Osteopathy and Pregnancy
Whether you have been pregnant yourself or you know others who have, there are a whole range of aches and pains that go can with such a blessing. The human body is remarkable in the way it can accomodate a growing baby and when you get to the third trimester, you can visibly see the functional demands placed on the mother.
The most common pregnancy related problem that we see as Osteopaths is low back pain. As the baby grows, it places increasing strain on the low back and pelvis. A frequent reported condition is Pelvic Girdle Pain which can range from mild to severe, where the mother may require crutches. 'Sciatica' can also be a problem where the Sciatic Nerve is compressed or stretched, leading to pain down the back of the leg, with associated pins and needles/numbness and/or weakness.
Foot mechanics in post natal women is often overlooked and there is an increasing incidence of medial arch drop and leg length discrepancies being attributed to musculoskeletal pains.
Other symptoms to pregnancy include indigestion, gastro-intestinal reflux, hypertension and carpal tunnel. Nausea can be severely debilitating in some and the NICE guidelines for this include ginger and acupuncture. Osteopaths are trained to recognse any serious signs and symptoms in pregnancy and will refer if needed.
The great news is, trials have shown the positive benefits of osteopathic treatment in pregnancy in easing aches and pains, as well as reducing the likelihood for intervention in labour. In fact, the NICE guidlelines recommend exercise in water, massage, and backcare classes for the management of back pain in pregnancy.
Osteopathic management of patients during pregnancy - a snapshot summary report (Nov 2012)