Congratulations! You did it – you gave birth!
Often we are so focused on getting through pregnancy and childbirth we don’t even think about what our body might be like after having a baby. Pregnancy and giving birth certainly takes its toll on your body. The postpartum period comes with a new set of challenges but the good news is Osteopathy can help!
What does your body need postpartum?
The postpartum period predisposes new mothers to somatic (body) dysfunction because 2 main things: changes to posture and changes to hormones. Often this comes along with emotional distress as well (eg. lack of sleep, overwhelm, birth trauma). This will most likely increase pain and reactivity in your muscles. Osteopathy aims to relax body tension and restore normal function. In a 2016 study on the efficacy of osteopathic treatment for postpartum pain it was concluded that osteopathy is effective for postpartum pain management (1).
What are common complaints during the postpartum period and how can osteopathy help?
- Aching shoulders and neck from feeding. This doesn’t discriminate between bottle and breastfeeding. The reality is that both can aggravate your neck and shoulders if done poorly positioned. Getting treatment and ergonomic advice can be a life saver for those first few months while you’re figuring it all out.
- Low back pain/hip pain doesn’t usually magically stop after birth. The hormone relaxin is produced throughout pregnancy. This hormone relaxes the mother’s muscles, joints and ligaments to make room for the growing baby. The effects of relaxin are most concentrated around the pelvic region. This hormone stays in your system for up to 5 months after birth. This means that seeing your osteopath to work on your pelvic and spinal alignment can set you up for a good recovery. It will also help ease any pain or discomfort and help you get your range of motion back to optimal.
- Depending on how your birth went and how your baby came into this world you may have some other aches and pains. Your osteopath will do a holistic examination of your body. The treatment will help restore normal function and reduce pain and discomfort from the birth process. For those who had a caesarean there is more good news- once the scar is healed, your osteopath can help to mobilise the scar tissue preventing any issues as it continues to heal.
Can osteopathy help with mastitis?
A recent case study also found that osteopathic treatment can be helpful in the management of mastitis. Treatment to the surrounded areas and lymphatic drainage techniques as well as education on self treatment methods were found to be highly successful in treating and preventing mastitis in this case study (2).
What else is important in the postpartum period?
It is also important to look after your pelvic floor. At 6 weeks postpartum, book a consult with your womens health physiotherapist to get your pelvic floor properly assessed. These amazing physios are highly trained to give you the best advice on how to help your pelvic floor recover. They can also help if you have a separation in your abdominal muscles known as a DRAM by giving you specific exercises.
Is postpartum osteopathy covered by medicare or private health insurance?
Most private health extra’s policies cover osteopathy which means you will get a rebate. Check you policy or ring your health fund to make sure you are covered. We use HICAPS in our clinic so when you bring in your card you will only have to pay the gap.
If you have a chronic health condition you can ask your GP to write you a chronic disease management plan. This gives you a Medicare rebate for your visits.
I just had a baby – how can I book my osteopathy appointment?
You can book your postpartum osteopathy appointment treatment online here or you can give us a call on 0414 067 874.