Up to 50% of pregnant women experience pelvic and back pain at some stage throughout their pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes mechanical, postural and hormonal changes which increase the load on your joints and your connective tissues in your pelvis and lower back. This can create tension, stiffness, and pain. During pregnancy, osteopaths can provide manual therapy, exercise support and postural advice which encourages movement and reduces pain for the mother-to-be.
Getting your body ready for birth
Osteopaths work with women across all trimesters of pregnancy to prepare your body for labour and birth. An osteopath will:
- Carry out a thorough assessment to identify any musculoskeletal or postural issues;
- Develop a management plan that consists of manual therapy and exercise to prepare your body for labour and birth;
- Provide individualised treatment to increase movement and reduce pain;
- Provide specific exercise, positioning, and postural advice to aid with comfort and reduce postural fatigue;
- Liaise with your midwife, obstetrician or GP and provide appropriate referral, if necessary;
After the birth of your baby, your body may need some time to recover. Your osteopath will take a health history to identify any post-partum complications such as post-natal depression, pelvic floor conditions, mastitis, or breastfeeding issues. Osteopaths trained in pelvic floor screening may provide an external physical examination of the pelvic floor. They may be able to provide treatment for some of these conditions or appropriate referral to another health professional for more specific diagnosis and treatment.
Exercise during pregnancy
Exercise and movement are helpful in reducing pain during pregnancy and may improve your overall health and wellbeing. Depending on your gestation, pain, and any clinical conditions your osteopath can provide an individualised exercise program and advice to help with improving your strength, flexibility and overall health.
Taking care of yourself and your baby
Osteopaths can provide additional support and advice for getting back to daily life and looking after your new baby.
There are many simple things you can do to look after yourself after your pregnancy, including:
- Eating a well-balanced, high-fibre diet and choosing meals that can bolster your mood and milk supply;
- Drinking plenty of water;
- Reaching out to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, lactation consultant or paediatrician for breastfeeding advice;
- Ensuring adequate rest and sleep;
- Speak with your GP about any conditions like irregular bleeding, mastitis, or post-natal depression.