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Pregnancy Week by Week and CranioSacral Therapy
The nine months of pregnancy are divided into three trimesters, each consisting of three months (approximately 14 weeks). I have noticed that there are some common symptoms in each trimester that are helped or alleviated by Craniosacral Therapy (CST) in pregnant clients.
Consider the first trimester (that is, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd months of pregnancy).
In the first weeks after conception, 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 internal organs are formed and some are functioning! Some women choose to come to CST in preparation for conception because these early weeks are so crucial to your baby’s development.
Some moms-to-be may wonder if it is safe to have craniosacral treatment while pregnant?
This is safe and desirable because craniosacral work helps the body adapt to the changes during 40 weeks and it is desirable to keep your body functioning at its best to support your growing baby.
Another concern I sometimes hear in my clinic is will CST induce preterm labor?
Craniosacral therapy, when properly applied by a qualified CST therapist, never goes against what your body wants to do. However miscarriages do happen in the first 12 weeks and if there is something wrong with the pregnancy the body may want to abort the fetus then CST can help the body do what it naturally wants to do.
Nausea is a common complaint in the first few weeks and can be triggered by sensitivity to smells and certain foods. Craniosacral therapy relieves these symptoms, and treatment in the early stages of pregnancy will allow you to relax, help you adjust to your changing body, and bond with your growing baby. Since the touch in craniosacral therapy is very gentle, it is the most suitable treatment from the first weeks of pregnancy.
Another symptom experienced by a newly pregnant mother is fatigue. Joan came to CST when she was ten weeks pregnant. She had a 2 year old toddler and worked full time. When treated with a certain relaxing touch, she entered deep relaxation and sometimes even slept. She then felt better able to manage her busy schedule and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Oliver, at 39 weeks.
Second trimester (4th, 5th, 6th) months.
As the nausea and fatigue of the 1st trimester fades away (for most!), the second trimester is a time of relaxation. A problem I see with some clients at this stage is Heartburn/Acid-Reflux. This occurs when a growing baby puts pressure on the stomach.
Maire attended my clinic suffering from reflux while expecting her third child. She told me that she had had digestive problems during her previous two pregnancies and had heard from a friend that craniosacral therapy could relieve heartburn. During her first treatment, I placed my hands on her lower ribs and within minutes she felt her tightness around her diaphragm dissolve. She then felt she had more room for the baby and the pressure on her esophagus eased. This helped reduce the flow of acid from the stomach into the throat. Combining treatment with avoiding rich foods, eating smaller meals, and wearing looser clothing also helped with reflux.
If the expectant mother is anxious and takes on more than she can handle, this can result in tension headaches. I have often treated clients for back pain and they will find that their headaches have disappeared as well. Craniosacral therapy helps the client tune into the messages coming from their body. They may discover an underlying reason that is causing their tension headache, i.e. anxiety about giving birth or needing more rest. CST offers the time to look at what is really going on and the tools to access solutions to these questions.
Third trimester (7th, 8th, 9th months).
Your body signals a slowdown in the third trimester, when fatigue and sometimes shortness of breath reappear. It seems that in late pregnancy, some women suffer from nasal congestion because the hormones in the body (which soften the vagina during childbirth) cause the membranes inside the nostrils and sinuses to swell. A gentle cranial treatment that relaxes the facial and nasal bones especially relieves this condition.
Some clients have found that craniosacral treatment combined with an emphasis on diet relieves congestion. And once the baby is born, this form of sinusitis disappears!
The most common problem that brings pregnant clients to my clinic is back pain in the last weeks of pregnancy. This can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but is most common in the last trimester. Craniosacral treatment is an excellent treatment for back pain and a few treatments combined with stretching exercises, yoga or swimming usually results in better sleep and less aches and pains.
Sometimes it can happen that I see the expectant mother right before the due date. Even at this late stage, it is helpful to have craniosacral treatment as it prepares the body for birth. Even if labor stops, it seems to continue with renewed energy after treatment.
And finally – it’s always wonderful to treat a newborn in such a way that he feels that a relationship has already been established while nursing his mother during pregnancy.
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