Having a baby, whether or not it is your first, will bring you plenty of wonderful experiences and new challenges. Reflexology can be of great support and benefit to women throughout pregnancy and can help promote well-being. During your pregnancy, your body will go through significant changes. These changes can affect the emotional, hormonal and physiological balance of your body. Reflexology can help to alleviate or prevent discomfort arising from this imbalance and restore the body’s equilibrium.
When can I have reflexology and how can it help?
Reflexology can also be used throughout pregnancy during all 3 trimesters, to support both mother and the developing baby. Reflexology is ideal for pregnancy complaints including nausea, tiredness, backache, swollen feet etc. It is a wonderfully relaxing treatment for any pregnant woman. Also, it is really nice for sore/tired feet, resulting from carrying all that extra weight from the baby.
As your due date approaches you may wish to visit your reflexologist more frequently. There is no evidence, as such, that reflexology can induce labour, but the general view is that it helps prepare the body and naturally encourages labour. It is certain to promote relaxation at this point as anxiety levels are often high.
Following the birth of your baby your body is readjusting, this is when reflexology is really beneficial for restorative relaxation. You can bring your baby with you and they can even lie with you during treatment, if you wish. Reflexology can be effective in assisting the body through recovery and the new demands made upon it, as well as supporting your body as it returns to its pre-birth condition and can help restore energy and sleep patterns.
You should consult with your GP, Consultant, or Midwife that they are happy for you to have reflexology, before commencing any treatments.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from women who feel they have benefitted from reflexology throughout pregnancy and in fact two studies have shown that it can significantly reduce pain during labour (1), reduce the length of first stage labour (1) and improve quality of sleep in post-natal women (2).
(1 )Valiani M. et al (2010) Reviewing the effect of Reflexology on pain and outcomes of the labour primiparous women. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research 15(Dec) p.301-310
(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. P. 181-186