Beverley Palmer Osteopath at Keith Nicholl Medical Centre treats lots of new mums and this is what she has to say about post-partum problems.
Just when you thought you were lucky enough to escape pains during pregnancy itself, you may find that you become one of many mums that suffer after delivery. A lot of research has been done to explain why women get pain following childbirth but basically being pregnant, giving birth and post-natal care puts enormous demands on our body.
What causes post-partum pain?
Pregnancy itself stretches the abdominal muscles, increases your weight and body’s fat stores and massively changes your posture and how you walk. These changes make it harder for your abdominal muscles to support your lower back. It is also common for women to maintain their pregnancy posture for a long time after delivery which further contributes to back problems especially as baby gets bigger and becomes heavier to carry.
So after giving birth, our body not only has to recover from changes made during pregnancy but also from the effects of delivery itself. The mother’s pelvis is vulnerable to lasting strains of the forces involved during labour, particularly after a difficult delivery. Some of these strains can have a profound effect on the nervous system, and may even contribute to postnatal depression.
In addition to all of this, we have the very physically and mentally demanding job of caring for a new baby. Activities like feeding in poor positions, carrying and lifting your baby or carrying an older sibling on one hip, reaching over the cot and bending over to pick up toys all place significant asymmetric strains on areas which are already tired such as the back, shoulder, neck, arm and wrist. What’s more, the pregnancy hormone Relaxin continues to act on the ligaments, making them more flexible for approximately five months after childbirth. This places more pressure on our joints, ligaments and backs making them all more vulnerable to injury and misalignment.
How does Osteopathic Treatment help?
It is not surprising therefore that woman can suffer a wide range of issues post-natally. Having unresolved stresses from pregnancy and labour can contribute to ongoing back problems, headaches, pelvic pain or imbalance, coccyx pain and also difficulties with menstruation, stress incontinence, and bowel problems such as constipation.
Osteopathic treatment can help you return to normal physically and emotionally after birth by releasing the strains created by both pregnancy and labour. It can also help with aches and pains associated with poor breast-feeding posture, lifting car seats and prams and carrying your baby. We often see women that still have back pain remaining from childbirth months or years after they have given birth but it takes a lot more treatment to resolve their pain than if they had undergone treatment in the 6 months following the birth. If you are breastfeeding your tissues can remain supple for up to 2 years after delivery and this can help to make treatment much more effective too.
Overall, postnatal treatment can help with long term preventative care allowing you to relax and enjoy your new baby.
Beverley Palmer has five kids and lives in Dubai for 26 years now. She has her practice at Keith Nicholl Medical Center, villa 610B Jumeirah beach Road, Umm Suqueim Road 1 and she can be contacted for appointments on 04 3941000 . Her kids kindly helped her set up her business page: https://www.facebook.com/beverleypalmerosteopathdubai
You can read our interview with her here.