A number of our female patients are expecting babies. They tend to visit the clinic at a relatively advanced stage of the pregnancy, when the greater weight of the child is beginning to provoke lower back, pelvic or hip pain.
Beyond the first term, Osteopathy is a highly helpful form of pre-natal and post-natal therapy in reducing aches and pains as the pregnancy progresses, preparing the body for effective delivery and speeding up recovery after birth.
Many of our pregnant patients are active professionals or family carers, who often tend to pursue their existing active lifestyles regardless, and don’t make the necessary adjustments and concessions to their pregnancy until pain stops them in their tracks.
Thus during pregnancy, the support provided by holistic osteopathy needs to extend well beyond the gentle joint mobilisation, muscle stretching and soft tissue massage that patients expect to receive.
Right from the first session, it is important to assess the lifestyle factors that may cause upset and trigger pain: simple issues such as banning high heels for the duration, not carrying heavy weights on one arm or shoulder, how to get in and out of cars, and relying on legs rather than on the back to stoop low etc. all contribute to stave off the risk of injury during pregnancy.
We try and help our patients to be more aware of their posture and work ergonomics, both in the office and at home.
Our patients are encouraged to adopt a tailored range of simple and gentle physical exercises to address the factors causing pain and stiffness, and foster the postural alignment, muscle balance and tissue health that will support the remainder of the pregnancy and prepare for a positive and empowering delivery.
Relaxation, visualisation and breathing exercises are also routinely used in conjunction with the physical exercises, specifically in the weeks directly preceding delivery.
Surprisingly, an area often neglected in preserving good physical shape, limiting undue weight gain during pregnancy and looking after the baby-to-be is the patient’s diet. Detailed dietary assessment and sound nutritional advice provided early on really help to manage weight, optimise mother and baby body tissue health, and favour prompt recovery post-delivery.
In our experience, addressing this full range of concerns really helps our patients’ feel they are in charge of the process and can play a leading role in ensuring a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy, and a more straightforward delivery.
An added bonus to these treatments is that we often get to welcome older children and partners in our clinic; in so doing, we can assist in their active involvement in preparing for this very special event.
Last but not least, a classic pitfall following a safe delivery is that all the focus centres on the baby to the exclusion of the Mother’s post-natal aches and pains, which are then ignored until well-entrenched and chronic. Encouraging pregnant mums to actively plan for a few post-natal treatments really helps them rapidly reclaim their previous form.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss our range of treatments/support for pregnancy. Bridge to Health is based in Uxbridge, west London.