When you find out you are pregnant, you know a lot of changes are about to take place. However, often you are unaware of the exact changes your body goes through to ensure a successful pregnancy. The ideal pregnancy is obviously completely pain free, however for a lot of women this in not reality.

What changes happen in the body during pregnancy?

The biggest change is hormonal. The body secretes a cocktail of hormones to prepare the body for pregnancy and labour. The hormone that affects you physically is called 'relaxin'. This hormone ensures that all the ligaments become more loose so the baby has more space to grow. This also helps to widen the pelvis when giving birth, allowing the baby's head to be born. Sometimes the body secretes this hormone a little too early, or in too high a dose. This causes the ligaments to become loose prematurely or excessively, causing joint aches and pains. Although osteopathy can't change the way your body secretes the hormone, it can help your body deal better with this change after which symptoms will be relieved.


The bigger the baby grows, the less space there will be for mums organs. In the beginning this will mostly effect the digestive system. In this case most women see a change in eating habits, but also nausea and acid reflux are known symptoms to come from this.

When the baby grows it will also effect the diaphragm as this will need to move up higher to accommodate for the space the baby takes. This can cause mum to feel out of breath.

The heart also needs to pump for two. This means more blood needs to be produced to keep up. If this doesn't happen, there could be symptoms such as anaemia. In case of anaemia always let your doctor or nurse check you out thoroughly.


During pregnancy your posture changes constantly. When weight increases in the belly, the body will have to adjust by increasing the arch in your back. This will allow you to stay upright, and not fall forward due to gravitational forces. The pelvis and hips will turn more to the front as well and the ribs will widen, all to make more space for the baby. Later on the pelvis and hips will widen more to allow for the birth of the baby.

Several symptoms that are often associated with pregnancy:
  • Backpain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Rib pain
  • Feeling out of breath
  • Neck and shoulder aches or pains
  • Tiredness 
  • Pins and needles or sharp pains in the arms or legs

What can osteopathy do?

Osteopathy is mostly focused on the big picture, the body as a whole. An osteopath will look at the changes needed during pregnancy and whether or not your body has gone through these or not. If not the osteopath will look at what needs to be done to accomplish these changes. As soon as the cause for the issue is found, the osteopath will work with you to change this. As long as you are comfortable, the osteopath will work around you. So even if you have issues lying on your back or side, the osteopath can still examine and treat you.

Afterwards the osteopath will check to see what your body needs to regain the right balance. This will be different for everyone and therefore a treatment won't be the same for two people.

The osteopath will also look at the necessary bones and muscles and whether they are working optimally for the delivery.

After the delivery an osteopath can help to get your body back on track as soon and as well as possible. Now that your baby has arrived, life is most likely much more busy, but don't forget that mum's health is just as important as that of her baby.

Is osteopathy safe during pregnancy?

An osteopath will at all times work as safely as possible. In the first trimester of the pregnancy (12 weeks) there is always a higher risk of miscarriage. There is no known connection between osteopathy and a higher incidence of miscarriage, but the osteopath will always inform you of the risk that is present. It is therefore your own choice whether you choose to come in for treatment during the first trimester, or whether you wait until after. 

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