Help pregnancy aches and pains

The hormonal changes, postural adaptations and the extra weight of carrying a baby during pregnancy can lead to discomfort. This can include aches and pains in the sacroiliac joints, the groin, coccyx, pelvis and upper thighs.

However low back pain, sciatica and generalised backache does not have to be the overwhelming experience of pregnancy.  The intervention of an osteopath can alleviate much of the discomfort through massage techniques, mobilisation and stretching of the joints in the time leading up to labour. Postnatal therapy is also useful in getting the body back to shape and easing the passage into early motherhood.

Osteopathy is a safe form of physical therapy that can benefit women during all the different stages of pregnancy. It can be applied in the following ways before, during and after birth.
Aches and pains

Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture.

If you have existing back problems or strains in your body from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for you to accommodate these changes, and you may suffer from discomfort as a result.

The ligaments of the whole body soften during pregnancy due to the action of hormones. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of your babys head through the pelvis. Unfortunately, this softening affects your whole body and makes it more vulnerable to strain during pregnancy.

Poor posture may cause backache, neck ache, headaches, aching legs and undue fatigue.
Osteopathic treatment is helpful in assisting your body to make postural changes. It can also help to make your pregnancy more comfortable.

Preparation for labour

An important part of preparation for childbirth is to ensure that your pelvis is structurally balanced and able to allow the passage of your baby down the birth canal.

Trauma to the pelvic bones, coccyx or sacrum at any time in your life can leave increased tension in the muscles and strain within the ligaments and bones of the pelvis. This can limit the ability of these bones to adjust during labour, and thus limit the size of the pelvic outlet.

Osteopathic treatment is extremely effective in releasing old strains within the pelvis, thus giving the best chance of an easy and uncomplicated labour.

In most cases, osteopathic treatment to ensure that the pelvis and uterus are correctly balanced and aligned can help with discomforts of later pregnancy, and can often help your baby to turn into a better position.

Treatment after birth

Birth can be traumatic for mother and baby. However, osteopathy can be effective in helping you both to recover.

Your pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains from the forces involved, particularly after a difficult delivery. Some of these strains can have a profound effect on your nervous system, and may contribute to postnatal depression.

After giving birth, your body not only has to recover from the changes it made during pregnancy, but also from the effects of delivery - all this while doing the very physically and mentally demanding job of caring for your new baby.

Caring for a baby can place enormous strain on the back during such activities as nursing in poor positions, lifting car seats (especially in and out of the car), reaching over the cot, or carrying your child on one hip.

Unresolved childbirth stresses can contribute to ongoing back problems, period problems, stress incontinence, constipation, headache and more.

Osteopathic treatment can help you to return to physical and mental health after birth by releasing strains from both pregnancy and labour. This will allow you to relax and enjoy your new baby.

It can provide relief from lower back and leg pain, neck and shoulder pain, discomforts around the thorax, indigestion, wrist pain, and postnatal problems of the pelvis.

Find an osteopath in your area.

Read how osteopathy is used on babies who have colic.

What therapies worked for you in pregnancy?
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4203 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5074 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.