Reflexology during pregnancy can help to harmonise and balance your body, whilst supporting the natural development of your pregnancy. Reflexology is wonderful in that it gives you permission to create some space and time where you can focus on yourself and your baby. This is really important as it allows the opportunity to calm and relax the mind, and to talk about any feeling which you may have about the birth and life after your baby has arrived.
There is great benefit in incorporating Reflexology into your pregnancy journey as it can offer many benefits such as reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation and sleep and preparing the body for birth. Many women choose to have Reflexology to help with common physical ailments such as constipation, lower back pain, poor circulation and swollen ankles (using lymphatic drainage techniques), headaches, pelvic girdle pain, leg cramps, heart burn.
What Does The Research Say About Reflexology During Pregnancy?
- One study has shown that Reflexology reduced pain and stress levels during labour for women with low back pain (1)
- One study showed that Reflexology improved the quality of sleep in post natal women (2)
- One study have shown that Reflexology during pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour (3) and reduced the length of the first stage of labour (3)
(1) Reviewing the effects of Reflexology on pain and outcomes of the labour of primiparous women. Valiani m et al, Iranian Journal Of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15 (Dec 2010) p 302-310
(2) Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of using foot Reflexology to improve quality of sleep amongst post-partum women. Li C-Y et al. Midwifery. 2011 27.p181-186
(3) The Effect Of Reflexology On Pain Intensity and Duration Of Labour On Primiparous. M Dolatian et al. Iran Red Crescent Med J et al 2011;13(7):475-479.
Supporting Your Maternity Journey
The First Trimester
Reflexology can be used safely throughout pregnancy and many women find that during the first trimester it can help to promote a deep sense of calm and relaxation. Although there is a small risk of miscarriage in any pregnancy there is no evidence that Reflexology can cause a miscarriage or increase the risk. It is important to always check with your GP or midwife that there are no concerns.
The Second And Third Trimester
Reflexology can help to promote general well being and reduce anxiety whilst addressing any other health issues such as insomnia, back or pelvic pain, constipation etc.
Can Reflexology Turn A Breech Baby?
There is a belief that Reflexology can create relaxation within the pelvic girdle and the surrounding muscles which can create space for the baby to turn if it is safe to do so.
Can Reflexology Induce Labour?
Reflexology can help to prepare the body for birth by promoting relaxation both mentally and physically, which sometimes is enough for labour to start naturally. If the body has high levels of stress hormones then the body goes into a “fight or flight mode” which causes the body to believe that it is not safe to give birth.
Although there is no evidence that Reflexology can induce labour it is generally believed that that it can help to support the body to prepare for birth and promote relaxation when often anxiety levels about birth are high.
Reflexology During The Post- Natal Period
Reflexology during the post natal period can be of great benefit in helping to balance hormone levels which can leave mum’s feeling tearful and low or anxious. It can also help to calm and relax the mind and body and can help with breastfeeding by boosting breast milk supply and it can aid sleep.