We can look at Pregnancy Week by Week - or alternatively first broken down into three trimesters (each of 14 weeks duration).
The First Trimester - (the first 3 months of pregnancy).
Some of my clients come to work with me as soon as they see the early signs of pregnancy. In the immediate weeks after conception the baby’s systems and organs are formed. This is usually known as the “embryonic” period.
At eight weeks old, the embryo is smaller than your little toe yet all of the internal organs are formed and some are even functioning! Some women choose to come for CranioSacral Therapy at this time as these early weeks are so vital in the baby’s development.
When choosing a course of pregnancy support - some mums–to-bewonder if it is safe to have CranioSacral treatments at all stages of pregnancy? I believe that it is both safe and desirable as CranioSacral work helps the body to adapt to the changes throughout the 40 weeks and it is desirable to get your body functioning at its best to support your growing baby.
Another concern which I hear voiced sometimes at my clinic is will CST induce premature labour? Well, CranioSacral therapy, when applied correctly by a qualified CranioSacral Therapist, never goes against what your body wants to do. However miscarriages can occur in the first 12 weeks and if there is something wrong with the pregnancy it may happen that the body wishes to abort the fetus. In this case CST assists the body in what it naturally wants to do.
Nausea is one of the most common complaints in the early weeks. It can be triggered by a sensitivity to smells and certain foods. These feelings and symptoms are eased by CranioSacral therapy and a treatment in the early stages of pregnancy helps you to relax along with helping you to adapt to your ever-changing body all the while establishing a closer connection with your growing baby.
Another symptom that is often experienced by the newly pregnant mum is that of tiredness. Marnie came to me for for CST when she was ten weeks pregnant. She already had a toddler of two years and was working full time. During the treatments she entered a deep relaxation and sometimes even slept.
Afterwards she said that she felt better able to cope with her busy schedule. She delivered a healthy baby boy Oliver at 39 weeks.
The Second Trimester (second 3 months of pregnancy).
As the tiredness and nausea and of the first trimester disappear (for most of us!), the second trimester is generally a time of well-being.However, a problem that I frequently come across with some clients at this stage is Heartburn/Acid-Reflux.
This typically occurs as the growing baby puts pressure on the Mum’s stomach. Marie attended my Cork clinic suffering from Acid reflux while expecting her 3rd child. She already had digestion problems during both of her previous pregnancies and had heard from a friend that CranioSacral therapy may help to ease the heartburn.
During her first treatment, I placed my hands over her lower ribs and within minutes she was pleasantly surprised that she could feel the tightness around her diaphragm melt away. She commented afterwards that she felt she had more space for the baby and the constant pressure on her oesophagus had relaxed and released.
This helped to lower the flow of acid from her stomach into her throat. Combining treatments with other approaches, such as eating smaller meals, avoiding richer foods, and wearing looser clothes also helped Marie with her reflux.
Sometimes the mum-to-be can be anxious that she is taking on more than she can handle. This anxiety may then result in headaches and Migraine resulting from tension.
I often treat clients for backache and they will find that the generalrelease in their body tension causes their headaches to disappear. I find that CranioSacral Therapy helps the client to tune in with all the messages coming from their body. They often notice and discover any underlying reasons causing their tension headache e.g. worries about labour or simply that they need more rest.
CST offers the “downtime” to look into what is really going on and provides the tools to access the solutions to these “queries of the body”.
The Third Trimester (third 3 months of pregnancy).
At this point (the third trimester), your body signals a slow-down and tiredness again typically re-appears accompanied sometimes by shortness of breath.
In this late stage of pregnancy some women seem to suffer from stuffy noses as the hormones in the body (which are softening the vagina for the birth ) cause the membranes inside the sinuses and nostrils to swell. A gentle solution is often a Cranial treatment that releases both thefacial and nasal bones - I find that this approach especially eases this condition.
Some clients find that the CranioSacral treatments alongside increased attention to diet eases any congestion. Of course, once the baby is born this form of sinusitis will disappear!
Probably the most frequent complaint that brings pregnant clients to my clinic is back pain and discomfort in the final weeks of pregnancy. This can sometimes be accompanied by discomfort or pain in the legs - and sometimes even Sciatica. Backpain be experienced at any stage of the pregnancy but is usually most common in this last trimester.
CranioSacral treatment is an excellent treatment for this type of backache and a few treatments - often combined with stretching exercises, yoga or swimming typically results in much better sleep with fewer pain and aches.
Sometimes I may just see the mum-to-be in the final days before her due date. It is often useful, even at this late stage, to have a CranioSacral treatment as it helps to prepare the body for labour. I find that even if a labour stalls it seems to proceed within renewed energy following a treatment.
In conclusion - it is always wonderful to treat the newborn infant following the birth as it feels like a relationship has already been established while treating the mum during pregnancy.