The journey to becoming a parent can be exciting, however you may experience challenges along the way. Whether you’re trying for a baby, are pregnant, have just had a child, or are adopting, maternity reflexology provides a soothing, relaxing space to support you, your partner and your child during this special time.
I trained in Maternity Reflexology with Sally Earlam, the Association of Reflexologists' leading maternity expert, and have experience of treating many women from pre-conception right the way through to the postnatal period. Reflexology is safe in pregnancy and I treat pregnant women at any stage, from those early few weeks right through to the due date, and beyond.
Simply put, being in a calm, relaxed state helps your body, including your hormonal and reproductive systems, work better. The most important developments in the womb take place in the early weeks of pregnancy so ensuring that your body is in optimum condition whilst trying to conceive is important. Reflexology reduces stress, provides relaxation and rebalances your body and mind, enabling you to be in the best place to help nature do its best.
Reflexology creates the perfect environment for a balanced mind and body, to support you and your growing baby. Putting your feet up during a maternity reflexology session takes the pressure off your body, helping you to physically relax and de-stress. Reflexology also promotes good blood and lymphatic flow so can help with swollen feet, legs and ankles. Other pregnancy niggles such aches and pains, nausea, fatigue, restless legs, interrupted sleep and constipation are common. As you may not want to take medication during your pregnancy, reflexology is a natural therapy which may help to alleviate these symptoms.
Preparing for birth
Reflexology provides you with a lovely opportunity to have some precious time to yourself, to prepare for your baby’s arrival in a comforting and nurturing environment. Reflexology encourages the release of endorphins – our body's natural painkillers and feel good hormones – which can help support you if you have worries about any aspect of your pregnancy, labour or birth. As your due date gets closer, I'll share some reflexology points that you or your partner might wish to try during labour to help regulate your breathing, reduce stress, and lower pain sensations. A recent study (1) showed that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour, and also reduced the length of the first stage of labour.
If you're going through the adoption process, reflexology can provide you with some space and relaxation, to enable you to cope more positively with the physical and mental stresses you may be experiencing. Reflexology can be a beneficial therapy to help you focus on taking really good care of yourself, in order to provide a positive start for you and your future child.
It takes a while to recover from pregnancy and labour, physically and emotionally. Reflexology can help you rebalance your body and hormones after a period of huge change, and give you some much needed rest and relaxation. Reflexology is extremely soothing and recent research (2) showed that it improved the quality of sleep in postnatal women. Regular treatments post-birth can help you keep well, stay positive, and ease some of the very normal anxieties you may be feeling.
Baby is welcome too
A reflexology session is a great way to help new mums get some much-needed time to themselves and that all important headspace. If you're not able to leave your baby with someone else for a hour don't worry, babies are very welcome in my practice. We can find a cosy spot in my treatment room for your little one or they can cuddle up on the couch with you. New babies rarely cry during mum's treatment!
Let’s not forget your partner!
They may feel anxious about their role in your maternity journey and may benefit from some stress-busting reflexology almost as much as you.
(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 Taiwanese post-partum woman. Midwifery. 27th Apr. p181-186