Osteopathic care during pregnancy and beyond.
Growing Bones specialises in osteopathic care for pregnant women and new mothers. Pregnancy and new motherhood brings about significant physical, emotional, psychological and social changes, and it’s important that women are supported during this time of transition.
Pregnancy can be one of the most precious and critically important periods in a woman's life. Our practitioners and teachers are incredibly passionate about providing osteopathic and complementary holistic care to during pregnancy and early motherhood ensure both mother and baby remain physically and emotionally healthy.
Wellbeing in pregnancy is important for both mum and baby.
Research suggests that infants are born with biochemical profiles identical to their mothers. This means that when if a pregnant woman is stressed or anxious, in pain or depressed, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released and produces ‘survival’ responses in the mother and her developing baby.
Fortunately this action works both ways. Maternal feelings of relaxation and wellbeing may promote the release of feel-good hormones that affect the growing baby and support infantile growth in a stress-free and emotionally nourishing environment.
Stress is a natural part of life, and pregnancy often triggers stress for many reasons. There is now strong research to demonstrate the therapeutic effects of massage and bodywork on the stress levels of pregnant women, and these benefits are transferable to the growing baby.
Osteopathic care in pregnancy works to reduce pain and improve postural alignment, and also to cultivate feelings of of calm, wellbeing, relaxation, and emotional and physical nurturing, which have significant physiological effects on both mother and baby.
The most common reasons for pregnant women to seek osteopathic care include, but are not limited to...
- Pelvic pain (Sacroiliac joint and/or pubic symphysis)
- Groin pain
- Lower back pain
- Maintenance of general health and wellbeing
- Sciatic pain
- Middle, upper back, and neck pain
- Rib cage pain
- Headache and/or face pain
- Fluid retention
- Carpal tunnel: tingling in the hands
- Anxiety / stress
How does osteopathic care help pregnant women and babies?
Osteopathic treatment in pregnancy aims to reduce pain, improve postural balance and improve fluid dynamics including blood flow, venous (veins), and lymphatic drainage throughout the body.
We believe that osteopathy and movement therapy during pregnancy may provide a wonderful opportunity to establish positive and lasting changes in a woman’s physical body, emotional and psychological states, which also positively influence her baby’s growth and development.
Osteopathic care at Growing Bonis aims to make the most of increased flexibility of a pregnant woman’s body. Treatment is and applied to gently and deeply release areas of chronic restriction and injury. This helps to balance the female body in pregnancy and positively affect function and thereafter.
What to expect from your osteopathic treatment session at Growing Bones:
Your osteopath will take a comprehensive case history to understand how you are physically and emotionally adjusting to pregnancy, and ensure osteopathic care safe for you. An osteopathic diagnosis is made, and subsequent treatment includes gentle soft-tissue massage, stretching, and subtle balancing (cranial/biodynamic) techniques to establish balance and flexibility throughout the body. These osteopathic techniques may help the pregnant body to better adapt to changes in weight, improve balance during walking and other movement, and optimal positioning of the growing baby inside the uterus.
NOTE: Although osteopathic is recognised as a safe and effective therapy for pregnant women, it is advised to check with your general practitioner or obstetrician if you are in a ‘high-risk’ category before seeking osteopathic care.
Studies indicate that osteopathy is beneficial during pregnancy.
The science behind how osteopathy helps during pregnancy is fairly new, but there have been some exciting studies undertaken in the last few years:
“Our results indicate that OMT [Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment] lessens or halts the deterioration in back-specific functioning that often characterizes the third trimester of pregnancy and thereby provides an important clinical benefit when used as complementary therapy” - Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment of Back Pain and Related Symptoms during Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial
“Treatment of somatic dysfunction in pregnant women can enhance homeostasis and improve comfort and quality of life as the maternal body adapts to the physiologic and structural changes of pregnancy. Through the application of OMT, osteopathic physicians can dramatically improve the lives of women during pregnancy.” - The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2012, Vol. 112, 343-346.
Osteopathic care may also help the body to recover postnatally.
Pregnancy and its accompanying physical, mental and emotional changes require significant adjustment for most women. The adjustment can be even greater postnatally as you have a new baby to care for with interrupted sleep while your body undergoes great readjustment, over months and years it slowly goes back to ‘normal’. Depending on your pregnancy, labour, and postnatal condition women may experience a wide range of issues.
In the first 1 to 2 days after childbirth, many women experience muscle fatigue and aches, particularly of the shoulders, neck, and arms, because of exertion during labour. The levels of the hormone relaxin gradually subside, and ligaments and cartilage of the pelvis begin to return to their pre-pregnancy positions. These changes may cause hip and joint pain that often interferes with ambulation and exercise.
Even weeks after your baby’s delivery, you may be experiencing residual physical stresses left over from labour such as lower, mid, or upper back pain, along with menstruation issues, incontinence, or constipation. Abdominal wall weakness, abdominal separation, and pelvic floor weakness are common.
Osteopathy in the first few weeks and months post birth may help provide comfort and relaxation by decreasing muscular tension and improving postural balance.
Osteopathic treatment aims to reduce any pain or discomfort after childbirth, helping to restore and maintain healthy pelvic alignment after labour. This in turn supports a healthy posture and increased mobility so that you can relax and enjoy your new baby.
Prescription of gentle stretches and postural advice further assists mothers physically recover and remain functional outside of the osteopathic clinic, so they are free to care for their new arrival.
Want to know more about osteopathic care for pregnancy?
To find out if osteopathy is suitable for you, you are welcome to speak with our osteopath by calling us on (03) 9687 3040, or make an appointment using our secure online booking tool.
Osteopathy for pregancy: references and elevant studies…
Cortisol Decreases and Serotonin and Dopamine Increase following Massage Therapy Authors: Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Miguel Diego, Saul Schanberg & Cynthia Kuhn.
Prenatal depression effects on the fetus and newborn: a review Authors: Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif & Miguel Diego.
Pregnancy anxiety and comorbid depression and anger: Effects on the fetus and neonate Authors: Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Miguel Diego, Saul Schanberg, Cynthia Kuhn & Debra Bendell.