Many people believe that Maternal Health begins when the patient discovers they are pregnant. However, pregnancy support ideally begins months prior to conception by taking into consideration various aspects, such as ideal nutritional support (e.g. pregnancy vitamins) and optimal blood flow to the uterus. This not only helps to increase the chances of conception, but also supports the health of the growing foetus once conception has occurred. Osteopathic treatment prior to pregnancy can also ensure there are no pre-existing restrictions present which may cause problems further into pregnancy.

Pregnancy should be a wonderful and exciting experience, but for many expectant mothers it may be accompanied by morning sickness and many other aches and pains. During pregnancy, the body undergoes enormous change in a relatively small timeframe to accommodate the growing baby. Osteopaths aim to assist the body in continually adapting and aligning as the pregnancy progresses.


During pregnancy, additional pressure is placed on the joints and muscles – particularly in the spine and pelvis – due to weight gain and postural change. The abdominal muscles stretch, the pelvis begins to tilt and the back arches to maintain balance as the centre of gravity changes with the growing baby. The pregnant patient often then develops the characteristic “waddle” of pregnancy. These physical changes are often obvious; however, other more subtle changes occur, such as the position of the baby and hormonal changes that soften ligaments which may also lead to problems.

Woman holding her pregnant belly

Common Problems Include

  • Sciatica

  • Pelvic instability

  • Diastasis Recti (abdominal muscle separation)

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

  • Tingling in hands/legs

  • Swelling in hands/legs

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Constipation

Osteopathic Treatment is beneficial and safe for the mother and baby in all stages of pregnancy. Treatment will vary from patient-to-patient, depending on their presenting complaint and stage of pregnancy.

Techniques Include

  • Stretching to increase blood flow and flexibility of joints and muscles

  • Articulation mobilises joints by taking them through their range of motion

  • Soft-tissue technique massages to release tight muscles

  • Muscle energy technique where the patient’s muscles are actively engaged, from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction, and against a counterforce in order to increase range of motion of the joint

  • Postural and exercise advice

  • A pregnancy cushion is used if the patient is required to be treated lying on their stomach

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