Pregnancy, Pre and postnatal care

The shape and circulation changes that a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy are quite significant.  Their centre of gravity shifts, their lower back changes its curve several times over the course of the pregnancy, their ribs must expand and their blood volume will increase by nearly 50%. All these changes can cause some discomfort and the muscles, joints and circulation all have to respond. Mothers who have had previous strains or injuries prior to becoming pregnant may experience increased discomfort as the pregnancy progresses.

As there are limited medications which are safe during pregnancy, osteopathy can be a useful treatment when a mother is not able to relieve her pain.  Cranial osteopathy can help the body adapt to these postural changes and make the pregnancy more comfortable via the use of a gentle, hands-on technique. Research also shows that having osteopathic treatment prior to birth can also lead to improved outcomes in labour and delivery with shorter delivery times and less complications reported.

Some conditions we may be able assist with include:

Osteopathic treatment following birth can be beneficial for both the mother and baby by relieving muscular and joint strains derived from both the pregnancy and labour. The mother's pelvis is exposed to strong forces during the birthing process which can result in lasting strains, particularly if there was a difficult delivery.  Post birth activities such as breast feeding, lifting and carrying and further sleep interruptions can place new strains on the mother's body. An osteopathic check-up for the baby is also recommended as birth trauma can also occur in babies. Factors that can contribute to birth trauma in an infant include a very long or very short labour; a difficult labour requiring the use of suction or forceps; lack of space in the womb resulting in poor positioning during the last few weeks of pregnancy; and trauma involving the mother during the birth or pregnancy.

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Research:

 

Lavelle JM

Published in the J Am Osteopath Assoc Jun;112(6):343-6 2012

Through the viscerosomatic connection, the hemodynamic changes of the maternal body can be controlled, the duration of labor reduced, and the complications of labor avoided.

Hensel KL, Buchanan S, Brown SK, Rodriguez M, Cruser dA

Published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Volume 212, Issue 1, January , Pages 108.e1–108.e9 2015

OMT is a safe, effective adjunctive modality to improve pain and functioning during the third trimester.

Smallwood CR, Borgerding CJ, Cox MS, Berkowitz MR

Published in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine Vol 16 (3) pages 170-177 2013

The patient was able to undergo labor and delivery completely without the use of medication via any route for pain or labor augmentation as the patient desired. Stage two of labor for a primiparous female was on the quicker end of the spectrum. OMT for the laboring woman should be considered as a treatment modality to facilitate a natural childbirth.

Hastings V, McCallister Am, Curtis SA, Valant RJ, Yao S

Published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, August 2016, Vol. 116, 502-509. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.103

Preliminary results demonstrate that OMT is efficacious for postpartum pain management. The lack of a control group precludes the ability to make causal claims. Future studies are needed to solidify OMT efficacy and generalizability.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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