During pregnancy, women’s bodies undergo some postural changes in the musculoskeletal system caused by the growth of the fetus. With its treatments, osteopathy can be beneficial: Osteopathic treatments allow us to face pregnancy and childbirth with less pain and more significant serenity.
Osteopathy in pregnancy
The woman’s body undergoes natural changes in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the belly is not growing yet, and the musculoskeletal system is not yet undergoing postural changes. At this stage of pregnancy, osteopathic treatments are not necessary. They, indeed, are not recommended (especially regarding the lumbar area).
From the second but especially from the third trimester, it is common for pregnant women to experience pain in the lower back, which becomes more acute around the 26th to 28th week. Back pain, cervicalgia, sciatica, and pelvic floor heaviness may also appear.
To prevent the onset of osteomuscular pain and back pain that we know occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy, pregnant women should begin preparing their body for physiological changes as early as the second trimester by seeing an osteopath with experience in pregnancy for an initial evaluation.
The earlier one starts the treatment, the more effective it will be and, thus, the less musculoskeletal pain in pregnancy and during labor and delivery.
Osteopathy acts on the superficial and deep tissues. It prevents the creation of osteoarticular and myofascial tensions that lead to the onset of women’s limitations to movement.
Benefits of osteopathy in pregnancy
In pregnancy, osteopathy works specifically in the pelvic floor and the joint and myofascial system, thus preparing the tissues of the mother-to-be, eliminating or rebalancing areas of hypomobility and tension, and improving posture.
It has been shown that some obstetric complications requiring episiotomy (a surgical incision at the level of the vaginal opening) and/or using a suction cup during labor may be due to the positional and tensional asymmetry of the pelvis. By specifically treating asymmetry and the pelvic floor with exercises, all tensions that may affect the uterus area are eliminated, asymmetries are rebalanced, and consequently, the expulsive phase is made as physiological as possible.
This does not mean that all birth pain will disappear. Still, it is statistically relevant that women who undergo osteopathic treatment have less birth pain and fewer complications. In addition, osteopathic treatment can also offer numerous indirect benefits on nausea and headache, often muscle tension, fatigue, and gastroesophageal reflux.
Osteopathy in pregnancy: How many sessions are needed?
Generally, osteopathy treatments need between 4 and 7 sessions. They are always customized based on the characteristics of the pregnant woman.
It must be taken into account that there are specific periods during pregnancy in which the skeletal system needs to cope with specific compressive forces and the increase in size of the fetus in the uterus.