The body is amazing. At no one time is the body more amazing than the changes that happen during pregnancy.
Two of the biggest influences during pregnancy are:
- hormonal changes
- the increases in size and weight and the impact on body biomechanics
How hormonal changes influence your body during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the ligaments that hold the joints tightly in position become relaxed and have more mobility. This cleverly allows for more room for the growing baby and its exit through the pelvis.
Although these hormonal changes are incredible and necessary, it can sometimes cause new pain or symptoms to develop.
Common pregnancy issues are:
- The valve between the stomach and the esophagus relaxes during pregnancy, allowing stomach acid to move up into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation.
- Pelvic pain or instability. The ligaments around the pelvis relax and force the muscles into a stabilisation role. Joint irritation of the pelvic joints can occur and cause severe pain and inflammation.
- Foot pain. The ligaments in the feet relax causing the foot to increase in size and flatten. Along with other biomechanical changes, this can cause pain and pressure on the outside of the foot.
Pregnancy body changes and how to treat them
As the baby grows, a pregnant woman’s body has to accommodate extra weight and space. These changes mean something different for each person, because each body/uterus/baby position is different. For some women this will mean previous pain resolves, and in others it will cause new pain or discomfort to pop up.
Osteopaths can help these common issues in pregnant women:
- Low back pain. A pregnant women’s pelvis can either tilt forward or back to increase the space for the baby to grow and be a cause of back pain.
- Neck and shoulder pain. Breast and stomach size increases and the center of gravity moves forward causing increased load on the neck, upper back and shoulders. Headaches are also common.
- Upper back and rib pain. At around 20 weeks the bottom ribs need to open up and flare out to increase space in the abdomen. Stiffness in this area can cause upper back and rib pain.
- Carpal tunnel. Increased blood volume during pregnancy can cause swelling and put pressure on the nerves in the hands.
How osteopathy can benefit your pregnant body
New pain or symptoms should not mean that you have to suffer or stop exercising. These issues can often be resolved with careful assessment and treatment. Osteopaths can treat your body to help unload stress from affected areas and decrease pain.
The good news about ligament relaxation is that the body is open to change and responsive to treatment, making pregnancy an ideal time to see an osteo. At Beachside, our osteopaths will do a thorough individual assessment and work with you to reduce pain and keep you active.