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Why Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is Helpful During Pregnancy

By February 2, 2015Blog

Physiological Changes During Pregnancy

Hormonal Changes:

  • Relaxin: Starts to be released 10th-12th week and causes laxity within the SI joints and pubic symphysis.

  • Progesterone: Increased levels during pregnancy cause increases in fluid retention.

Hemodynamic Changes:

  • Increased Cardiac Output

  • Sodium Retention

  • Water Retention

  • Expansion in blood volume

  • Reduction in Systemic Vascular Resistance

  • Decrease in Venous and Lymphatic Return

*These changes begin early in pregnancy, reach their peak during second trimester and remain relatively constant until delivery.

Structural Changes:

  • Anterior or forward tilting of the pelvis.

  • Increased lumbar lordosis – thoracic kyphosis – cervical lordosis – cranio-sacral strains.

  • Postural stresses shift from ligamentous and disk-oriented balance TO strenuous muscle-controlled balance and continued distension of the abdomen decreases the muscular capacity to counterbalance.

  • Muscles get stretched beyond their capacity to contract efficiently.

All of these physiologic changes put stress on:

  1. Transitional levels of the spine: C/T, T/L and L/S junctions.

  2. Iliopsoas muscle: very important in lumbar column support, is a prime mover of L/S junction and can strongly influence sacral motion.

  3. Sympathetic (T10-L2 innervation to the pelvis) and Parasympathetic Nervous (S2-S4 innervation to pelvic structures through pelvic splanchnic nerve) System

  4. Respiratory and Circulatory function: Diaphragm/Rib restriction, Constipation, Edema, Varicosities, Cramps, Back/Pelvis/Hip pain.

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