Pregnancy and Postpartum

Research shows that the majority of women will suffer some pain or discomfort during pregnacy. The incidence of low back pain pregnancy is stated at between 50% and 66% (1,2,3,4)

The Osteopathic approach during pregnancy has two aims.

Firstly, to reduce any pain and discomfort the mother may be feeling. The body undergoes huge physical and hormonal changes as the pregnancy progresses. Previous asymptomatic restrictions may limit the body's ability to adapt to the growing baby and contribute to pain and discomfort. By addressing these restrictions the Osteopath aims to help reduce your symptoms.

Secondly, it is important that the pelvic mechanics are functioning freely to allow the pelvic bones, sacrum, coccyx and related soft tissues to move synchronously with the descent and birth of the baby, thus reducing stress on both the mother and baby.

Osteopathic research shows some positive results for Osteopathic care during pregnancy, improving back pain and delivery outcomes.  As always, further scale research needs to be done to build on these results. (6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

During your appointment a full case history and examination take place and techniques used to resolve the restrictions take into account the stage of pregnancy.

We commonly see women with the following complaints:

  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Pubic symphysis pain
  • Mid back pain
  • Fluid congestion
  • Rib pain
  • Headaches

Post-natal care
After the baby is born, Osteopathic treatment may aid your recovery. Approximately two thirds of women are likely to experience back pain directly after the delivery, with over a third of women still having back pain after several months (5).

Due to the sudden postural changes after giving birth, the mid back area is placed under increased pressure. This combined with breast feeding may often lead to back and shoulder pain. This is a very common complaint seen in new mothers and usually responds well to osteopathic treatment.

Other conditions treated in post-partum women include:

Coccyx pain
Low back pain
Pelvic pain

 

References:

(1) Intervention for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Pennick V, Liddle SD. Publichsed in Crochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 1;8:CD001139.doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub.3.

(2)Andersson, GB. Haagstad, A. Jansson, PO.Svensson, HO. The relationship of low-back pain to pregnancy and gynaecological factors. Spine August 1990.

(3) Colliton, J. Managing Back Pain During Pregnancy. MedGenMed. 1(2), 1999.

(4) Galleher, C. Functional Changes in Back Muscle Activity Correlate With Pain Intensity and Prediction of Low Back Pain During Pregnancy. (Statistical Data Included). Physical Therapy. July 1999 v79 i7 p711.

(5) Andersson, GB. Ostgaard, HC. Postpartum low-back pain. Spine. March 1992

(6) King, HH. Tettambel, MA. Lockwood, MD. Johnson, KH. Arsenault, DA. Quist, R. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Prenatal Care: A Retrospective Case Control Design Study. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Dec 2003, v103 n12 p577-582.

(7)Whiting, LM. Can the length of labor be shortened by osteopathic treatment? Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 1911;11:917-921.

(8)Hart, LM. Obstetrical Practice. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 1918:609-614. Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, King HH, Fulda KG, Stoll ST
Published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2010 Jan;202(1):43.e1-8.

(9) Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, King HH, Fulda KG, Stoll ST. Published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2010 Jan;202(1):43.e1-8.

(10) Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Pennick V, Liddle SD. Published in Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 1;8:CD001139. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub3.

Please see our research page for information on supporting studies.