Following the birth the mother’s body is vulnerable to on-going strains, especially if it was a difficult delivery. The body has to recover not only from the changes that occurred during the pregnancy, but from the effects of labour and delivery. All whilst under-going the very physically and mentally demanding job of looking after your newborn baby.
We see many women at the clinic suffering from pain postpartum. Research has taken place to try to highlight why and many mums wouldn’t be surprised as to the reasons:
– Repetitive lifting and carrying of baby and the car seat or pram.
– Weak abdominal muscles.
– Change in weight bearing and weight gain.
– Previous back injuries either pre-pregnancy or during pregnancy.
– Bending over with poor posture to feed, soothe and change baby.
You are constantly lifting and carrying your baby in and out of the car or cot, followed by feeding, changing and soothing them for long periods of time, alongside the never-ending wash load of baby-grows! This places a great deal of stress in the joints and muscles of the upper back, shoulders and lower back and pelvis. This is even more the case for mums that have had caesarean sections.
Following the birth the pelvic bones, muscles, ligaments and organs slowly return to their pre-pregnancy position, this can take up to 18 months. During this time the pelvis can feel unstable, often due to the abdominal muscles having stretched during pregnancy and your posture having changed to compensate for the growing abdomen. Also the pregnancy hormone Relaxin continues to act on the ligaments, which as the name suggests makes them more lax and less stable. This means the lower back and pelvis have less support and can be over strained and more vulnerable to injury.
Unresolved birthing stresses can contribute to on-going back and shoulder pains, stress incontinence, headaches and abdominal pains including IBS symptoms.
Osteopathic treatment works, together with the mother, to aid the natural process of releasing the aches, pains and strains of pregnancy and labour. It helps the mother cope with the day to day stresses and strains a new baby can present to her body, so she can relax and enjoy the precious time with her new baby.
Seeking early treatment often helps prevent these imbalances from becoming chronic problems, such a symphysis pubis dysfunction. Osteopathic treatment and advice on posture and gentle exercises can help rebalance the pelvis and reduce the pain.