Manual Osteopathy and Its Role During Pregnancy and Labour
By: Ali Haghighi, DOMP, RMO
Manual Osteopathy is a form of physical therapy that we provide at Ultimate Health Clinic. It is used to treat a variety of physical ailments, conditions, and general pain. Manual Osteopaths use their craft to enhance the well-being and the health of their patients by restoring the natural balance to the body. The philosophy of Manual Osteopathy is that your body’s function is directly tied to your structure, despite those aspects being independent. Manual Osteopathy helps to resolve somatic dysfunctions by helping the body self-regulate. They can do this by providing specific hands-on manipulative therapies directly to the body. These therapies help improve organ function, reduce nerve stress, ease pain, and create other benefits without the use of medication.
Manual Osteopathy for Pregnancy
Manual Osteopathy for pregnancy is a homeopathic form of physical therapy that can be beneficial during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. It is a gentle way to help the body make postural changes. These changes can result in a more comfortable pregnancy, a smoother labour process, and a quicker recovery period. Pregnancy can restrict many structures in the body, which reduces efficiency, causes posture to degrade, and can increase overall discomfort. Manual Osteopathy can return the body to its proper alignment, which allows it to better adapt to the changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth.
When the female body experiences pregnancy, it is faced with dramatic structural and physiologic changes that affect the way it works. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is an effective way to improve the body’s ability to adapt to pregnancy, while also reducing discomfort. OMT can help reduce pregnancy complications such as:
- Pelvic pain
- Back pain
- Poor Circulation
- Neck pain
- Perineal tension
- Ligament stress
- Sciatic pain
- Digestive disruption
- Poor posture
- Alignment disruption
The application of OMT has been proven to help pregnant women better maintain a proper structure while also eliminating somatic dysfunction. It is also beneficial in controlling the hemodynamic changes to better manage labor and prevent complications.
Manual Osteopathy during pregnancy is safe. It gently helps to relieve the discomforts that come with pregnancy through careful tissue adjustments. This therapy seeks to create harmony between the bone and musculoskeletal structures of the woman and the infant and organs in the uterine environment. It is normal for a woman to require assistance maintaining a healthy balance as her body changes during each stage of gestation.
A Manual Osteopath will employ abdominal palpations to identify and ease strains on the ligaments that are causing pelvic and lower back pain. The gentle techniques work to reduce lumbar and pelvic tension. This improves mobility and gives the body more adaptability for the constant postural changes caused by pregnancy. These treatments reduce stress on the woman. It also allows the fetus to move freely and maintain better positioning as the pregnancy progresses.
There are also benefits for the mother during labor and childbirth. Pelvic joint and bone manipulation help ensure that the body is better prepared to expel the infant. A Manual Osteopath will work with their changes throughout their pregnancy, helping them with stretching and various exercises to prepare the body for childbirth. This allows for energy to be directed towards fetal growth, improved maternal mental health, and smooth delivery.
There are two main ways in which a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. The first is the natural exaggeration of the spinal curvatures due to pregnancy hormones. The second is the increase in fluid located in the abdomen due to the fetus, placenta, and other liquids. These drastic changes affect the center of gravity. They also place strain on the muscles and ligaments during the pregnancy.
Manual Osteopathy successfully helps pregnant women to cope with back pain through the use of physical therapy and guided exercises. Posture correction and posture manipulation help to battle pain and chronic fatigue that occurs as a result of spinal curvature and the displacement of the coccyx, hip bones, and sacrum. OMT helps to correct displacement caused by pregnancy, which safeguards the health of both the woman and the fetus. Additionally, it helps to reduce perinatal complications dramatically through physical manipulation. It is also effective for pregnant women who have previous injuries or pelvic conditions that may place strain on the body during pregnancy.
Manual Osteopathy is beneficial for pregnant women during all stages of pregnancy. The most common initiation of the therapy is at the 12-week mark. As the pregnancy nears its completion, a Manual Osteopath can benefit the woman by helping her body to prepare itself for labour and childbirth. This is mainly completed by ensuring that the pelvis and uterus are properly balanced to reduce pain and promote proper fetal positioning.
Manual Osteopathy for Labour
Women often suffer structural damage as well as experience massive amounts of pain due to their body not being aligned prior to childbirth. Manual Osteopathy helps to keep the woman’s pelvis structurally balanced, creating a smooth birthing process for both the mother and the infant. Each person will have a different level of pain during their birthing experience. Some will feel very little while others may experience an excruciating amount.
The birth position, level of fear or confidence, mobility, and overall health will have a profound effect on how much or how little pain is felt. Labour in itself creates a high concentration of tension in the body, which can increase a woman’s fear and anxiety. While the use of epidurals and other medications during labour are common, Manual Osteopathy offers a less invasive option for pain management.
Many other things may increase the difficulty of giving birth as well, such as past trauma to the sacrum, coccyx, or pelvic bones. Old injuries, such as these can cause intense muscle and ligament strain through pregnancy and especially during labour. When a woman gives birth, her bones stretch creating a wider pelvic channel from which the infant can emerge. Working with a Manual Osteopath will help reduce the pain and rigidity of these areas in general. It also can help prepare a woman with past injuries for a smoother birth experience.
During childbirth, many things can affect the position of the infant as well as their journey through the birth canal. A rigid or twisted pelvis can complicate the birthing process, causing pain to mother and stress to the infant. Any form of imbalance in the pelvic area or to the ligaments of the pelvis can disrupt the position of a fetus in the womb. Manual Osteopathy is an effective way to ensure that a woman’s body is properly aligned prior to and during labour. This prevents undue restrictions and helps to relieve tension on the pelvis and lower back. Manual Osteopaths employ gently corrective techniques that ensure the proper posture and birth position.
We’re Here to Help
With a little help from the experts here at Ultimate Health Clinic, you’ll be able to find comfort and enjoy each stage of your pregnancy more. If you have any additional questions on osteopathy or you’d like to make an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us at (905)251-0162 today.