Can Osteopathy help during Pregnancy?


There’s a lot of change throughout pregnancy but let’s talk about those relating to our musculoskeletal (MSK) system! Often in conversation it appears that pain is almost expected during pregnancy and women just put up with it. Although pain is common, a lot of the time it may be managed. Keep in mind this is unique to the individual and doesn’t include the delivery process. The point is, there’s potential ways to manage or improve pain whilst pregnant and even postpartum and Osteo is one option!


As the body changes to accommodate your growing bub, pregnancy related pain may include pain in the lower back and pelvic region, upper back and rib cage, head and neck or the extremities; most of which can be attributed to musculoskeletal changes. 


This occurs due to hormonal changes which encourage the ligaments to become lax and cartilage to soften; this places increased forces/stress on joints, ligaments and muscles. The pelvis is particularly affected as it needs to expand for delivery of bub. The pelvis forms part of the pelvic girdle, our belt of stability that transfers load between the lower extremities and from upper and lower body (and vice versa). The pelvic girdle includes the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints which are common sites of irritation (along with soft tissue structures) and often referred to as pelvic girdle pain (PGP). Common issues of PGP are difficulty using stairs, standing for long periods and separating the knees but can also present itself as lower back pain. PGP can be really quite uncomfortable and limit your ability to complete daily tasks both during pregnancy and post-partum. 


General changes to expect during pregnancy:

– Posture, spinal curves: During pregnancy, changes in posture and spinal curves occur in response to the expanding uterus and increased weight in the front of the body. These adjustments are necessary to accommodate the shift in the center of gravity (COG). As the uterus expands, the body naturally adapts by altering the curvature of the spine to maintain balance and support the growing belly. This shift in spinal curves helps distribute the added weight more evenly and reduces strain on the back and pelvis, promoting comfort and stability during pregnancy.


– Gait: Gait refers to the way we walk, and it’s influenced by the shift in our center of gravity (COG). When our COG changes during pregnancy, it impacts how we move to enhance our stability. One way our body does this is by widening our base of support. To accomplish this, our hips and feet may naturally turn outward, and we might notice a slight waddling motion, similar to how a penguin walks. This adjustment helps us maintain balance and stability as we move.

Cavities: a
s the uterus expands during pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby, it causes changes in our internal body cavities. This shifting of organs can exert pressure on structures such as the rib cage, which houses the lungs, and the pelvic floor, which supports the bladder. This pressure can affect our breathing patterns and bladder function, potentially leading to changes in breathing and bathroom habits.





Osteopathy can help to improve function and pain levels by addressing:

– Imbalances/compensations = addressing and correcting postural changes in the body, to ensure distribution of force/body weight is equal and not compensating in a specific structure.

– Muscular hypertonicity = releasing tightness in the muscles that are frequently activated, to decrease muscular pain and tension.

– Education, guidance and reassurance = provide information on posture, safe movements, ergonomics, self care and expected/ non-expected changes in regards to MSK health.

– Exercise and motor patterning = assessing movement patterns that result from the body’s adjustment and providing tailored stretches/ exercise that can help to improve muscle strength and range of motion.

PLEASE NOTE: We aren’t trying to cure pregnancy pain, we trying to help manage the associated musculoskeletal symptoms.





Any and all of our Osteopaths can help, but the following osteopaths are particularly interested and experienced in treating pregnancy-related musculoskeletal complaints:

– Dr Claire Richardson (Advanced Practice Pain Management Osteopath).

– Dr Caitlin Gill (Osteopath).

Dr Ainslie Morris (Osteopath).



Pregnancy and COVID-19 Vaccinations

Whether you are planning to fall pregnant, currently pregnant or postpartum here are the current guidelines surrounding vaccination against COVID-19. Please speak to your doctor for appropriate vaccine advice that is specific to you!


Updated by Shaun Richardson – May 2024

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, please email us if you need any advice!


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