A Guide to the Benefits of Osteopathy for you and your Baby

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a manual therapy based on the concept that abnormal function of the musculoskeletal system is an important cause of pain and disability. It is typically associated with treating back and joint pain where loss of function has occurred. We treat a wide range of the population, including new-borns and pregnancy.

Osteopaths consider their treatment to be complementary, not alternative, to conventional medicine; they aim to work alongside local GPs, Midwifes and other allied health professionals.  

A typical consultation involves history taking and physical examination; a detailed evaluation of the complaint involves assessment of posture, muscle tone and mobility. Clinical testing is used as appropriate i.e. ultrasound and X-Ray. Treatment aims to improve mobility to restricted areas and to educate patients about their condition and how to manage it.  

Often new-borns present with wind, reflux, settling and feeding issues. Osteopathic care involves, parental advice on settling, winding, diet, and supplement advice, which is particularly important when a Mum is breast feeding.

Osteopathic treatment consists of gentle non manipulative, movement with traction and stretch on the joints, muscle and ligaments to reduce stress on the tissues. Feeding issues can be aided by assessing for good latch and suck. Reflux can be reduced by improved diet and improving the mechanics of the jaw and also aiding the stomach muscles and diaphragm. Often symptoms are addressed in the traditional medical model and eating and good gut health isn’t particularly discussed - these are however easy and simple to change with motivated parents i.e. use of probiotics and reducing processed food intake.

Osteopathic care for pregnant women pre and post birth focuses on helping the mother to accommodate the stresses on the structure including spine, joints and soft tissue. It helps to alleviate some of the pains and problems associated with changes in posture, weight bearing and laxity in the ligaments and tissues especially within the pelvis. Treatment also helps to prepare the body and pelvis for labour and delivery, it also helps recovery after any potential strains imposed during the birth process, whether natural delivery or caesarean, and previous injuries which can begin to affect the wellbeing of the mother during pregnancy. Osteopathy also aims to make space available for the developing baby so they are as comfortable as possible and not under any undue stress.

What to expect with Osteopathy

With gentle Osteopathic technique, some of the key influences causing a baby to be unsettled should improve.

Often the birth, in its many forms, has had an effect on the baby. The areas affected differ with each baby. This can be anything from tight tongue muscles, or neck, back and pelvis being restricted. The stomach and diaphragm can also be affected.

With 2-3 treatments these areas should be less irritated and baby should be more settled.

Help for Children with Developmental Delays

I have also been working with child developmental delay which is an area that I have become very passionate about. Sadly, there isn’t much support for parents and children struggling with learning, movement and behavioural issues. The child that has been to all the medical professionals and has no formal diagnosis. But the parent sees the struggle their child has with coordination, movement and meeting the classroom demands.

Often these are the children that try really hard achieve in some areas but struggle when they get home. Often the parents see the child’s distress but many around just see it as bad behaviour. We see lots of children that fly just under what’s expected of them in school but are often told nothing is wrong. With a combination of Osteopathic manual therapy and simple movement activities/exercises, we can see the child really begin to meet their potential.

About the Author

Jamie Taylor is a Palmerston North (NZ) based Osteopath and he and his team have a particular emphasis on paediatrics, maternity and women’s health. 
Born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, Jamie graduated from the European School of Osteopathy, England in 1994 with a DO in Osteopathy.  
After returning to NZ in 2005 Jamie set up a group practice in small-town New Zealand, which he prefers to busy impersonal city life. 

Share Tweet Pin it
Back to blog