Craniosacral therapy offers amazing benefits during the pregnancy and the childbearing year, including feeling more comfortable in your body, shorter labors, less stress, deeper sleep, and a deeper connection to your baby. It can help you process any fears you may have before labor or work through post-partum trauma stored in your body. Let me tell you how I discovered the exciting benefits of craniosacral therapy for pregnancy, as well as newborns and infants.
While working as a doula several years ago, I had a string of exceptionally long labors. Hours upon hours of contractions or unproductive labor going nowhere, moms frustrated and tired. In each one, doctors were pushing for a c-section, and while I was proud that we were able to avoid that outcome, I also felt puzzled and unsettled. During each labor, there just didn’t seem to be much that I could do to help the situation.
Out of a deep desire to help my clients, I dove into the research on how to shorten long labors.
In my research, I found tons of information on optimal fetal positioning and chiropractic, but I also learned of a different technique: craniosacral therapy. It was a therapy I had heard of before that had helped me recover from an injury years before. Eager to learn a gentle and effective method of bodywork that powerfully impacted the childbearing year and beyond, I began to pursue training with the Upledger Institute. Soon, I began seeing the valuable impact it had on the health of women in conception, pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, effective and relaxing therapy. CST uses light touch to aid in tissue release and enable the body to come into balance, allowing women and their babies to experience a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy.
With a new tool in my toolbox, I was excited to bring CST to my doula practice. One client in particular, Heather, was on her third pregnancy and suffered pretty severe pubic pain. Before training in craniosacral, I would have been at a loss of how to help her. You can imagine how thrilled I was when after one session I received this text from Heather: “Still feeling amazing today after the CST! Still standing straight, no issues with hips or pubic bone. My mom even commented that I looked taller and was standing the best she has seen in a long time. I even feel more mentally and emotionally balanced.”
Heather wasn’t the only one. I noticed shorter labors with other clients, and other birth workers began sending me their clients in hopes that their breech babies would turn (and they did!).
So how does it work? Craniosacral therapy works by helping your body release tension and imbalances, which invites your body to be in alignment, enabling optimal fetal positioning and alleviating painful pregnancy complications such as migraines, severe pubic pain, low back pain and sciatic pain. Craniosacral therapy also balances the autonomic nervous system (the part of us that regulates our very basic functions) which causes it to be exceptionally beneficial for anyone dealing with stress, high blood pressure, liver or kidney concerns, nausea or fatigue in pregnancy.
I’ve even seen craniosacral therapy work with more intense conditions, like HELLP, a life-threatening condition similar to pre-eclampsia. My personal experience has been that CST can help stabilize levels in HELLP and prolong the pregnancy to a healthier and more viable place for both the mother and the baby. Even with just a short 20-minute session, one mother mentioned she didn’t recognize how stressed she was until she became so calm. She said a CST session was like a ‘yoga massage.’
When it comes to labor and delivery, I personally notice that clients who have received craniosacral therapy have shorter, more effective, contractions. Of course, shorter labors aren’t necessarily the goal of craniosacral. The goal is that the body is able to function better, healing itself where possible, and also relieving stress. Each pregnancy is different, and in some cases, a cesarean might be the best option for both mother and baby.
How can you incorporate CST into your pregnancy? First, find a great craniosacral provider, preferably one who has had training in supporting women and families during the childbearing year. I currently practice in West Michigan and would love to see you, but if you can't see me The Upledger website has a directory of craniosacral therapist across the US, while also listing their training. If you find someone who offers craniosacral therapy in your area, be sure to ask them how they received their training and what their experience is, as skills can vary greatly between providers. Learn more about how to find a craniosacral therapist that specializes in the childbearing year and infants.
While it would be ideal to receive treatment throughout your entire pregnancy, many women find exceptional benefit from even one treatment. Regular treatment can be a significant support for a healthy pregnancy. Craniosacral can be very helpful leading up to delivery, getting your body and your baby in the optimal position for birth. CST has virtually no negative side effects and because the therapy is so gentle, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your sessions and enjoying the gentle relaxation that comes along with healing treatment. If you’re receiving chiropractic care, you will find that craniosacral often enhances chiropractic care, allowing chiropractic adjustments to be more effective, less painful and hold longer.
It can be easy to feel bombarded by the demands and expectations pregnancy brings, but in the past decade of working with mothers, I’ve noticed that taking the time for a craniosacral therapy session has exponential benefits. Feeling more connected with your baby, enjoying your pregnancy and helping your labor — it’s a treatment that supports and enhances your childbearing journey.
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Craniosacral can help you relax from the stress, support the demands on your body and make your pregnancy and labor easier. What’s not to love? Book an intake session at Craniosacral Center of Grand Rapids today.