Pregnancy is a time of great joy and huge changes both emotionally and physically. In fact, a women’s body will go through more changes in this short timeframe than any other period of her life! Therefore it is not surprising that the majority of women experience some discomfort at some point during their pregnancy.
Osteopathy can help alleviate many of the associated musculoskeletal conditions associated with the stresses placed on the body during pregnancy. But how? Osteopathy addresses the whole body, looking at all muscles, joints, ligaments and their relation to one another to establish the root cause of a problem. This makes the problem easier to manage, less likely to re-occur, and better prepares your body to adapt to the stresses and strains of pregnancy.
Here are 5 main ways Osteopathy can help you throughout your pregnancy
1. Realigning spinal curves – During the later stages of pregnancy, your centre of gravity shifts further forward, placing increased strain on the joints and nerves of the lower back, leading to low back pain and sciatica - one of the most well-known pregnancy associated symptoms. Osteopathy can help you prepare for these changes and also alleviate the pressures placed on the joints through gentle stretching, mobilisation and manipulation.
2. Strengthening joints – During pregnancy, your body increases its production of Relaxin, the hormone that helps your joint ligaments relax and allows the baby to move more easily through the pelvis during labour. However, as there is no filter on the levels of the hormone produced, this can become problematic for some women and lead to excessive mobility at the pubic symphysis and sacro-iliac (pelvic) joints. Osteopathy can help strengthen the muscles overlying the joints, providing increased stability and reducing the likelihood of pain associated with muscle strains and joint hypermobility.
3. Preventing compensatory patterns elsewhere - It is not just low back and pelvic pain that can be an issue during pregnancy. The changes at the lower spine can have a knock-on effect further up, causing rounding of the shoulders and upper back and neck tension. This may be further exacerbated by breast tissue changes and the fact that the ribs are starting to expand to accommodate the growing uterus. Gentle stretches, exercises and postural advice are great for keeping the body strong, supple and able to more easily withstand the changing demands placed on it.
4. Promoting strength of pelvic floor muscles – the increased weight (up to 8kg!) placed on the pelvic floor by the foetus, placenta and surrounding tissues and fluids means your pelvic floor has a lot of work to do. Many women find themselves forgetting to do these simple exercises or doing them incorrectly which can lead to minor problems such as urinary incontinence or more severe complications such as uterine and bladder prolapses. An Osteopath can help check you are doing these exercises correctly, ensuring the right muscles are engaged and helping you find easy ways to incorporate them into your daily routine.
5. Encouraging good circulation and reduces fluid retention - The ever increasing uterus can place pressure on the large vessels responsible for fluid drainage leading to the common and uncomfortable symptom of lower limb oedema (swollen legs and ankles). Soft tissue and lymphatic drainage techniques can help promote fluid drainage and relieve pressure build up in the extremities.
Interested? Please contact Sian Smith on 020 3757 6544 or 01895 2000 50 to discuss or seek advice