Pregnancy, Labour and Osteopathy
At such an exciting and hectic time, it is very common that mums-to-be neglect their own comfort, often believing aches and pains are to be expected in pregnancy and most especially during the last few months & weeks.
As a practitioner, if I haven’t had the opportunity to help the mum-to- be’s body prepare and adapt to changes early on, then I believe it incredibly beneficial to assess and treat her pre-labour.
Pre-existing back problems or past traumas to the pelvis, coccyx, or sacrum can leave the pelvic bowl in a state of increased muscular tension along with potential ligamentous and bony strains. Such strains can then impact on the quality of the labour and delivery, as it limits the bones of the pelvis from separating and moving to enable the baby to be born.
Preparing for childbirth means ensuring the mum-to-be’s pelvis is structurally balanced, thus allowing for the easiest possible passage of the baby down the birth canal. Seeking osteopathic treatment can aid this process as your practitioner will have identified and treated restrictions found within the pelvis before labour commences.
Top tips when preparing for labour:
Ensure you’re eating well - limit unhealthy options and maximise good, healthy, unprocessed foods
Stay well hydrated - drink water!! Limit caffeinated and sugary drinks as they both contribute to dehydration
Listen to your body - when you’re tired rest or try and sleep
Exercise - the fitter you are before and during the pregnancy, the more energy you’ll have for the labour and you’re also more likely to recover quicker too
Stretch!! - Developing/maintaining flexibility of your muscles before and during labour will enable freer movement and the ability to get into comfortable positions for the labour
Stretches for the hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors & calves
These can easily be done before exercising (after a warm up), after exercising, or at other times of the day.
Sitting cross legged on the floor will help the inside thigh muscles become more flexible
Sitting with your feet together in a diamond shape (instead of crossed) will stretch the inside thigh muscles
Sitting on the floor with your legs apart and knees straight will stretch the backs of your legs
Lying on your side and taking hold of your foot, pulling it gently towards your bottom. Pull your knee back also, until you feel a gentle stretch at the front of your thigh
Gastrocnemius – the outer muscle of the calf
Place one foot in front of the other at a comfortable distance apart. Keep the heel of your back leg on the floor and your knee straight (front leg, knee bent) while you lunge forwards until you feel a gentle stretch at the back of your calf
Soleus – the deeper calf muscle (both legs at the same time)
Standing in front of a wall, place your hands on it for support with your feet level but comfortably apart. Bend both knees until you feel a gentle stretch in your calf muscle
Always stretch gently during pregnancy as the hormone relaxin softens ligaments, which makes the body more flexible & thus more prone to overstretching. All stretches should be comfortable and no pain should be experienced. Each stretch can be held for about 30 seconds and may be repeated a couple of times.
Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy can also help mums-to-be with:
Adaptations to postural changes
Shortness of breath
Repetitive Strain Injury & Carpal Tunnel syndrome
Symphysis Pubis dysfunction
If you have any questions regarding how we can help you during your pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0403 990 590 or book an appointment online.