Maternity reflexology is a safe and supportive therapy for pregnant women and it can help to prepare you, both physically and emotionally for the birth of your baby, and help to maintain a sense of balance during the rapidly changing experiences of pregnancy. Reflexology is also a natural and gentle way to recover from the birth of your baby.
During pregnancy your body will go through significant changes which will affect the physiological, hormonal and emotional balance of your body. Reflexology during pregnancy may help to alleviate some of the discomforts these imbalances may cause. Reflexology will also allow you some relaxing time away from your busy life where you can focus on yourself and your baby.
What pregnancy related conditions may reflexology help?
- Digestive disorders
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Lower back pain
- Low energy levels
- Nausea and morning sickness
- Low mood
- Sleep disturbances
- Fluid retention
- Facilitates the bonding process between mother and baby.
- Preparation for labour
- Bringing on labour pain
- Pain relief
- Acceleration of contractions
There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence from women about the benefits of reflexology during pregnancy and during the postnatal period. Two studies have shown that regular reflexology during pregnancy has reduced pain in labour (1), and has reduced the length of the first stage of labour (1) and improved the quality of sleep for postnatal women (2). Reflexology may also help to stimulate the reproductive organs through the autonomic nervous system and so help to strengthen and correct under functioning organs and help balance hormonal function.
- VALIANI M et al (2010) Reviewing the effect of reflexology on pain and outcome of the labour of primiparous women. Iranian Journal Of Nursing and Midwifery Research 15 December p302-310
- LI C-Y et al (2011) Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve quality of sleep amongst post partum women. Midwifery. 27. p181-186
Reflexology will also benefit the baby, as the calm and well being which the mother feels during a reflexology treatment will be passed through the uterus encouraging a calm, happy and relaxed baby.
Reflexology can help you to relax whilst coping with the huge changes to hormonal levels as well as coping with any anxieties and concerns which you may have about your pregnancy. I am also able to offer support and a listening ear.
Second and Third Trimester
Reflexology may be used for general well being or to address any specific health issues such as low back pain, insomnia, constipation or emotional issues such as anxiety, low mood, low energy levels.
Preparation For Labour
As your due date approaches you may find it useful to visit for treatment on a more regular basis. Although there is no published evidence that reflexology can induce labour, the general view is that it will help to support the body in preparation for labour and promote relaxation during a time when anxiety levels are often high. When you are relaxed your oxytocin levels will increase and oxytocin is one of the hormones that starts and helps to establish and continue your labour. Reflexology is wonderful in the late stages of pregnancy as it enables deep relaxation whilst allowing Mother Nature to take its due course. Midwives often recommend reflexology particularly in the third trimester and especially when a woman has reached her due date.
Priming For Labour
This is a treatment involving stimulation of specific reflexology points together with traditional Chinese Medicine acupressure points to create a boost of energy and to stimulate and encourage the onset of labour. This must not be carried out before 41 weeks with your first pregnancy or due date for subsequent pregnancies and must have the agreement of your midwife. There is no guarantee that your body will respond but the treatment is calming and will help to reduce anxiety prior to the birth of your baby. As a clinical Aromatherapist (IFPA) I use specific essential oils during the treatment to help to stimulate and strengthen uterine activity. I will provide you with a bespoke aromatherapy blend which you may take home and use as a massage oil during or before the start of labour.
Reflexology is really wonderful in helping to balance the body’s systems particularly if you have been feeling physically and emotionally tired or just overwhelmed with the immense changes which have taken place in your mind and body.
A research study has shown that reflexology treatments helped improve the quality of sleep in postnatal women.
“Randomised control trial of the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve the quality of sleep amongst postpartum women” Midwifery 2009. 27. p181-186
Reflexology is not a replacement for midwifery care but it seeks to support your body during pregnancy, labour and beyond. It is advisable to contact your midwife or GP if you have any particular concerns about your pregnancy.