In an ideal world, one’s centre of gravity would run from the outside ankle bone (lateral maleolus), through the outer hip (greater trochanter) and up to just behind the ear lobe (mastoid process).
Whenever this line is altered, the body’s mechanics are compromised and never is this more common than in pregnancy. As the bump gets bigger, the spine has to bear more load and each part of the spine is affected in its own way:
The low back has to arch more, the mid-back has to accommodate a pull forwards and downwards and the neck and shoulders suffer from having to use the upper ribs to breathe. On top of this, the hips have to go through more movement because the pelvis is tilted forward to accommodate the baby. If that wasn’t enough, in the second and third trimesters a hormone called relaxin is secreted and circulates around the body to prepare the ligaments for birth. This loosens all ligaments and thus makes the muscles work harder.
The osteopath, through gentle manipulation of the joints and stretching of the muscles and other soft tissues, eases discomfort and pain. Pregnant women are often the patients who respond the best to osteopathic treatment and it is safe to see the osteopath throughout pregnancy. With advice on posture, sleeping and moving osteopathic care is often best placed to relieve symptoms at a time when taking medication is not as it would be in the non-pregnant patient.