Maternity Reflexology is a specialised form of reflexology which aims to support you through all stages of pregnancy, labour and the post-natal period and can help promote general wellbeing. It will induce a deep state of relaxation which can help your body cope with the major physical and emotional changes taking place. Having reflexology during pregnancy can also allow you time away from your busy life and enable you to have that special time where you can focus purely on yourself and your growing baby. I began specialising in Maternity Reflexology in 2009 after completing a post-graduate course. I see many pregnant women at various stages of pregnancy. I will work alongside your midwife and other obstetric caregivers in a complementary role.
It is recommended that you have regular reflexology right through from conception to birth. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from women who feel they have benefitted from reflexology during their pregnancy. Two recent studies have shown that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour (1), reduced the length of the first stage of labour (1) and improved the quality of sleep in post-natal women (2).
- VALIANI M ET AL (2010) Reviewing the effect of reflexology on pain and outcomes of the labour of primiparous women. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15(Dec) 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.
You may find that many reflexologists wonít treat a pregnant woman during the first trimester of pregnancy, that is up until the 12th week. This may be because they are newly qualified and/or havenít had the necessary training or experience working in this area. There is no evidence to suggest that Maternity Reflexology can cause a viable foetus to miscarry or cause early delivery. It is a safe, gentle and non-invasive therapy. It is believed that the majority of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities. It is still recommended that reflexology is given by a practitioner who has had specific training in the techniques needed to carry it out safely and effectively.
Your pregnancy and labour will undoubtedly be one of the most exhilarating, exciting and emotional experiences of your life. It is a completely natural and joyful event and reflexology can help you cope with the huge emotional and physical changes. Reflexology can be beneficial at whatever stage of pregnancy you are at. I will aim to aid relaxation and offer support through any worries or concerns that you may have.
Please watch this YouTube video about Reflexology support for pregnancy.
Preparation for Labour
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. You may wish to visit me more frequently as your due date approaches (from 37 weeks) as stress hormones may delay the onset of labour. Having reflexology more regularly at this time can leave women feeling more confident, calmer and better prepared for labour. Itís recommended that clients start having reflexology at least 6 weeks before their due date for maximum benefit.
There are times during a pregnancy when it is not advisable to have Maternity Reflexology;
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Severe Oedema Ė if associated with pre-eclampsia
Placenta Praevia (where the placenta covers or is close to the cervix, type ll, lll or lV)
Oligohydramnios (lack of fluid around the baby)
Polyhydramnios (excessive fluid around the baby)
A full and confidential medical history will be taken on your first visit to make sure that reflexology will be safe and effective for you. I will always ask about changes in your health upon further visits so that reflexology will remain the best option for you. Please always follow the advice of your midwife or obstetric caregiver and ask their permission before you commence having maternity reflexology.
The Post Natal Period
Some women find it difficult to return for reflexology following the birth of their babies due to the new demands that are placed on them, lack of sleep and general childcare issues. The first 6-8 weeks after the birth is the most demanding and tiring time for a new mum but is often a time when reflexology can be of great support.
Itís very important for a new mum to find some time for herself and reflexology will often give her that Ďpick me upí thatís much needed at this time. Your body again has to go through some huge emotional and physical changes to return to a non-pregnant state. Continuing with reflexology after the birth is highly recommended and a relaxed and calm mum will find it easier to cope with her new baby.
Please visit my links page for useful websites relating to pregnancy and childbirth.
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