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Osteopathy in Pregnancy

Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes, some of which can be painful. Hormonal changes from early in the first trimester can contribute to fluid retention and joint aches. A shifting centre of gravity places new demands on the lower back and legs. Your osteopath can help with muscle and joint aches and pains.

Back problems in pregnancy

Lower Back or Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

Lower back pain in pregnancy is very common. Fortunately, it is usually transient, but we may be able to give you some relief in the meantime. As the baby grows and your centre of gravity moves forward, the muscles on the back of your body have to work harder to keep you upright. As the back arches, the joints can become irritated too. Both of these factors combined can cause discomfort. Through hands on treatment and exercises, we can work to make you more comfortable. Hands-on treatment can be particularly useful when there are fewer painkillers available to you during pregnancy.

The joints on the front and back (SIJ) of the pelvis are meant to be the most affected by the hormone “relaxin”. This hormone’s role is to loosen ligaments to help the pelvis move more during birth. Unfortunately, this additional movement can be uncomfortable throughout pregnancy. In some cases, the achiness is more severe, and may be diagnosed as PGP or SPD. When this is associated with instability through the pelvis, it may impact your mobility and even birthing options. It’s never to early to seek treatment if these symptoms are affecting you.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterised by pain or pins and needles in the palm of the hand. It can affect all fingers except the little finger, including the thumb. Pregnancy can be a trigger as hormonal changes encourage fluid retention. The carpal tunnel itself is already cramped, and the added pressure of fluid in the tissues can irritate the nerve in question. Although we cannot fix the fluid retention, we may be able to help keep the symptoms at bay. We expect the fluid retention to clear on its own in the first few weeks after giving birth.

Read more about carpal tunnel syndrome here.


As the bump grows and the back arches, muscles of the back and buttock have to work harder. There is a deep muscle in the buttock called the piriformis. The sciatic nerve runs nearby, or sometimes through this muscle. When piriformis is tight, as it can be when the demand on it changes, it can cause symptoms of sciatica. More specifically, this is called piriformis syndrome.

Strengthening ahead of pregnancy can be useful, and may sometimes be appropriate during pregnancy in some cases. We can also use massage techniques to help relax the muscle and give you some relief. It may be the case that there are other areas that could be working better to ease the burden on the piriformis: we will look at your body as a whole to identify these.


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