Craniosacral therapy during pregnancy
Groan…the discomforts of pregnancy like fatigue, indigestion, and backache are certainly not the best part! There are a lot of demands on your body as you grow a new human being inside your womb. As you nurture your baby, craniosacral therapy nurtures you. It also helps create an optimal environment for your baby’s development. It is safe and recommended during pregnancy.
Craniosacral therapy nurtures you
While you lie on your side on a massage table, fully clothed, your craniosacral therapist may gently place her hands on the back of your head and on your sacrum. She is trained to “listen” with her hands to the subtle movements of tissues, fluids and electrical impulses that signify health in your body. She will also tune in to the background noise of strains and stresses that may be wearing you down. As she holds a space that is caring and patient, your body will respond by self-adjusting to ease the strains. In the biodynamic kind of craniosacral therapy, the therapist does not exert any pressure or massage with her hands.
Benefits for your pregnant self
Craniosacral therapy allows the lower back muscles and ligaments to shift so that there’s less strain. Some of the pressure in your abdomen and pelvis caused by an expanding womb can be relieved as the tissues that hold your organs in place rearrange and relax. Indigestion and constipation can also be relieved. It is a holistic treatment that benefits you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Stress and your baby’s development
When mom feels relaxed and calm with a craniosacral treatment, so does baby! The fetus takes on the activation level of mom’s nervous system. If you experience moderate stress from time to time, this is a benefit for your baby’s development. In stressful situations, your baby is coding into its own nervous system how to cope with stress in the same way that your system does. Your baby is building a body that will know how to survive in the physical and emotional environment it will be entering.
How your body responds to a stressor
Stress is not in your head – it’s in your nervous system. Craniosacral therapy helps the nervous system reset. In the background, many systems in your body are operating all the time: for example, breathing in and out, your heart beating, and your digestion. These all take place outside of your conscious direction, when you are awake and asleep. Your brain regulates these processes. When an incident happens that frightens and stresses you, your brain starts a reaction that helps you escape the danger! Blood circulation changes, digestion shuts down, and in many other ways your body makes a priority out of the processes that make fight or flight possible.
What level of stress is “toxic” or harmful?
Now what if your body experiences stresses frequently, or constantly over a long period of time, or during a situation that feels outside of your ability to control. The body’s processes that ordinarily keep you in a healthy calm state will set up a “new norm” and function continually in a fight or flight mode. That is a toxic or harmful stress level. It suppresses some systems in your body that help you to function normally such as digestion and the immune system. To sustain you under stress, the adrenals are releasing the hormone cortisol. Your baby’s body is learning this adaptation too. If stress becomes chronic, the calm, resting phase necessary for health after a stressful response is eliminated - you always function on high alert because your nervous system perceives that it’s not safe to be resting! Craniosacral therapy sessions can reset your nervous system and bring it into balance.
Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling
If you undergo amniocentesis or CVS, your body and baby’s may sense this as an invasive threat and alarm the nervous system. Craniosacral therapy is recommended as soon as possible to calm and reset the nervous system.
Your body is tuned to let you know when you are making choices that enhance your health and happiness, and when your choices are causing depletion of your inner resources. Craniosacral therapy is a great way to rebuild and tune up resources. It will relieve discomfort, reset your nervous system, and enhance the health of all the systems in your amazing pregnant body.