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Osteopathy and Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time but it also comes with physical difficulties that need to be managed.

Osteopathy Australia (formerly Australian Osteopathic Association) member, Dr Emila Howley, works closely with pregnant women to ensure this special time in their lives goes as smoothly as possible.

“Being pregnant can be a truly amazing experience,” said Dr Emila Howley. “But there are a lot of aches and pains that can go hand-in-hand with pregnancy.”

Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the body as it goes through major changes to accommodate a growing baby. As the pregnancy progresses the extra weight creates a shift in the body’s centre of gravity, pulling the body off balance.

Supporting ligaments loosen which can mean less stability, increasing the chance of injury. Low back pain and pelvic pain are also common complaints in pregnancy with up to 60% of women experiencing back pain[1].

“Many pregnant women find that treatment form an osteopath is very helpful for reducing pain throughout their pregnancy and in preparation for labour.”

A 2010 study shows that osteopathic manipulative treatment slows or stops back-specific problems that can occur during the third trimester of pregnancy[2]. To assist with these problems, osteopaths may employ gentle soft tissue, articulation or stretching techniques during treatment.

“Not only will your osteopath treat the symptoms and pains of pregnancy, they can also offer advice about managing them,” said Dr Emila Howley.

“We often demonstrate self-help techniques that you and your partner can use during pregnancy and labour.”

Osteopathy is a form of drug-free, manual healthcare that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework. It positively affects the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Osteopathy is safe for all age groups and osteopaths treat not only the specific problem but also provide lifestyle advice on diet, exercise, stress reduction, posture and breathing. Osteopaths encourage individuals to proactively prevent injuries and ailments, which in the long term leads to better overall health and less time and money spent on treatment.

There are over 1750 osteopaths practicing in Australia. You can find your local osteopath by visiting www.osteopathy.org.au or calling Osteopathy Australia on 1 800 467 836


[1] Wang, S.-M., Dezinno, P., Maranets, I., Berman, M., Caldwell-Andrews, A., & Kain, Z. (2004). Low Back Pain During Pregnancy: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 65-70.

[2] Licciardone, J., Buchanan, S., Hensel, K., King, H., Fulda, K., & Stoll, S. (2010). Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 43.

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