REFLEXOLOGY IN PREGNANCY

As any athlete would prepare for a marathon with regular exercise and good nutrition, so to does a mother-to-be need to prepare for the birth of her baby. Along with following all of the guidelines for lifestyle during pregnancy, there are also many treatments that can help you to prepare your body and mind for childbirth - I would of course recommend reflexology!

Reflexology during pregnancy is the perfect way to nurture your mind, body and spirit. A time for you to switch off, relax and connect with baby. I can support you throughout your pregnancy, in preparation for labour and after the birth. Reflexology is also an ideal way to help ease any anxieties ahead of a more medicalised birth. It is a safe, non-invasive holistic therapy designed to send the body into a state of blissful relaxation. There will be space to discuss lifestyle and wellbeing and I can support you in these areas as well.

Pregnant Woman in Nature

There are many benefits to reflexology during pregnancy and it may help to ease some of the common conditions including:

  • lower back pain

  • PGP/SPD

  • constipation

  • heartburn

  • morning sickness

  • itching

CONTRAINDICATIONS TO PREGNANCY REFLEXOLOGY

The following conditions are contraindicated for pregnancy reflexology:

Pre-eclampsia, pre-term labour, DVT (deep vein thrombosis), placenta praevia (grades II, III or IV and 32 weeks or more), placental abruption, polyhydramnios, oligohydramnios, vaginal bleeding. 

REFLEXOLOGY IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER (weeks 1-13)

You can choose to begin reflexology from your first trimester and continue all the way through your pregnancy. Reflexology is a safe, non-invasive therapy during pregnancy and there is no evidence to suggest that reflexology can cause a miscarriage. However, because a miscarriage is statistically more likely in the first trimester, some women choose to wait until they have moved into the second trimester before they begin complementary therapy. 

Reflexology in pregnancy may help ease many of the common symptoms such as nausea and tiredness and is proven to be beneficial in reducing stress and tension. 

I would recommend weekly treatments if you are experiencing ongoing symptoms, otherwise every 4 weeks for general wellbeing. 

REFLEXOLOGY IN THE SECOND TRIMESTER (& UP TO 37 WEEKS)

Reflexology in the second trimester aims to support your general wellbeing, lower stress levels and improve sleep. If you have any pregnancy-related oedema, I can use lymphatic drainage movements to help to ease this, as long as there is no pathological cause (pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure).  

PREPARATION FOR LABOUR & BIRTH (from weeks 37+)

Reflexology from 37 weeks can be focused on priming the body for birth and may help you to have a shorter and easier labour (see research below). Certain reflexes can be worked on that are connected to the induction of labour to prepare your body, when it is ready, to begin the process of birth. Reflexology cannot induce labour, as this is a medical procedure but it relaxes the body and mind which is sometimes all that is needed for you to feel safe and ready to birth your baby. 

From this stage, you can have weekly or biweekly treatments. 

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS

Two recent studies have shown that regular reflexology during pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour (1), reduced the length of the first stage of labour (1) and improved quality of sleep for postnatal women (2). There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence from women who feel they have benefited from reflexology their pregnancy.

POST-NATAL REFLEXOLOGY

The first six weeks after birth are time for your body to recover from the birth and reflexology at this time can help to support this process and alleviate many conditions including:

  • engorged breasts / mastitis

  • improve milk production

  • fatigue

  • post natal blues

  • post natal depression

Whatever your reason for wanting reflexology we can work together to make a plan to support you during this special time.

 

Please email me if you have any questions at all.

Jo has trained in pregnancy/maternity reflexology with Sally Earlam, Maternity Specialist at the Association of Reflexologists.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

www.aims.org.uk - A fantastic resource supporting women and families to achieve the birth they want. 

www.positivebirthmovement.org/

www.aroundbirth.org/

Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin