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 ease 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.
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.
Reflexology will also benefit the baby as the calm and wellbeing the mother feels during a reflexology treatment will pass through the uterus encouraging a calm, happy and relaxed baby. First Trimester Reflexology can help you relax whilst coping with the huge changes to hormonal levels and coping with any anxieties and concerns which you may have about your pregnancy. I can also offer support and a listening ear.
Reflexology is useful for general wellbeing or to address any specific health issues such as low back pain, insomnia, constipation or emotional issues such as anxiety, low mood, and low energy levels.
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 to prepare 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 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.
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 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.
Please contact Jackie AOR MAR Reflexologist for further details or to book an appointment