Pregnancy & Osteopathy
During pregnancy, the body undergoes huge physical changes both structurally and hormonally in a very short space of time. As the bump grows your body has to adapt to increased weight at the front of your body, having a direct effect on the spine and the natural curves of your spine. Hormones released throughout pregnancy also cause your ligaments to loosen in preparation for birth. Your muscles must then work harder to keep you upright and moving – no wonder they get tired and achey!
As the mind and body adapts to the growing baby, it is common to experience aches and pains. Treatment is gentle with cranial and functional release techniques, massage techniques and where required, gentle joint manipulation. You will be in the best possible care as the safety of the mother and baby is paramount at all times.
What Can I Do At Home?
There are things you can do to help with pain in your pregnancy to complement your osteopathic treatment. The main exercise is for your pelvic floor which help to support your back, your bump and give you as much preparation for birth as possible.
What Is My ‘Pelvic Floor’?
Your pelvic floor is a broad sheet of muscles, ligaments and sheet-like tissues. It attaches from your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis and stretches to the base of your spine at the back. They act like a sling or hammock to support your bladder, colon (bowel) and uterus (womb) and allows you to control the emptying of your bladder and bowels.
Why Is My Pelvic Floor SO Important?
Having a weak pelvic floor makes it harder to squeeze your sphincter muscles in your bottom to stop wee escaping.
Your pelvic floor also affects your vaginal muscles so a weaker pelvic floor may cause sex to be less satisfying.
You need you pelvic floor for more than just preventing problems during and after pregnancy as having a strong pelvic floor will protect you from injury to your back throughout your life. So get squeezing!
How Do I Find My Pelvic Floor?
As the muscles help to control your bladder and bowel, you can switch these on by imagining you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind or stopping your flow of urine mid-stream. Don’t practice this while you are passing urine though – it is only a test to find the muscles!
The feeling should be one of ‘squeeze and lift’, but also making sure not to have any tension in your buttocks or thighs, or even holding your breath. If you are having any trouble finding these muscles please speak to your osteopath, doctor or nurse for additional help.
How Do I Exercise My Pelvic Floor?
+ At first, squeeze these muscles for a second or two. Gradually build this up to 10 seconds. Repeat as often as you can until you have built up to 10 repetitions. Rest after each time you have contracted your muscles.
+ You can also try some fast and hard contractions where you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can and then let go straight away. Again, repeat this 10 times.
+ If your lower tummy muscles start tightening then this is fine. If your upper tummy muscles (above you belly button) are tightening then you are trying too hard. Relax and start again!
+ As well as doing your pelvic floor exercises daily, you should try to engage your pelvic floor muscles when you laugh, cough, bending and picking things form the floor – all the times when you need them most!