Osteopathy is a form of manual healthcare that treats the whole person. Your osteopath will carefully select the most appropriate treatment techniques to maximise the safety and comfort of you and your growing baby*.
Changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body undergoes tremendous change to accommodate the growing fetus. Apart from the obvious physical changes like expansion of the abdominal region, hormonal releases can affect the function of your body’s internal systems. As your pregnancy progresses, the extra weight creates a shift in your body’s centre of gravity. Your supporting ligaments also soften. These factors can add stress to your body, causing problems like back pain, sciatica, insomnia, shortness of breath, swelling, high blood pressure and fatigue. Your osteopath can offer advice about managing these symptoms and demonstrate self-help techniques which you and your partner can use during pregnancy and labour. Your osteopath’s aim is to assist the natural process of pregnancy and birth – maximising your body’s ability to change and support you and your baby with a minimum of pain and discomfort.
Birthing and beyond
In birth, the descent of the baby through the pelvis is influenced by a range of factors. If the mother’s pelvis is twisted or stiff, it can interfere with the baby’s passage through the birth canal. Osteopathic care may restore and maintain normal pelvic alignment and mobility, helping to reduce musculoskeletal stresses during birth. After the birth, your osteopath may advise you to make return visits to prevent or manage problems like pelvic and low back strain, pelvic floor weakness, mastitis, incontinence, interrupted sleep and fatigue. An osteopath can make referrals to other health professionals if needed. This will help you meet your baby’s needs, whilst caring for your own.
Osteopaths commonly treat infants with:
- musculoskeletal problems
- growth pains
- constant crying
- feeding difficulties
- flat head syndrome.
Osteopathic care may assist the young body to adapt to growth-related changes, and can prevent health problems from developing. It can help your baby grow into a healthy child and, ultimately, a healthy young adult.
*Research and Evidence
- Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial.
Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, King HH, Fulda KG, Stoll ST
Published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2010 Jan;202(1):43.e1-8.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment slows or halts the deterioration of back-specific functioning during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- Prevalence and characteristics of women who consult with osteopathic practitioners during pregnancy; a report from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH)
Jane Frawley, Tobias Sundberg, Amie Steel, David Sibbritt, Alex Broom, Jon Adams.
Published in Bodywork and Movement Therapies (available via Science Direct subscription)
Women are visiting osteopaths for help with common pregnancy health complaints, highlighting the need for research to evaluate the safety, clinical and cost effectiveness of osteopathy in pregnancy.
- Coach MSN - DIY treatments for breastfeeding back pain and tightness 9/10/2015
- Femail.com.au - Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy Decreases Low Back Pain In Postpartum Women (interview with Melinda Banks)
- She Said - GOOD HEALTH IN BIRTHING AND BEYOND
- News.com.au - Zoe Foster-Blake on her continuing pregnancy-induced Osteitis Pubis - ‘I was in a bit of a dark place’