There are many reasons for a pregnant woman to consult an osteopath. Being pregnant is not a contraindication to osteopathic treatment, however, the osteopath will have to take some precautions and certain techniques will not be used depending on the progress of the pregnancy (stage, associated signs).
A pregnant woman is a normal patient, so she can present any reason for consultation that an individual presents such as a torticollis, back pain, etc., but others are specific to her. Nevertheless, some reasons for consultation are more specific to the pregnant woman and this is why it is necessary to consult an osteopath trained in perinatality:
Low back pain is very common in pregnant women. Indeed, when pregnant, the baby develops in the belly and therefore grows and pulls more and more towards the front. This will change the center of gravity of the pregnant woman and in order to avoid that the mother-to-be falls forward, she will be obliged to solicit her paravertebral and lumbar muscles. This can be a source of pain.
The more muscular the back is at the base, the less stress there is on the spine, which is why it is best to be muscular before you get pregnant. If this is not the case for you, don't worry, but try to build up your muscles even when you are pregnant. Many sports such as swimming are indicated.
Rest assured, just because you have pain in the early months of your pregnancy doesn't mean the rest of your pregnancy will be the same.
Despite this, your back can get stuck and cause pain and osteopathy can help you.
To do this, the osteopath will test you and treat you from head to toe and vice versa. He will determine the structure that is suffering but also the cause of thethe cause of the problems. Once determined, your osteopath will work and treat the cause but also the repercussions that these imbalances may have caused on the body. In order to achieve this goal, the osteopath will use various specific techniques and work on all the structures of the body such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints and muscles.s ligaments, tendons, viscera, skull, fascias, etc...
Sciatica is the compression of the sciatic nerve. This compression can be generated by an intervertebral disc which overflows and thus forms a disc herniation and gives what is commonly called sciatica!
When you are pregnant, the pelvis changes and the sacroiliac joints move. Sometimes one of the sacroiliac joints gets stuck, which causes a muscle contracture in the piriformis (formerly pyramidal) muscle in the buttock. The sciatic nerve, when it goes down the leg, crosses the piriformis muscle. Thus, when the piriformis muscle is contracted, it compresses the sciatic nerve and mimics sciatica with pain on the back of the lower limb that can go down to the feet. This is called sciatica.
The osteopath will work on the pelvis to re-mobilize the sacroiliac and remove the cause. Your practitioner will stretch and show you how to stretch the piriformis to relieve you. Thus, the sciatic nerve will be less compressed and the pain will disappear ....
When we are pregnant, we secrete a hormone called relaxin. The purpose of this hormone is to relax all the ligaments of the body.
When there is a joint blockage, the relaxation of the ligaments can generate pain at the joint level following the stretching of these structures.
Osteopathy will then aim to rebalance the entire osteo-articular system by removing blockages and working on all the structures around it.
There are also solutions to relieve pelvic ligament pain and its consequences (pelvic heaviness, frequent urination, etc.) such as the physiomat belt designed by Bernadette de Gasquet (on the picture). Your osteopath will be able to advise a pregnant woman by presenting material solutions but also exercises to relieve the patient's pain.
Swelling, edema, water retention; these are clinical signs that pregnant women know well. In the toolbox of osteopathic techniques, your practitioner masters the so-called circulatory or drainage techniques. Your osteopath will help the fluids to circulate in the body to avoid stagnation that could be a source of pain.
Your therapist will also advise you (compression stockings, exercises, etc.) in order to relieve you as much as possible and to optimize the treatment.
It often happens, especially at the end of pregnancy, that baby presses on the stomach. If the pressure is too great, the risk of reflux, i.e. the reflux of stomach contents, is significant. This is why many women suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at the end of pregnancy, and even vomiting.
The osteopath's role will be to create space for the baby on the sides of the belly rather than on top. To do this, he will work with very gentle mobilizations that are not painful for the mother as well as for the child.
When the father is present, we can also involve him and guide his hands so that the baby can curl up in his hands on the side of the mother's belly and not on her stomach. This technique is most effective with the father's hands.
On the subject of consulting an osteopath during pregnancy, we hear everything and anything: "you should not go to see your osteopath before 3 months of pregnancy", "no osteopathic manipulation after 7 months of pregnancy". It is difficult to identify the true from the false.
Basically, the risk of suffering a miscarriage in the first 3 months is very high, and this is why some osteopaths are not comfortable treating a woman who is less than 3 months pregnant. Osteopathy for pregnant women, correctly practiced, is absolutely not deleterious and is without risk. However, the risk of a miscarriage is such that we would not want the patient to think that we caused it when we had nothing to do with it. This is why many osteopaths do not want to.
In our Versailles practice, we take care of patients who are less than 3 months pregnant because we are convinced of the benefits of osteopathy for these women. However, we explain what is explained above and we take precautions by gently manipulating the pelvis.
Except for clinical signs that would contraindicate an osteopathic treatment (bleeding, too important contractions, placenta praevia, bedridden pregnancy, etc.), an osteopathic consultation is very beneficial during the pregnancy to relieve the patient or to prepare the pelvis.
In fact, your osteopath recommends consulting 3 weeks - 1 month before the term in order to prepare the pelvis and to remove all osteoarticular blockages that could hinder the passage of the baby. This will facilitate the delivery but also the post-partum recovery.
Osteopaths are trained in 5 years. During the studies, courses of semiology in gynecology as well as practical courses were given to us and thus many osteopaths think they are specialized in gynecology. However, specialization training is essential for the treatment of pregnant women in order to adapt the techniques according to the patient's symptoms and the progress of the pregnancy. So think about finding out about the training of your osteopath.
An osteopathic consultation for a pregnant woman is very similar to that of any other patient, but there are some specificities in the questioning and in the techniques. Hence the importance of consulting a practitioner specialized in perinatality.
During the interview, the osteopath will ask questions specific to the pregnancy and will look at the last ultrasounds, so think of bringing them to him. This will allow the osteopath to know how to adapt the treatment and what attitude to have in order to make the best and most comforting treatment possible.
During the manipulations, the osteopath will adapt his techniques according to the stage of the pregnancy. Indeed, an osteopath does not work in the same way on a woman who is less than 3 months pregnant as on a woman who is a few days away from her term.
Your practitioner will also give you advice on how to get relief faster and how to prevent the problem from recurring. Do not hesitate to ask questions and to talk about all your concerns. The consultation lasts on average 45 minutes, so by talking while manipulating you, your osteopath will be able to answer your questions about childbirth, epidural, caesarean, pregnancy, etc. No question is silly, you have never received a course around pregnancy, your osteopath will know how to answer you or redirect you.
Pregnant and well, osteopathy is safe for you or your child, as long as you consult a well-trained practitioner.
However, some techniques can be practiced at one term but not at another. Your osteopath must therefore master the osteopathic approach of the pregnant woman.
Certain clinical signs such as bleeding or excessive contractions may indicate an organic pathology, in which case osteopathy is contraindicated. The questioning allows us to determine if the treatment is possible or not. Similarly, a woman who is bedridden cannot be manipulated except at home, with gentle techniques and possibly at a distance from the pelvis. In some organic disorders, osteopathic treatment is possible, but it will relieve you but will not be able to treat you completely.
If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your osteopath.