The benefits of osteopathy for pregnant women

The benefits of osteopathy for pregnant women
The benefits of osteopathy for pregnant women

Throughout the pregnancy many changes in the posture and balance of the whole body of the woman will occur according to individual dynamics and in connection with the condition of her state of he alth.


These physical manifestations will be different from one woman to another and very often from a first to a second pregnancy.

The following musculoskeletal, visceral and hormonal transformations will be observed by the woman and discussed during obstetric follow-ups:

  • an increase in the curvature of the lower back (lumbar vertebrae) leading to an adaptation of the posture of the pelvis, thorax, shoulders and head
  • enlargement of the pelvis in connection with the increase in size of the uterus corresponding to the development of the fetus
  • an increase in breast size and gradual weight gain
  • an increase in blood volume, a distribution of fat storage according to specific maternity regions and according to the woman's genetics
  • increased laxity in certain joints of the body, particularly the pelvis and spine

Forclassify all the changes related to pregnancy during he alth follow-ups, the term of 40 weeks of gestation is divided into three trimesters.

First trimester (0-12 weeks):

  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache, migraine
  • breast enlargement
  • dizziness

Second trimester (13 to 28 weeks):

  • muscle tension or pain in the lower back (lumbar vertebrae)
  • tension or pain in the buttock and leg (sciatica)
  • tension, pain, numbness in the arms and hands (carpal tunnel)
  • shortness of breath
  • pain in chest area
  • heavy feeling and leg cramps
  • insomnia
  • change in blood pressure (hypertension)

Third trimester (28 to 40 weeks):

  • discomfort and sleep disturbance
  • gastric reflux and heartburn
  • appearance of varicose veins
  • constipation
  • increased frequency of urination
  • heaviness and pain in the legs
  • pain in the pelvis (groin, and symphysis pubis)
  • pain in the buttock radiating into the leg (sciatica)
  • tension, pain, discomfort in the lower back area (lumbar vertebrae)
  • sensation of pressure at the bottom of the pelvis (perineum)

These important transformations will gradually be the causes of pain symptoms experienced by the woman throughout her pregnancy.


The benefits of osteopathy for pregnant women

Osteopathy is a comprehensive approach in the treatment of musculoskeletal tension and pain and he alth changes at the visceral, hormonal and neurological levels. The symptoms caused by the changes that occur during pregnancy are often interrelated.

The particularity of osteopathy specializing in the treatment of pregnant women aims to treat all the systems or regions of the body that will undergo significant changes during the different trimesters of pregnancy.

During the first meeting, the osteopath carries out an overall assessment of the state of he alth and accurately documents the discomforts and tensions that are felt by the pregnant woman. Thanks to his in-depth anatomical and physiological knowledge and the precision of the evaluation of the different regions of the patient's body, the osteopath identifies the primary causes and their links with the symptoms described by the pregnant woman.

In clinical practice, we notice that women begin to consult in osteopathy during the second and third trimester. Treatment for pregnant women generally aims to relieve the following symptoms:

  • muscle pain related to rapid and gradual changes in posture
  • sciatica
  • carpal tunnel syndrome and sinusitis in pregnant women
  • constipation and refluxgastric
  • pain located in the pelvis and pelvic floor
  • heaviness in the legs and appearance of varicose veins
  • increased mobility of the pelvis and uterus to promote the optimal position of the fetus during pregnancy and childbirth
  • treatment to facilitate the onset of contractions leading to natural childbirth

In addition, osteopathic treatments during pregnancy monitoring will have an effect on reducing labor time during childbirth, and reducing medical interventions (use of forceps, suction cups, epidurals) and risk of caesarean section.

Postpartum pain

Sometimes some pain will occur in the first weeks or months after delivery. In some cases, these pains may be those felt during the last trimesters, which had resolved after childbirth and which reappeared.

And there can also be new tensions or pains that were never present during the pregnancy and no longer in the woman's he alth history. These pains can be present during physical activities, at rest or in certain positions. The most frequent postpartum pains are: tension, discomfort and diffuse and/or precise pain located in

  • the lower part of the body: pelvis (symphysis pubis), legs, knees, feet
  • the upper part of the body: ribs, shoulders, neck, head

TheThe causes of this postpartum pain may be related to trauma (dislocation of the coccyx or pubic symphysis) suffered during childbirth in the pelvis or uterus (cesarean section), or in connection with the epidural. They can also be caused by the tensions caused on the supporting tissues called “fascias” located in their shape (stretch tension) and their texture (scar tension).


The osteopath, thanks to his skills and anatomical knowledge, will be able to identify the primary causes of these postpartum pains and correct them. It is certainly relevant to consult an osteopath during the first two months after childbirth in order to avoid postpartum pain and tension. Early prevention often requires less treatment than when tension has built up gradually over many months throughout the patient's body.

Yoga, osteopathy and pregnancy monitoring

It is recognized and strongly advised that pregnant women remain active in order to improve their physical condition and reduce discomfort and pain related to pregnancy. Yoga is a physical activity that is increasingly practiced thanks to its benefits on muscular and visceral pain in pregnant women. Practicing yoga during the second and third trimester can help move the fetus into the optimal position for delivery and reduce labor time and risk of complications(use of forceps, suction cup, epidural and caesarean section).

During the pregnancy follow-up with an osteopath, it is useful to recommend exercises to the patient in order to increase the beneficial effect of the treatments and to be able to space them out. In my clinical practice, I work with 3 to 4 yoga positions adapted to the patient and they are taught from the first treatment. These positions are easy to do and only require 3 to 4 periods of 15 minutes per week. It is often useful to follow alongside osteopathy treatments, acupuncture care to increase the speed of postpartum pain reduction.


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