You are starting a new and exciting phase in your life.
Having a baby, whether or not it is your first pregnancy, will bring you plenty of wonderful experiences and new challenges.
Maternity Reflexology can be of great support to women throughout pregnancy and can help promote general well-being.
Reflexology during pregnancy
Reflexology aims to optimise the physical and emotional health of pregnant women through working on specific reflexology points, usually on the feet but sometimes on the hands, face and ears. These reflexology points correspond to different parts of the body. Reflexologists work holistically. They can also provide general lifestyle advice and offer support.
Receiving reflexology during pregnancy will also allow you time away from your probably busy life and provide a comforting place where you can focus purely on yourself and your growing baby.
When can I have reflexology?
Reflexology can be used throughout pregnancy; the reflexologist will take a full history to ensure that it's safe and appropriate to carry out a treatment.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from women who feel they have benefitted from reflexology throughout their pregnancy and in fact two recent studies have shown that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour”, reduced the length of the first stage of labour") and improved quality of sleep in post-natal women”.
The first trimester is a time when there are huge changes in hormone levels as well as anxieties and concerns about the changes that are going to happen. Both of these factors may leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated, weepy and exhausted – sometimes all at once. The therapist will aim to aid relaxation, de-stress and offer support.
Second and third trimester
In the second and third trimester, most of the discomforts of early pregnancy have gone; however, as the baby grows you may begin to experience other physical symptoms. Your stress levels may also rise as the birth becomes more imminent. Reflexology can be used for general well-being or to address other health issues such as sleeping problems as they arise. Of course the therapist will also be there to support you through any worries or concerns that you may have.
Preparation for labour
As your due date approaches, you may find it useful to visit a reflexologist more frequently.
Although there is no evidence that reflexology can induce labour, the general view is that it will help support the body to prepare for labour and promote relaxation at a time when anxiety levels are often high.
(1) VALIANI M ET AL (2010)
Reviewing the effect of Reflexology on painandoutcomes ofthelabour of primiparous women. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15 (Dec) p302–310
(2) 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
What happens when I go for reflexology?
Reflexology is a very easy treatment to receive; at most you will be asked to remove your shoes and socks.
A full medical history will be taken and you will be asked to sign a consent form agreeing to the treatment. All information will be kept confidentially.
The therapist will then use their thumbs, fingers or knuckles to apply pressure to the feet and sometimes the lower leg, hands, ears or face depending on the type of reflexology chosen. Some areas of the feet may feel tender when pressed, but this will pass. The general experience should feel relaxing.
The therapist will talk to you after your treatment about what they felt, which may lead them to recommend further treatments to aid wellbeing.
How Will I feel after the treatment?
After one or two treatments, most people feel an improved sense of wellbeing and experience a feeling of deep relaxation. Occasionally people report experiencing a mild headache, feeling tired or needing to go to the toilet more often following their treatment. These are normal reactions and should pass within 24–48 hours; reflexologists believe this is part of the healing process.
Please note: Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice