Is your body adapting to the challenges of pregnancy?
Bringing a new life into the world is a natural and extraordinary process. However, your body has to adapt to a unique set of challenges during the period. Cranial osteopaths believe that problems can arise during pregnancy because your body is already compromised; and although, there were no prior symptoms, the challenges of pregnancy has tipped your body’s balance until it has become over-burdened. As a result, there is pain, ache and stiffness.
When cranial osteopaths assess your body, they look for evidence of pre-existing strains and imbalances. Reducing them helps your body adapt more easily to your pregnancy and prepare for birth. Cranial osteopaths can help at every stage of pregnancy and with recovery, post-birth. Some of the conditions that cranial osteopaths can help with are listed below:
Back and neck pain
Pregnancy causes alteration of spinal curves, which results in increased loading on the posterior spinal ligaments and joints. Previously asymptomatic restrictions can lead to limitation of the body’s adaptive ability and to pain. The symptoms can be aggravated by other changes during the pregnancy: increased breast size, the upward pressure of the growing uterus, rounded shoulders, and other postural changes.
Many women experience morning sickness, especially during the early stages of pregnancy, and it can sometimes be severe. The brain’s nausea and vomiting centres can be aggravated by tension and restriction in the upper neck and head. A cranial osteopath can relieve these restrictions.
Also known as pubic symphysitis, this condition is common in pregnancy. It’s often associated with sacro-iliac dysfunction, and a cranial osteopath can help resolve the imbalance. Pubic-symphysis function is important in the mechanics of natural birth.
Poor diaphragmatic function can contribute to fluid retention. The thoracic diaphragm is a major pump for the lymphatic system whereby a pressure gradient is created in order to aid the flow of fluid to the heart. In later pregnancy, the baby’s position in the abdomen is also important for the fluid to be drained from the legs.
If the woman’s shoulders are rounded, drainage in the arms can be blocked, and the blockage can be a contributing factor in neck pain, carpal-tunnel syndrome and shoulder tendinitis.
This condition can be caused by pre-existing disc problems and / or the baby’s position. Disc problems can be aggravated during pregnancy because more and more pressure is placed on the disc due to the woman’s increasing weight.
Heartburn and indigestion
As the uterus expands, it can affect the ribs and diaphragm, and the expansion can be a contributing factor in heartburn.
Postural changes through the lower ribs and spine can cause impediment of the diaphragm’s action and contribute to breathing difficulties.
As the pregnancy develops, the baby’s position can affect bowel function.
The mother’s pelvis is vulnerable to retaining strains from the forces involved in childbirth. Unresolved strains can have an effect on posture and cause mechanical problems later on. The job of caring for a new baby can also take its toll. Tasks such as feeding, lifting a carry capsule, reaching over the cot, carrying, and being on-call day and night can cause repeated strain that can lead to pain and discomfort.
How can cranial osteopathy help?
Cranial osteopaths are trained to assess and treat underlying strains and imbalances. They believe that relatively minor strains and imbalances can contribute to over-loading the body, which can lead to symptoms. By treating underlying strains they can help the body adapt more easily to challenges particularly during pregnancy and preparation for birth. Every woman’s body and experience of pregnancy are different, so the role of the cranial osteopath during this time varies from person to person.
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