Reflexology treatments can be used throughout pregnancy and are very helpful after your baby is born. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from women who feel they have benefited from reflexology throughout pregnancy.
Receiving reflexology during pregnancy allows you time away from your busy life and gives you a place where you can focus purely on you and your growing baby in a relaxing and nurturing environment.
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 quality of sleeping for post-natal women (2).
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.
Week 13 to 37
Treatments can ease a number of pregnancy discomforts e.g. back aches, cramps, digestive issues. More importantly it allows you to have some `mum & baby` time. No one pregnancy journey is the same, everyone experiences different feelings and issues. During the second and start of the third trimester, clients tend to start on monthly treatments increasing to fortnightly at 30 weeks then weekly at 36 weeks.
Week 37 to birth: preparation for labour
Treatments at this stage of pregnancy change slightly and can be slightly more uncomfortable. The treatments can help you prepare your body for labour and reduce stress and anxiety. Treatments aim to loosen the pelvis, stimulate the pituitary gland to naturally release oxytocin (the hormone that makes womb contract) and help kick start the cervix into dilating. It is very beneficial for reducing aches and pains at this stage of pregnancy. Clients usually have weekly treatments during weeks 37 and 38 then twice weekly in weeks 39 and 40.
I can also make myself available for mums having home births: during the first stage of labour reflexology is very good to help with relaxation and anxiety. Permission would be needed from your midwife.
(1) 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 15th Dec p302-310
(2) Li G-Y Et Al (2011) Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve quality of sleep amongst post-partum woman. Midwifery.27 p181-186