clinical practice, anatomy, physiology, pathology, neuroscience and osteopathic studies.
- Osteopathy is covered by most private health funds and by Medicare’s Chronic Disease Management Plans, DVA patients, State Worker’s Compensation schemes and motor accident insurers (1).
- We take a thorough medical history, perform an extensive musculoskeletal examination and any other special orthopaedic or neurological testing if deemed necessary in the consultation.
- Hands-on treatment approach to suit your individual wellbeing goals and alleviate pain.
- We are highly skilled in supporting women throughout their pregnancies. Our role is to be supportive, aid in maternal biomechanics to help reduce pain and possible difficulties with labor.
So, how can Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy help my journey? With limited medication considered safe to take in pregnancy this leaves very few options for pain control. Osteopathic treatment in pregnancy is safe for both mothers and babies and uses non-invasive and gentle techniques that are carefully selected to minimise any risk and to assist the body to adapt to pregnancy-related changes. Pregnancy brings dramatic musculoskeletal changes that alter normal biomechanics, accompanied by ligamentous strain, increased muscle tension and decreased range of joint motion which can cause pain (2). In a recent study, the most common pregnancy related health conditions that women reported were musculoskeletal complaints including back pain at 39.5% (3). A study of 430 pregnant women found that feelings of depression, anger, anxiety and raised cortisol levels were associated with back pain and leg pain during pregnancy (6).
- As Osteopaths, one of our main philosophies is that structure and function are interrelated and symbiotic. Our treatments aim to normalize the structure so that it functions as efficiently as possible. We use techniques that will assist the natural process of pregnancy and birth by aiding the body to adapt, adjust and align as the pregnancy progresses.
- We use manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue massage, mobilisation of joints, myofascial stretching and joint manipulation (when deemed safe and appropriate), visceral techniques and Osteopathy in the Cranial Field. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is a body-based treatment that offers a conservative, non-invasive option for relieving pregnancy-related LBP while increasing back-related function (2).
Studies suggest that Osteopathic treatment provided during the third trimester of pregnancy lessens or halts the deterioration in back-specific functioning that often characterizes the third trimester of pregnancy and thereby provides an important clinical benefit when used as a complementary therapy (4). They also indicate that providing OMT as a complement to conventional obstetrical care during the third trimester of pregnancy has beneficial outcomes (5). Benefits of Osteopathic Treatment in Pregnant Women
- Decreased Duration of labor
- Decreased Sacroiliac Dysfunction
- Decreased Low Back Pain
- Decreased Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
- Decreased Use of forceps during delivery
- Decreased Likelihood of having a preterm delivery
- Decreased Blood Pressure
- Decreased Fluid Overload
- Decreased Probability of having meconium-stained amniotic fluid (8)
Download our free “Basic Pregnancy Stretches” HERE– Before commencing, remember to take this to your Osteopath, GP, Obstetrician to get clearance. How can Osteopathy help on your post-partum journey? Regardless of the type of labour and birth, women can experience a wide range of postnatal issues that can impact their function. Like pregnancy, there are limited medications deemed safe for breastfeeding. Your Osteopath may advise you to make return visits with your newborn to help prevent or manage conditions to help you meet your baby’s needs, whilst caring for your own. Conditions you may experience post-partum;
- Back and neck pain due to postural challenges relating to breastfeeding.
- Fatigue, anxiety or depression due to sleepless nights and the constant changes you experience as a new mum.
- Incontinence and constipation due to changes in the pelvic floor and pelvic mechanics
- Lifting babies, prams and capsules causing musculoskeletal strains and sprains.
- Pelvic imbalance from pregnancy and labour (including C-Sections).
- osteopathy.org.au, (2017). Retrieved 12/11/2017. Osteopathy: About Us. From www.osteopathy.org.au.
- Hensel, K., Buchanan, S., Brown, S., Rodriguez, M., Cruser, D. (2015). Pregnancy Research on Osteopathic Manipulation Optimizing Treatment Effects-The PROMOTE study A Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, V (212), p1-16.
- Frawley, J., Sundberg, T., Steel, A., Sibbritt, D.,Broom, A., Adams, J. (2016). Prevalence and characteristics of women who consult with osteopathic practitioners during pregnancy; a report from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (available via Science Direct subscription). V (20). p.168-172.
- Licciardone, J., Buchanan, S., Fulda, K., Stoll, S. (2010). Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment of Back Pain and Related Symptoms During Pregnancy: A randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. V (202). p.1-15.
- Licciardone, J. (2017). Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. V (117). P.289-290.
- Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C. (2006). Stability of mood states and biochemistry across pregnancy. Infant behaviour and Development Journal. V (29). p262-267.
- Saurel-Cubizolles, MJ., Romito, P., Lelong, N., Ancel, PY. (2000). Women’s health after childbirth: a longitudinal study in France and Italy. International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. V (107). P 1202-1209.
- Lavelle, J. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Pregnant Women. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. V (112). p343-346.