Bodywork and pregnancy in Singapore
During pregnancy, your body is put under tremendous amounts of stress. Your entire circulation is being redirected to accommodate your growing fetus, your heart needs to pump extra hard, your lungs are breathing in more air than before. And your muscles, ligaments and fascia have to carry around extra weight; from your growing uterus and baby, extra body fat, increased blood in your body...
After delivery, your body does not only need to recover from childbirth, but also from 10 months of pregnancy (something a lot of women seem to forget!). Your abdominal muscles have been stretched out and your pelvic floor has been experiencing increased amounts of pressure, with the heavy uterus resting on top of it. Breastfeeding may mean you keep finding yourself in the same, hunched-over position for hours on end (spoiler alert: if breastfeeding is giving you muscle soreness, it might be a good idea to engage a lactation consultant to help you with breastfeeding positions!). So how to give your body some much-deserved extra attention during pregnancy and postpartum?
The answer is bodywork.
What does bodywork mean? Bodyworkers are healthcare professionals who use touch to heal the body. One of the probably best-known bodywork technique is massage. These professionals have a deep, extensive knowledge of how your body works on a cellular level and can aid with body tension and secundary complaints that may arise because of it. A bodyworker is a holistic care provider; meaning, they will not only look at the physical body, but incorporate mind, body and spirit when they treat you. For example, a headache may occur from a tensed neck, which is caused by worrying about Covid! What are your options in Singapore when it comes to bodywork?
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic doctors focus on the intimate relationship between the spine and the nervous system, however, they are not limited to solely working with the spine. If you have any vague, unexplainable pains (like sciatica, a condition where you feel a numbing, radiating pain in your lower back or buttocks), it may be caused by nerve blockages or problems with your spine. They use a their hands to manipulate the musco-skeletal structure, resulting in bodily alignment. This will take complaints and ailments caused by misalignments away.
When to use: unexplainable, recurring headache, back pain, or anything else that might be related to the spine both during and after pregnancy; general check-up for alignment
Where to find: http://www.allianceofchiropractic.com has the largest directory of chiropractors in Singapore.
Osteopathic care: The similarities between chiropractic and osteopathic care is that both practices have the same goal, namely primarily alleviating any pain or discomfort by looking at the physical body. Secundary goals might be to address problems with circulation or digestion, that could be caused by misalignments. Both practices mostly use their hands to diagnose and treat. The difference, however, is that osteopathic care looks more broadly at the body, and how different systems work together. It focuses more on soft tissues and muscles, where chiropractic care is mostly involved with the spine. Osteopaths can help with any kind of muscular complaints, and they will be able to diagnose easily where it is coming from.
When to use: any type of ache or pain that seemingly has no reason, like muscle aches that keep coming back in the same area.
Where to find: https://cityosteophysio.com is one of the more well-known chains in Singapore. Their team at the Guthrie House (Bukit Timah) has a lot of experience with pregnant an postpartum women (and newborns!).
Physiotherapy: Another bodywork technique that has the same goals, but a different point of view. Physiotherapy will look at the connection between bony structures and the muscles. Physio also focuses more on recovery after injury or surgery. Where chiropractic and osteopathic care heal by stretching and massaging, will physio sometimes use active treatment: muscle contractions and exercises.
When to use: pregnancy and childbirth rehabilitation for those areas of your body that were put under the biggest stress: your abdomen, and your pelvic floor. Even without any complaints, go see a physiotherapist specializing in women's health after childbirth to make sure you are not suffering from an abdominal wall separation or a weakened pelvic floor.
Massage therapy: do we still need to explain this one? Kneading and rubbing with the hands to release tension in big muscle groups.
When to use: massage during pregnancy to help alleviate sore muscles from the extra weight you have been carrying. Postpartum massage will help you relax, give you some time to yourself, helps with the abdominal wall coming back together, and may help with engorgement during breastfeeding.
Where to find: Have a look at http://nikbodywork.com/wp/ for amazing pregnancy and postpartum treatments.
Pregnancy and childbirth put your body under a lot of stress. Be nice to it, and reward it with some TLC!