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Why I Love Osteopathic Manual Treatment

Why I Love Osteopathic Manual Treatment | Des Moines Moms Blog

I am twenty-some weeks pregnant, and even though I’m starting to feel big and awkward, I know I still have a long way to go before meeting this baby (it’s a girl!).

Pregnancy does crazy things to your body. From swollen feet and sore muscles to varicose veins and stretch marks, some days I look at myself and wonder what happened to my body! Of course it’s totally worth it to have a sweet little baby, but it’s a sacrifice for sure!

When I was pregnant with my first, I decided it was a good idea to paint the nursery during my third trimester. Turns out bending over and being on your feet for extended amounts of time is not the best idea. That night, my lower back was killing me! I know some women go to the chiropractor when they’re pregnant, but I didn’t love the idea of getting adjusted that way.

I had heard about less invasive osteopathic manual treatment at Des Moines University Clinic, and thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did! Getting osteopathic manual treatment made a huge difference. I have now been seeing Dr. Katherine Heineman during all of my pregnancies. I usually start seeing her when I am around 20 weeks pregnant and continue seeing her until after I have the baby. She adjusts my lower back and hips and helps keep my back aligned.

Osteopathic manipulative treatment isn’t something a lot of people know about, so I asked Dr. Heineman to share some more information, specifically for women who are pregnant.

What is osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)?

Dr. HeinemanDr. Katherine Heineman: “OMT is a hands-on, non-invasive treatment. A clinician uses his hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. He moves your muscles and joints by stretching them and applying gentle pressure and resistance to ease pain and increase mobility.

“Classical osteopathic manipulation is based on the principle that the human body possesses self-healing, self-regulating mechanisms that are the source of true healing. The goal of osteopathic treatment is to look for the most efficient and effective way to bring about health in the patient. OMT addresses restrictions of the tissues, fluids, organs, and physiologic systems of the body.”

How do you help women who are pregnant and experiencing discomfort?

Dr. Katherine Heineman: “OMT can help women adjust to the significant changes, stresses, and strains that occur throughout the course of pregnancy. Most pain medications are not recommended with pregnancy, leaving few options for women for pain control. OMT is a conservative, noninvasive option that can improve physiologic functioning and help the woman’s body adapt to the physical changes of a pregnancy. Toward the end of a pregnancy, OMT can help to prepare the pelvis for the passage of the baby and potentially help turn a breech baby. Also, by providing freedom to the ligamentous support of the uterus and pelvis through the course of the pregnancy, Caesarean Sections may become less likely.

“If possible, it’s best to see a woman beginning at the start of the pregnancy and follow her through the course of pregnancy with treatment. I often recommend a treatment once a month through the first and second trimester, then possibly increasing to twice a month or weekly at the very end of the pregnancy, if needed. However, even if treatment doesn’t begin with the early stages of pregnancy, OMT can often be beneficial at any time during the pregnancy.”


One of my favorite things about being treated by Dr. Heineman is that she always explains what she is doing and how it will help my back and hips feel better. I had a lot of questions the first few times I saw her, and she was quick to answer them and make sure I was comfortable with what she was doing. She also recommended stretches for me to do between visits. Learn more about osteopathic manual medicine and the Des Moines University Clinic here.

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by Dr. Katherine Heineman or Des Moines University. I did not receive any compensation for providing my endorsement. All opinions expressed above are voluntarily stated.

What treatments have you utilized to help you be more comfortable during pregnancy?

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