As a pregnant woman, you want to do the best for you and your baby during this precious time. The problem can be that there are a lot of conflicting or confusing messages about what is ok and what is not ok! We hope to clarify some of those here.

Pregnancy can be a challenging time in many ways and treatment from a specialist maternity reflexologist can provide you with valuable physical, mental and emotional support through every trimester.

Reflexology is a safe, gentle and non-invasive treatment working only on the feet an ankles (and sometimes hands if a therapist offers that too). There is no direct touch or pressure on the belly or other parts of the body. Reflexology can be received either sitting or lying according to the needs and comfort of the client. The main concern that I have encountered is whether it is safe to receive treatment during the first trimester, when many women are concerned about the stability of the pregnancy.

It is best to seek out an experienced therapist who is trained in pregnancy reflexology and discuss any concerns you have with them about treatment in these first few uncertain weeks. Very often reflexology is beneficial, helping to alleviate anxiety and stress, help with nausea and fatigue and provide a therapeutic space at a time when many women choose not to share their news with others.

Sometimes there are medical reasons not to receive treatment. For example if you:

  • have DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
  • are at risk of pre-eclampsia
  • have placenta previa

In some instances, if there are some health concerns, your therapist may ask you obtain permission from your obstetric caregiver before commencing treatment.

pregnant lady

Preparing for pregnancy

If you are planning a pregnancy, it is very beneficial to start regular treatment a few months beforehand to help prepare the body and be in the best health you can, both for conception and the demands of pregnancy and birth. I have had many clients do this and then once pregnant, have decided they want to continue their regular reflexology through the whole pregnancy from week 1. They all went on to have healthy pregnancies and births.

When receiving regular reflexology, women often report their cycles becoming more regular which can help you know when your fertile window is. Reflexology can also alleviate the effects of stress, improve digestion and elimination to help detox the body.

From the Association of Reflexologists members feedback report that 50% of clients seeking reflexology in connection with conception fall pregnant within 6 months.

During pregnancy

Regular reflexology during pregnancy can help you feel more comfortable, healthy and calm so that both your body and your mind are in good condition for birthing your baby. It is an opportunity to take time out to nurture both yourself and your developing baby in what can be an otherwise hectic lifestyle. Specific ailments that I have seen helped by reflexology include:

  • fatigue
  • stress & anxiety
  • headaches
  • back, hip or pubic pain
  • constipation, bloating and reflux
  • water retention

Timely labour

I have seen how effective regular reflexology is helping women have spontaneous labour within a safe time frame, thereby avoiding a medical induction. It is generally better to have a course of treatment throughout pregnancy, but I have also seen it be very effective for women who are past their ‘due date’ and wish to avoid their scheduled induction.

Research published by Dr Gowri Motha, Ms Zia Rowji and Dr Jane McGrath, ‘Reflexology in Pregnancy and Labour Outcomes’ showed that labour outcomes for women receiving regular reflexology are significantly different from national averages:

  • only 5.4% of women who had regular pregnancy reflexology were induced, vs the national average of 25%
  • 89% had a vaginal delivery, vs the national average of 73.8%

In conclusion

Whatever stage of pregnancy you are in, or if you are preparing for pregnancy, reflexology can be a safe and effective treatment to support you and your baby provided these three criteria are met:

  • Your therapist is trained in pregnancy reflexology
  • Your obstetric team have no medical reason to advise against treatment
  • You are happy to receive treatment.

Our reflexologist Jenni Stone has 17 years experience working in pregnancy and has trained with the renowned Suzanne Enzer, herself a midwife and reflexologist for over 30 years.

If you would like a more information please see Jenni’s website.

Or for a free phone consultation please call Jenni on 07950 930 832.