"It is often thought that aches and pains during pregnancy are all 'just part of the ride', but this isn't true", says Auckland Osteopath Sarah Boughtwood.


Pregnancy is a time of immense change for your body: your joints and muscles are placed under extra pressure as your baby grows and this coupled with the resulting postural changes, can bring up a range of discomforts and difficulties. "Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy is aimed at helping the mother's body adapt to the growing baby and the increased demands on it" says Sarah. 


Some of the common pregnnacy issues for which people seek help from an osteopath are headaches, back pain, sciatica, reflux, heartburn, muscle tension, rib pain, pelvic pain and even sleep difficulties. Many women opt for this natural treatment during pregnancy, given that some painkillers are off limits and the ones that are safe don't necessarily offer a strong enough effect.


And, as Sarah explains, "You don't actually have to wait until you reach the pain stage. Osteopathy can help the body along the way during pregnancy, and ensure that your muscles aren't being strained in certain positions.

"The treatments will aim to have your body in the best possible state leading up to the delivery, making sure that the pelvis is aligned nicely, the joints are mobile and the muscles are working as optimally as they can. "Labour is going to be what labour is" says Sarah, "but the more you prepare your body to be in the best state possible leading up to the delivery the better. And this has a significant impact on birth and the recovery."


By working with the mother's body, osteopathy can also help the baby by giving it as much room as possible. "It you have really tight back muscles, then it's going to compress through the lower back area, which will affect how much room the baby has, compared to if it is nice and soft through," Sarah explains.


Once baby does arrive, osteopathy can be used for other issues that come up such as tight shoulders and arms from breastfeeding, even strain from repetitively picking up baby. Postnatal treatment "helps your body adapt to all the new movements you are not used to doing," says Sarah, "as well giving your sleep deprived body some much needed help with the repair and recovery process."