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Osteopathy during pregnancy

Osteopaths spend a long time in their training understanding biomechanics and the relationships between different structures and how they influence each other, whether they be organs, joints, muscles, connective tissues blood or lymphatics. This makes the osteopathic model of treating the whole person particularly suited towards pregnancy, as the influence that all these structures have on each other is rarely more apparent in the normal life cycle than in pregnancy.

This allows the osteopath to not only diagnose the specific complaint, but to understand the intricacies of how it came about and which structures were involved to bring one area under particular stress or strain leading to pain. In this way the osteopath can then treat all the related areas to help resolve the particular stress that your body is experiencing.

Back or pelvic pain in pregnancy is so common, reportedly up to 75%, that some obstetricians consider it normal. Osteopaths, however, do not. Many of the consultant obstetricians we have spoken to, and who regularly refer patients to us, have recognised the benefit of sending women early in their pregnancy for osteopathic assessment so that we can work with you to avoid many of the strain patterns and pain you may experience during pregnancy. Osteopaths do this through careful treatment, advice and specific exercises.

Depending on the severity and prognosis of the problem, a course of treatment may be advised by the osteopath, particularly in pregnancy where the stresses on the body are likely to increase as the baby grows and gets heavier. However some problems can be resolved in one or two sessions.

Treatment in pregnancy is often very gentle especially in the early stages around 12-16 weeks when spontaneous miscarriage is most likely. Even though there is no danger of miscarriage associated with any form of osteopathic treatment, manipulation or clicking of joints is generally avoided during this time, not least to allay any fears the patient may have.

Instead the osteopath may treat using a variety of techniques including cranial osteopathy which is very gentle indeed but a profound way of helping the body resolve tensions on a deep level and is suitable for all stages in pregnancy as well as treating new-borns and children.

Osteopaths consider their role as complementary to the midwife and obstetrician in the management of the pregnancy and will, where necessary, discuss their findings and treatment plans with the medical team to help you manage the pregnancy and delivery appropriately and with the least intervention necessary.