Pregnancy- What Is Happening?

Pregnancy is such an important and happy time for most families. Maybe you are pregnant or thinking about having a baby?

Here we look to discuss some of the common changes that occur during pregnancy and how this may manifest in your body.

First Trimester

Months 1-3

Here we see early fetal or baby development. Whilst the baby is still small at this stage the body is preparing for further growth.

This can often be a difficult time for women who still have to work or look after other children.

With the changes occurring to the body we commonly see women presenting with

* upper back and neck pain which is often made worse by tiredness, vomiting and a heavier chest as the breasts enlarge.

* low back pain or pain around the pelvis as hormones start to soften this area preparing for growth or exacerbated by constipation which is also common at this stage of pregnancy.

* headaches which can be aggravated by vomiting and also the changing posture as the pregnancy progresses

Second Trimester

Months 4-6

As the baby continues to grow and the uterus enlarges we see pelvic changes occur to allow for this. During this phase of the pregnancy the mothers belly usually becomes more prominent. This can change how our spine moves as the mothers centre of gravity is changing. Often pregnant women will present to the clinic with

* upper back, neck and shoulder strain as the belly and breast grow and the body’s mechanics change to accommodate the growth these area’s can be under strain.

* tingling in the hands especially at night which can be the result of increased fluid in the body related to the pregnancy and also increased tension and restriction in the neck and shoulder region.

Third Trimester

Months 7-9

This trimester is often associated with significant growth of the baby. As the baby grows the uterus continues to enlarge as the baby gets ready to enter the world.
Pregnant women will often seek help for
* low back or pelvic pain as the uterus is growing this can lead to increased stress on the tissues in the spine and pelvic regions. Hormones are also working to allow flexibility in the pelvis for deliver which can make muscle is this region have to work harder to help move and control the pelvis and lower back.
* sore ankles and feet, which is often exacerbated by heat and the increased fluid in the pregnant body. The feet are also now carrying a heavier load and are adjusting to the changes in the joint movements further up the body e.g hips and pelvis.
* sleep difficulties due to pain and lots of going to the toilet. As the baby starts to take up more space in the pelvis this can often lead to having to go to the toilet more. The pelvis being more subtle can also lead to difficulties turning in bed and getting comfortable as women often have to change their sleeping posture.

What can be done to help?

It’s really important to continue to visit your health professional such as GP, midwife or obstetrician through out your pregnancy to monitor your progress and check up on your baby. These health professionals are specially trained and play an important part in your pregnancy care.
With all these changes going on to the body, it’s important to make sure that the body has the capacity to adapt as best as possible to allow the baby space to grow. We do this by looking at how the different areas of your body are moving, review your current strategies and help you to prepare for the deliver of your baby.
Treatment would include hands on treatment to improve muscle tension, encouraging joint movement, appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises and advice to help making work and home duties easier through your pregnancy. We will also discuss strategies for birth and for when you come home to help you manage these important changes to your body.
We will work with your other health care providers to work out the best exercise and treatment plan for your pregnancy, and then to assist you recover from the birth and transitioning to parenthood!

If you have any questions about how Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health can help with your pregnancy we would love to hear from you!

Belinda Kelly

Belinda is an Osteopath and Pilates Instructor. Belinda enjoys treating patients with problems related to injuries or conditions, and has a special interest in women’s health, particularly treating women pre and post natal. Belinda has a love of swimming, pilates and an addiction to stand up paddle boarding! Belinda enjoys being able educate patients through treatment and lifestyle advice, so they can help themselves to maintain and improve their functioning.