The road to empowering your pregnancy journey and beyond

The road to empowering your pregnancy journey and beyond

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.

  • Sciatica
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain
  • Pubic Pain
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Upper Back Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • 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).

References:

  1. osteopathy.org.au, (2017). Retrieved 12/11/2017. Osteopathy: About Us. From www.osteopathy.org.au.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Licciardone, J. (2017). Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy. The Journal of the American Osteopathic AssociationV (117). P.289-290.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Lavelle, J. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Pregnant Women. The Journal of the American         Osteopathic Association. V (112). p343-346.
Having trouble getting good sleep?

Having trouble getting good sleep?

  • Maintain a regular daily schedule.
    • keeping routine with when you eat, exercise, go to bed and wake up in the morning can really help your body know when it’s time to wind down and relax ready to go to sleep. Shift work constant change in bed time or get up time can make it more difficult for some people to easily fall into restful sleep.
  • Reduce or time your caffeine intake.
    • Essentially caffeine is a stimulant and can block the action of a natural brain chemical that is associated with causing drowsiness and slowing down of neural activity that naturally induces sleep. This is often very handy when you need a “kick” to ward off tiredness or drowsiness but obviously is not helpful when you want to sleep. Using caffeine during the day because you are tired from sleeping poorly can become a viscous cycle in sleep problems and tiredness. Caffeine can be found in is found in coffee, tea, cocoa, cola soft drinks and energy drinks, chocolate bars, energy bars and some medications, like cough syrup and weight loss tablets. The effects of caffeine can last for up to between 8-14hrs
  • Turn off computer and TV screens
    • Our normal body clock is affected by artificial light. Short wavelength blue light which is most commonly used on back lit devices like phones, laptops and ipads is the most disruptive. Because of the exposure the body does not produce as much melatonin which is the hormone that is usually produced in us as it gets dark and helps to naturally cause sleepiness.
  • Don’t go to bed on a really full stomach.
    • bloating or irritation of a full stomach can make it had for you to relax into restful sleep
  • Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach.
    • hunger can also leave you restless
  • Engage in regular exercise.
    • Studies that have been performed suggest that exercise significantly improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia. Also noting if morning or afternoon exercise has an affect
  • Limit fluid consumption before bed.
    • waking in the night to go to the bathroom can disrupt your sleep and make it difficult for some people to fall back asleep again.
  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
    • a dark environment promotes natural metatonin release which can naturally help induce sleep
  • Invest in a good bed and pillows etc.
    • Comfort is an important factor. Neck pain, back pain, headaches or other aches from ill supporting pillows, or mattress can make it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep for a good length of time as can being too hot or too cold.
  • Get in tune with your internal alarm clock – Try to go to sleep and wake by it.
    • If you are naturally tired early and are an early riser maybe don’t fight it and try staying up late in the evening to watch tv or to do things. When you’re in a good sleep routine and achieving quality sleep you often find your body will tire and wake and predictable times