Craniosacral Therapy (CST) for Pregnancy, Mother and Baby
Pregnancy, childbirth and new parenting are a wonderfully rewarding experience but can also be a physically challenging and mentally exhausting time. Craniosacral Therapy is an effective, gentle complementary therapy that may help both mothers and babies through the rigors of pregnancy, the birth process and beyond.
The changes a woman’s body goes through when she prepares to welcome a new life into the world can be dramatic and stressful on the pelvis, spine, uterus and abdominal cavity, not to mention the extra stresses placed on the organs, which can lead to aches and pains, fluid retention, low immunity, headaches, acid reflux and fatigue. In the early stages of pregnancy, various hormones are released and the body attempts to expel toxins resulting in most people experiencing morning sickness. CST at this stage may be effective in balancing hormones, improving energy levels and easing stress and tension.
As your baby grows, the increasing weight can put a strain on your spine and pelvis, and the effects of the hormones that prepare your body for birth by softening the ligaments and cartilage commonly lead to problems with posture, muscle spasm and more seriously, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), which can lead to being bed bound. Those who have suffered previous pelvic strain or injury may be particularly at risk of SPD. Craniosacral Therapy helps to encourage free movement of the sacrum and pelvis, easing the spasm of the pelvic floor muscles and other tissues attached to the pubic bone and sacrum, helping to ease the birth process for both mother and baby by facilitating pelvic expansion.
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, space in the womb is very limited, which constrains baby’s movement. This is further increased during labour, when the baby is compressed to pass through the pelvis and down the birth canal. Birth is a very personal journey for you both, with each experience being unique. Whether a quick, powerful delivery, a long, slow labour or one that has been subject to medical intervention such as c-section, ventouse or forceps, the experience can be stressful and physically damaging for both of you. The stress and compression experienced by baby during the birth process can particularly affect the baby’s head, which is designed to withstand this compression by moulding to fit. This is a completely natural process that is often remedied after birth from the first breath, through baby sucking, crying, breathing and yawning. However, some stresses and tensions may remain which can interfere with proper cranial nerve function leading to ailments such as colic and other digestive issues, respiratory difficulties, irritability and over stimulation or being overly subdued. These babies may need a little extra help to encourage the body’s self-healing process and CST is an ideal complementary therapy that helps by returning the softened bones of the head to an optimal position, allowing baby to release the physical tension and emotional stresses of the birth process.
After birth, Craniosacral Therapy can be of particular benefit to mothers in supporting the body to readjust, aiding postnatal recovery and realigning the body. As a whole body therapy, CST is a gentle, non-invasive treatment that is suitable for both mother and baby (and father!), encouraging the shared metabolic and emotional links that you can enjoy and benefit from together. You don’t need to remove any clothing and the session is relaxed and playful rather than clinical. For me, treating young babies and their mothers is a most rewarding experience and it was my own experience with my eldest daughter that led me to learn more about Craniosacral Therapy and train as a practitioner.
My eldest daughter suffered terribly with colic. I sought help and support from my GP and health visitor, but the condition only worsened and the medication that was prescribed seemed to give her no relief. As a new mother, experiencing your child in pain and distress was agonising for both of us and I felt helpless. After researching as much as I could about the condition and possible treatments for colic, I found a CST practitioner who invited us both for a session. After just one treatment I noticed an improvement. After only three sessions, she no longer suffered. Colic and its distressing symptoms can be unbearable for both parents and child but I believe a short course of CST after birth for both mother and baby can lead to better bonding and a happy, healthy child both now and in the future.