Reflexology for Pregnancy, Labour and Post-Partum
Pregnancy or ante-natal reflexology is a wonderful treatment for expectant mums, as it is so relaxing and calming for both mum and baby and is beneficial for all stages of pregnancy, from conception to birth and postpartum. During pregnancy the body goes through significant physical changes which can affect the emotional, hormonal and physiological balance of the body. Some women breeze through pregnancy but for many it can be a period of discomfort especially in the last 12 weeks. I like to think of it as nurturing the nurturer. My goal is to be your friendly pregnancy partner, who will nurture and support you through all stages of your pregnancy.
As a complementary treatment Reflexology may be really beneficial in maintaining balance during the rapidly changing physiological stages of pregnancy, and in relieving some of the common little niggles experienced during pregnancy including:
- Early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness and fatigue
- Backache and sciatic pain
- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)
- Digestive issues (Constipation, Heartburn, Haemorrhoids)
- Oedema (Swollen feet and legs)
- Tiredness and low mood
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Relief of stress and anxiety
- Reduces stress
While there is little evidence that reflexology induces labour it is is a wonderful way to prepare your body for the birthing process as it naturally relaxes the pelvic area for when your body is ready to go into labour naturally and this can be anythime from 38 to 42 weeks. In addition to totally relaxing the body, from 38 weeks onwards reflexes are stimulated which are related to commencement of labour. However, the baby triggers labour so baby will only come when baby is ready to do so. Studies have shown that by having regular reflexology treatments during pregnancy mums may experience shorter first stage labour. Babies are calmer and tend to suckle better if mum has had regular treatments.
Is it safe?
Reflexology is a very safe and effective treatment during pregnancy. However, there are some conditions where it would not be safe treat:
- Unstable Pregnancy
- Circulatory Problems ( High Blood Pressure, Blood Clots, Deep Vein thrombosis)
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
- Incompetent Cervix
Prior to treatment a thorough consultation form is completed and I always ask clients to inform their GP and Midwife if they are having reflexology treatments in my clinic.
What about Dad?
In Ireland unless mums retain the services of a Doula, Reflexologists are not allowed to treat mums during labour. However, Dads are always invited to my clinic to learn some hand and foot reflexology techniques, and tips to relax mum during labour. This allows them to be actively involved during labour and to provide much needed relaxation and support for mum.
How many treatments do I need?
This really is down to you and how you are feeling. During the first trimester clients often attend weekly or fortnightly to relieve symptoms or if they are feeling very anxious, and some clients prefer to wait until after their first scan to attend. Your treatment is specific to you. Generally if all is well, I recommend treatments monthly, and then weekly for the last 4 weeks or until baby is born as some babies take a little longer to decide to come.
Reflexology for Post Natal Care
While reflexology is so beneficial during pregnancy it is also a wonderful treatment to help the body rebalance and harmonise after the birth, Mums and new babies visit my clinic and enjoy being snuggled in fleecy blankets on my recliner, while mum enjoys a nurturing and relaxing treatment and can snuggle or feed her baby when required. In addition to rebalancing the body and promoting recovery, reflexology may also be beneficial for the following:
- Lactation it (helps to improve milk production)
- Recovery after a Caesarian Section
- Post Epidural Anaesthesia
- Swollen legs or feet
- Perineal pain
- Post Natal blues
- Urinary issues
Babies are always welcome to attend with mum, as sometimes it’s difficult for mum to leave her newborn infant especially when breastfeeding in the early weeks. As a qualified baby reflexology instructor, I am always happy to do a little treatment for baby and teach mum some techniques to help baby at home.