Supporting Your Body Through Pregnancy and Birth with Craniosacral Therapy
May 07, 2014 09:43AM
● By Hilary Bilkis, LMT, CST
Pregnancy is a very special time for a woman. Her body is a vessel that is growing life, and that body will experience dramatic changes over the course of the pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Craniosacral therapy (CST) effectively addresses the concerns and discomforts arising from these physical changes and the emotional distress that accompanies them.CST is a very gentle and deeply relaxing form of bodywork that releases accumulated stress from the nervous system and entire body, helping to restore a sense of balance and peace.
CST is effective because touch is vital to the mother’s well-being, mentally, physically and spiritually, as she adapts to the changes in her body and then the demands of motherhood. Studies show that mothers who receive loving touch during their pregnancies are better able to bond with and nurture their newborn infants.
CST During Pregnancy
One of the primary focuses of CST treatment for pregnant women is on the pelvis to improve mobility and maintain stability. This helps to resolve back pain, hip pain and to lessen overall tension. Gently releasing these restrictions helps the baby assume a better position for labor and birth, which can assist in a timelier and easier birth for both mom and baby.
Clients who suffer from back and neck pain as well as fatigue have reported feeling “more energized, calm and less anxious” after CST sessions. In addition to helping relieve pain, treatment during pregnancy can help alleviate other symptoms such as headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, heartburn and the feeling of “running out of room.” It is often during their first pregnancy that women experience this feeling, usually at the moment when their body transforms from not looking pregnant to having a baby bump, seemingly overnight. By gently working with belly tissue, allowing it to soften and open, I’ve helped clients begin to breathe more deeply and comfortably.
These deeply relaxing sessions release not only physical pain, but also help relieve some of the stress and anxiety that many women experience about the birth process itself. As a holistically oriented mom of two boys, I am happy to answer questions about pregnancy and childbirth while sharing my personal experiences. I’ve found that really listening to a soon-to-be mom voice her concerns is enough to help her feel more comfortable and less anxious about her pregnancy.
CST is also a great healing tool to use postpartum. Once the baby is born, much of the attention goes to the newborn, with Mom’s wellness and needs becoming almost an afterthought. It is so important for new mothers to continue to be nurtured and supported physically and emotionally.
Postpartum treatment focuses on realigning the pelvis and the spine, which became overworked or weakened during pregnancy. It also helps the organs of the abdomen to return to a normal position and have them function optimally again after being squished for many months. Additionally, discomforts that arise from carrying a baby are addressed and suggestions are made for body mechanic awareness.And the deep relaxation that occurs during the session can help alleviate the chronic fatigue experienced by new moms, who may find it hard to even remember what it’s like to sleep through the night.
On an emotional level, CST can help relieve any lingering stress and trauma from the birth process. A woman who has experienced a complicated birth may feel traumatized. She may grieve the loss of the birth experience she had planned. CST can help the new mom process and integrate her birth experience in a way that is physically and emotionally healthy. Additionally, CST can help with cesarean recovery as well as relieve pain from epidural punctures and migraine headaches.
As a wise Southern expression says, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” When you feel well, nurtured, heard and supported, you are kinder, gentler, more patient and attentive to the needs of your family— and you are kinder and gentler with yourself as you adapt to the many changes a new baby brings to your world.
Hilary D. Bilkis, MS, LMT, CST is the owner of Awakening Wellness, LLC, a holistic, light- touch bodywork practice in Morristown. She has been in private practice since 1997. Visit Awakening4wellness.com.