Pregnancy and Childbirth
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 20lb/10kg of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose physical strain on all the organs, soft-tissues, joints, ligaments and muscle.In order for the pregnant body to adapt to all these changes it has to find new ways to walk, sit and sleep resulting with new aches and pains arising.
Discomforts of Pregnancy
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture. If the mother has existing back problems, or strains in her body from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for her to accommodate these changes, and she may suffer more discomfort as a result.
The ligaments of the whole body soften during pregnancy due to the action of hormones (Relaxin). This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of the baby’s head through the pelvis. Unfortunately this softening affects the whole body and makes it more vulnerable to strain during the pregnancy.
Postural changes may cause backache, neckache,
headaches, sciatica, aching legs and undue fatigue.
As the uterus expands, it can stretch and squash the diaphragm contributing to heartburn. Postural changes through the lower ribs and spine can impede the action of the diaphragm and make breathing difficult.
Tension within the pelvis or diaphragm area can increase resistance to the return of venous blood to the heart from the lower half of the body. This can cause or aggravate varicose veins in the legs, and haemorrhoids
Preparing for labour with Osteopathy
Loosening the pelvis and releasing tensions from the lower back and abdomen will help you relax and experience a more comfortable labour and birth.
Q & A : Is Osteopathy safe in Pregnancy and while Nursing?
Osteopathic treatment for pregnant and new mums works physically with joints and muscles and does not involve taking any drugs of any kind, therefore it is safe to do and with no side effects whatsoever on unborn or nursing children.
Benefits of Osteopathy During Pregnancy
Osteopathic treatment while pregnant can ease some of the symptoms typically associated with pregnancy including:
- Aches and pains (back pain, neck and shoulder pain, muscular tension)
- Groin, lower abdominal pain or pubic symphysis pain
- Nausea and vomiting
An Osteopath can also:
- Provide advice on breathing techniques, stretches and exercise you can do to maintain your health and wellbeing throughout your pregnancy
- Help prepare ‘the way’ for a more trouble free childbirth, by improving flexibility in the pelvis and abdomen
Benefit of Osteopathic Treatment After Birth
Once you give birth to your baby, your body starts the process of returning to normal. However, these changes in weight distribution and posture often cause aches and pains, all whilst your body is still producing the hormone Relaxin. Also carrying your new baby and picking them up from their cot and in and out of cars involves you performing more movements which your body is not accustomed to. This is even more the case for mums that have had caesarean sections.
Osteopathy after a pregnancy can:
- Ensure your body returns back to shape quickly
- Help you regain your strength and flexibility
- Check and correct any remaining strains in the back and pelvis
During the process of a caesarean birth, an incision is made across the abdominal wall cutting through the abdominal muscles. These muscles are vital in protecting your back from over-straining. There is a tendency not to use these muscles whilst they are healing as it can be painful to do so. Even after the healing process is complete you may have got out of the habit of using these muscles which leaves you vulnerable to back problems.
Whilst breast feeding
The process of breast feeding inevitably leads to new mums having to maintain an unfamiliar posture for long periods several times throughout the day and night. The comfort of the baby whilst breast feeding is more important to a new mum than their own and they often find themselves positioned awkwardly, not wanting to move for fear of disturbing their baby whilst its feeding. This is often worse during the night feeds. This posture often leads to achy, painful and restricted shoulders, neck, and upper back.
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