Reflexology is a non-invasive, gentle, natural therapy which aims to harmonise the mind, body and spirit to support women through pre-conception, pregnancy and after the birth. Many midwives recommend reflexology as a useful tool throughout pregnancy and to prepare for labour.
Reflexology may be beneficial to both partners. Reflexology and a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and excercise, tries to bring about optimum health, creating the ideal environment for conception and early foetal development.
During pregnancy a woman’s body experiences many hormonal, physical and emotional changes. It can be a great source of stress to the future mum adjusting to these changes as well as worrying about what lies ahead.
Reflexology may be a great support at this time, aiming to relieve stress and tension – bringing about deep relaxation and creating a sense of well being. My goal is that the mother feels supported mentally, physically and emotionally throughout her pregnancy.
Breech and back to back babies
I have worked with many women whose babies were either back to back or in a breech presentation to try and help their babies turn into a head down position. Please feel free to contact me for more information about this very specialised area of reflexology.
Reflexology treatments aim to ease the symptoms of pregnancy ailments and discomforts including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- General relaxation
- Relief of stress and anxiety
- Increased energy levels
- Reduce heartburn
- Relieve backache
- Oedema (swelling, mainly of feet and ankles)
- Ligament and groin pain
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Turning a “back to back” baby
- Turning a breech baby
Preparation for labour
Research has shown that women who have regular reflexology treatments during pregnancy are more likely to have a shorter labour and require less pain relief. (Dr Gowri Motha – “The Magic of Reflexology in Pregnancy” – 1994 study.) It’s recommended that clients start having reflexology once a week at least 6 weeks before their due date for maximum benefit. Although it’s not claimed that reflexology can induce labour, the general view is that it is helpful in the final few weeks and days when stress and anxiety levels often rise. Stress hormones may delay the onset of labour so the more prepared and relaxed you feel, the better. Treatments change slightly as the due date approaches and we start focussing more on stimulating the body to produce oxytocin (the hormone that makes the uterus contract), encouraging the cervix to dilate and loosening the pelvis. At this point, clients usually have twice weekly treatments.
The body goes through huge changes during pregnancy and the birthing process, both physically and emotionally. Reflexology aims to restore balance to the body and improve the new mums general well-being.
The postnatal period is the time from the end of birthing until six to eight weeks later when the reproductive organs have returned to a non-pregnant state. You can begin postnatal treatments as soon as you wish, from the first day after the birth. If it is difficult for you to find time to fit in reflexology around your babys needs then it is perfectly fine for baby to come to the session and have a cuddle or a feed while you have your treatment.
Is it OK to have reflexology throughout the entire pregnancy?
Yes. Though more precautions are taken in the first trimester of pregnancy, a client may benefit from sessions before conception until well after the baby is born.
Maternity vs Regular Reflexology
The methods used in Maternity Reflexology differ from regular reflexology in the use of…
- More relaxing techniques (to calm both mother and baby).
- Direct attention to the aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy (backache, heartburn, swelling etc)
- Energetic balancing of the reflexology endocrine zones, for the overall mental and physical wellbeing of both mother and baby.
- An overall more gentle approach in the use of all techniques, customised to each stage of pregnancy.
Reflexology is safe and effective during pregnancy. It is, however, not recommended if there is a history of premature labour, severe hypertension, placenta previa or recent vaginal bleeding. If you suspect any problems in your pregnancy it is important to contact your doctor or midwife.