Laura Hayward is the owner of Fingers and Thumbs Massage. She is a highly experienced and professionally trained ITEC Massage Therapist, and Doula. Specializing in pregnancy massage, Laura is also a qualified baby massage instructor and completed various advanced massage courses in No Hands Massage and Musculo Skeletal work.
To all the expectant & new Mothers, you’ve got this! Your Bodies can cope! The pain, anguish, and discomfort though, does not have to be part of your journey.
In the following piece, I set out from my position as a Massage therapist & Doula, how and where you can find safe and professional help for your physical pregnancy aches. Whether that be Osteopathy, Cranial Osteopathy, Chiropractic treatments, Physio or Massage.
For mobility look at Pilates and Yoga, both can be done via online forums with video. Check out:
During your early Postnatal period, you won’t have time to do any research, so during your Pregnancy is the time to look into things you may need support with once Baby is here. Due to Covid 19 all your normal support avenues have moved online but they are still here! Sling libraries aka Baby Wearing, Breastfeeding support, Cranial Osteopathy to help your new-born adjust, and to recover from their Birth experience. Whether vaginal or caesarean delivery, your baby will benefit from a once over, as will you, to make sure your sacrum and pelvis are in alignment.
Pregnancy Anxiety is common and affects Dads as well as Mums. In extreme cases it is called Tokophobia or can also be PTSD. Often these fears, concerns or mental nags can be alleviated by following your hospital’s Social Media Maternity pages, contacting your Midwife or GP via phone, talking to a support charity like MIND, Anxiety UK, No Panic or reaching out to a Doula, usually via www.doula.org.uk or if in Surrey or Middlesex then www.surreyandmiddlesexdoulas.co.uk
Back to Basics: What is the difference between Osteopathy/Osteopath, Cranial Sacral Therapist, Cranial Osteo, Chiropractor, Women’s Health Physio, Physio and Massage Therapist? Who should I see? This comes down to what hurts & where, who you trust, how many weeks pregnant you are, and who is within your travel area.
My personal recommendations during Pregnancy and the early Postnatal period up to 6 months, as a Pregnancy Massage therapist & Doula usually go (in order) Cranial Osteo, Women’s Health Physio – especially Postnatally, Pregnancy Massage Therapist, Osteopath, Physio, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist.
First question affecting choice depends on what the problem is, where the problem is and if possible, does it feel muscular, nerve-based (often makes you feel nauseous, pins & needles, tingling or numb) or skeletal – for example, you can see a twist or misalignment, you’ve had a fall or injury or know of a pre-existing issue. Don’t worry if you can’t identify the type of pain yourself!
Second question is – how many weeks pregnant are you? This determines how easily you can travel to see someone and what they can do. The later you are in Pregnancy starts to limit the ability to do certain manipulations or adjustments.
Differences between types of Therapy: I was once told an Osteopath looks Holistically at the body ascertaining where the issue may arise. The sessions usually involve soft tissue work as well as adjustments; may include exercises, stetches and can last on average 40mins. Osteopathy is a degree taking 4 or 5 years to obtain. There is also a national register of Osteopaths called the General Osteopathic Council, www.osteopathy.org.uk
Cranial Osteopathy is no different to Osteopathy other than it includes the bones of the head and is the name given to a subtle and refined way of diagnosis and treatment. I personally find a lot of my clients are wary of ‘adjustments’ and having studied Fascia for the last three years, my growing understanding of the other anatomical and physiological aspects involved in pregnancy pain, I feel that this subtle form of treatment is often the most affective. As it includes the bones of the head and is exceedingly gentle in application, it is perfect for Babies and Children. I strongly recommend all new Mothers and Babies have this treatment as the Birth process is demanding on both their bodies no matter what their Birthing style.
Chiropractic treatment or Chiropractor (Chiro for short) generally focuses on misalignments and lack of fluidity through the spine, joints, and muscles. I was once told a Chiro thinks all issues stem from the alignment or misalignment of the skeleton. This treatment includes manipulations & adjustments and can be as short as 5 minutes. Chiropractic treatment Is a degree taking 3 to 4 years to obtain. There are registers of Chiropractors including the General Chiropractic Council www.gcc-uk.org.
Women’s Health Physio is the therapeutic treatment of all disorders affecting the pelvis and pelvic floor. From incontinence to prolapse, pelvic pain or constipation, there is growing evidence that physiotherapy can alleviate, and in many cases cure these symptoms. The newly branded Mummy MOT (in my area) is a Google search to try.
There are various self- massage techniques available. I have posted a few tips in other blogs so check these out including my “What Hurts? Why?”