The nine months of pregnancy are divided into three trimesters each consisting of three months duration (14 weeks each approx ). I have noticed that some common symptoms arise at each trimester that pregnant clients find are helped or alleviated with CranioSacral Therapy (CST).
Let’s consider the first trimester (that is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd months of pregnancy).
The first weeks after conception are when the body’s organs and systems are formed. This is known as the embryonic period. At eight weeks the baby (embryo) is smaller than your little toe yet all the internal organs are formed and some are functioning! Some women choose to come for CST in preparation for conception as these early weeks are so vital in your baby’s development.
Some mums-to-be may wonder if it is safe to have CranioSacral treatments when they are pregnant?
It is safe and desirable as Cranio-sacral work helps the body in adapting to the changes throughout the 40 weeks and it is desirable to have your body functioning at its best to support your growing baby.
Another concern which I hear sometimes at my clinic is if CST will induce premature labour?
CranioSacral therapy when correctly applied by a qualified CST therapist never goes against what your body wants to do. However miscarriages do occur in the first 12 weeks and if there is something wrong with the pregnancy it may happen that the body wants to abort the fetus, then CST can assist the body in what it naturally wants to do.
Nausea is a common complaint in the early weeks and can be triggered by a sensitivity to smells and certain foods. These symptoms are eased by CranioSacral therapy and a treatment in the early stages of pregnancy allows you to relax, helps you to adapt to your changing body and to establish a close connection with your growing baby. As the touch in CranioSacral therapy is very gentle it is a most suitable treatment right from the early weeks of pregnancy.
Another symptom that experienced by the newly pregnant mum is that of tiredness. Joan came for CST when she was ten weeks pregnant. She had a toddler of 2 yrs and worked full time. During treatments using certain relaxation-inducing touch she entered a deep relaxation and sometimes even slept. Afterwards she felt better able to cope with her busy schedule and delivered a healthy baby boy Oliver at 39 weeks.
Second Trimester (4th, 5th, 6th ) months.
As the nausea and tiredness of the 1st trimester disappear (for most!), the second trimester is a time of well-being. A problem that I see with some clients at this stage is Heartburn/Acid-Reflux. This occurs as the growing baby is putting pressure on the stomach.
Maire attended my clinic suffering from reflux while expecting her third child. She told me that she had digestion problems during her previous two pregnancies and had heard from a friend that CranioSacral therapy could help ease the heartburn. During her first treatment I placed my hands on her lower ribs and within minutes she could feel the tightness around her diaphragm melt away. She felt afterwards that she had more space for the baby and the pressure on her oesophagus had released. This helped to reduce the acid flow from the stomach into the throat. Combining treatments with avoiding rich foods, eating smaller meals and wearing looser clothes also helped with the reflux.
If the mum-to-be is anxious and taking on more than she can handle, this may then result in tension headaches. I have often treated clients for backache and they will find that their headaches have also disappeared. CranioSacral Therapy helps the client to tune in with the message coming from their body. They may discover the underlying reason causing their tension headache i.e worries about labour or needing more rest. CST offers the time to look into what is really going on and the tools to access the solutions to these queries.
The Third Trimester ( 7th, 8th, 9th month).
Your body signals a slow-down in the third trimester when tiredness again re-appears and sometimes shortness of breath. In late pregnancy some women seem to suffer from a stuffy nose as hormones in the body (which are softening the vagina for birth) cause the membranes inside the nostrils and sinuses to swell. A gentle cranial treatment that releases facial and nasal bones especially eases this condition.
Some clients find that the CranioSacral treatments combined with attention to diet eases the congestion. And once the baby is born this form of sinusitis will disappear!
The most frequent problem that brings pregnancy clients to my clinic is back pain in the final weeks of pregnancy. This can be experienced at any stage of the pregnancy but is most common in the last trimester. CranioSacral treatment is an excellent treatment for backache and a few treatments combined with stretching exercises, yoga or swimming typically results in a better sleep and less pain and aches.
Sometimes I may just see a mum-to-be just before her due date. It is useful even at this late stage to have a CranioSacral treatment as it prepares the body for labor. Even if a labor stalls it seems to proceed within renewed energy after a treatment.
Finally – it is always wonderful to treat the newborn as it feels like a relationship has already been established while treating the mum during pregnancy.