Osteopathy and Pregnancy

Pregnancy and childbirth is a time of numerous changes and transformations within the female body affecting daily activities. These changes can often be taxing on the body and it is common through the course of your pregnancy, to develop some aches and pains. 50% of pregnant women will experience some lower back pain at some point during or postpartum (APA,2017). However, while its common it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer. Osteopathic treatment aims to assist the changes throughout this time period so you can experience minimal pain and discomfort (Marsden 2014).

How can Osteopathy help?

The intention of osteopathic treatment is to create structural balance through touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to relieve muscular tension and help the body’s own healing mechanisms (Gosc,2019). Osteopathic treatment is a safe and gentle approach throughout the different stages of pregnancy and is recommended in the Cochrane database. An Australian study on women’s health suggests more women are now going to see an osteopath during their pregnancy for common pregnancy health complaints including lower back pain (Frawley et al 2016).

One major effect during pregnancy on the body is from a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone that prepares for labour by slightly relaxing your ligaments especially in and around your pelvis (MacLennan, 1991). Relaxin will enable the pelvis to promote the safe progression of the baby’s head by increasing the space of the pelvic outlet through the pelvis on delivery.  Unfortunately, the hormonal effects on the ligaments can partly contribute to altered stability and pain in the pelvic region during pregnancy (Aldabe et al 2012). The effect of relaxin can also be found in other ligaments throughout the body including the feet post pre and post-partum as Segal et al (2012) reported.

Osteopathic treatment has been shown to be beneficial for women in reducing or stopping back related pain in the third trimester of pregnancy through techniques such as soft tissue, myofascial release, muscle energy and mobilization (Licciardone et al 2010). Multiple other studies have shown that osteopathic manipulative treatment is beneficial in decreasing pain and improving function during pregnancy and post-postpartum for back and pelvic pain (Franke et al 2017;Hensel et al 2015;Pennick & Liddle 2013). Osteopathy has been reported to improve the comfort and quality of life throughout the different stages of pregnancy ( Lavelle,2012). For more on how osteopathy and city osteopathy can help you, please call us for more details.