What is an Osteopath?

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OsteopathsOsteopathy is an alternative approach to medicine that takes a holistic approach to a patient care. Osteopaths believe that including an individual’s emotional and mental health is key to solving physical ailments. Many expectant women find this approach extremely beneficial as they experience both physical and emotional changes throughout pregnancy, childbirth and during recovery.

 

Osteopaths are trained and licensed physicians who can deal with all general health issues. Their D.O. medical degrees are considered equal to M.D.s, and their education follows the same curriculum, with a residency lasting 2-6 years. In fact, many osteopaths are obstetricians or have trained in another surgical specialty.  After completing their education, D.O.s must pass a state exam and then apply for licensure just like an M.D. Osteopaths then recertify their credentials every few years to demonstrate knowledge of current practices.

 

An osteopath may treat a woman preconception, during pregnancy and post-delivery. Their comprehensive and holistic approach to medicine appeals to many women, especially those who wish to receive treatment as a whole person rather than addressing each issue as an independent problem. Many osteopathic practitioners can help a woman conceive, carry her baby comfortably and undergo an easier childbirth as well as helping her get back into shape with drug-free therapies.

Pregnancy causes a woman to experience many physical and emotional changes. The spinal cord and pelvis come under ever-greater stress as the baby grows. A woman’s center of gravity shifts which may negatively affect her posture and ability to walk comfortably. The additional weight also causes increased muscle and joint pain. A woman may find daily tasks such as walking and sitting becoming difficult as well. Osteopathy can also help a woman with minor pregnancy ailments as upset stomachs, nausea, and vomiting. Osteopaths can provide natural relief without the fear of side effects that would negatively affect the baby.

Women experiencing an easy pregnancy with few discomforts can also benefit from regular osteopath visits. During these visits, an osteopath can help prepare the body for childbirth. Common practices include detoxification, body alignment and relaxing the pelvis. Osteopaths may also help women learn breathing and stretching techniques for reducing stress and increasing comfort during labor.

 

 

Osteopaths can also treat infants. Many mothers appreciate an osteopath’s approach to treating the whole child rather than just treating his physical symptoms. Understanding that a baby may experience irregularities and discomfort due to adjusting to its surrounds, osteopaths also consider emotional factors affecting a baby’s successful adjustment to the world. Osteopaths are qualified to treat patients of all ages, and may continue to treat the baby into child and adulthood.

A woman should consult an osteopath if:

  • She desires both a scientific and emotional approach to medicine
  • She experiences muscle and joint pain
  • She understands the benefits of alternative therapies such as massage
  • She would like her newborn to remain with the same doctor through adolescence and beyond

Expecting mothers may appreciate a more holistic approach during their pregnancy as treatments rely on natural remedies which have fewer side effects to both the mother and baby. Each pregnant woman experiences different symptoms, and an osteopath can tailor treatments to each patient to meet her needs. Techniques used by osteopaths work best when occurring over a period of time, so a patient should be dedicated to attending multiple sessions. Insurance may not cover sessions, so the cost of treatments may be high. It is always a good idea to seek references and check certifications before retaining the services of an osteopath.

 

 

Photo Kathryn FooterKathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler.  When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.