The philosophy of osteopathic medicine focuses on the unity of all body parts and the principle that structure and function are interrelated. A primary tenet of osteopathic medicine is that our body systems depend upon one another to function, and that maintenance of the body in its proper alignment improves the body’s function and its ability to maintain health. Osteopathic manipulative medicine involves examination of the whole patient—body, mind, and spirit—and treatment of any stresses placed upon the body.
During pregnancy, your maternal body undergoes various structural changes to accommodate the growing fetus. As your pregnancy progresses, these changes have a profound effect on your daily functioning. The release of such hormones as relaxin and progesterone changes your body’s physiology, exaggerating anatomic stresses. Relaxin, which starts to be released around the 10th to 12th week of pregnancy, causes laxity within the sacroiliac joints and pubic symphysis to allow for widening of the pelvic girdle. Your pelvis begins to tilt anteriorly, the lumbar lordosis increases, which places an increased stretch on the extensor muscles of the trunk and on the sacroiliac joints, leading to increased low back and pelvic pain. Furthermore, as the fetus descends into the widened pelvis, the increased pressure on the lumbosacral plexus (the nerves of the lower back) can induce sciatic pain and numbness or tingling in on or both legs.
Dr. Sodhi and her visiting osteopathic medical students can use osteopathic manipulation throughout your pregnancy to help alleviate the following common complications of pregnancy: