Reflexology during pregnancy is becoming more and more popular. But why should you consider reflexology while pregnant?
Reflexologists believe there are specific areas on the feet and hands which correspond to all organs and parts of the body(1). We aim to identify and release blockages in energy flow, releasing toxins to aid the body’s natural healing ability while encouraging whole body relaxation.
Reflexology during pregnancy
Many people find reflexology reduces stress and tension, aids sleep and creates an overall sense of well-being. Throughout pregnancy, the body and emotions are constantly changing.
A light reflexology touch is used during the 1st trimester to encourage relaxation and to assist with surging levels of hormones produced by mum and embryo. It is these hormones that can increase feelings of tiredness, tender breasts and nausea.
During the second trimester, reflexology is given to ease any minor ailments, continue with hormone balancing, stress reduction and relaxation. As the pregnancy progresses, we work together to ensure continued comfort. The 3rd trimester is a time of growth which can cause strain on the mothers’ body possibly leading to discomfort.
In general, blood vessels react to stress by contracting, making it harder for blood to move around the body. Reducing stress and tension relaxes blood vessels ensuring blood flows naturally and easily, allowing a constant flow of nutrients to the growing baby. As the uterus receives a fifth of your pre-pregnancy blood supply, keeping your blood moving is essential!(2)
In addition to reducing stress and tension, anecdotally women have reported reflexology provided relief from common pregnancy problems such as:

• Morning sickness and Nausea
• Fatigue/Disturbed sleep
• Constipation
• Backache and SPD
• Heartburn
• Headaches
• Swelling in feet, hands and/or fingers
• Varicose veins
• Sore breasts
• Anxiety and Depression
• Breathlessness/Feeling faint
Mums with diabetes (including gestational) can still have reflexology but must monitor their blood sugar levels before and after the reflexology session.
Reflexology is used by many women to help balance the body and hormones leading up to birth and in preparation for labour. Research has shown reflexology can be useful to decrease the pain intensity and duration of each stage of labour.(3)
Postnatal and beyond
Following birth, reflexology is a fabulous way to provide support as your body hormones and menstrual cycle return to normal. Reflexology has also been shown to help some mums establish and maintain lactation.(4)
Many mums come for a reflexology treatment and add on a session for their baby. Treating mum and baby is really beneficial because it can help prevent any stress transferring to the baby. Reflexology often provides the baby with comfort and security at a time when they may feel insecure resulting in a positive response.
Working with a very light touch, the baby session is 15 minutes during which time we discuss the treatment. Depending on the baby, there is usually between 5 and 10 minutes of reflexology.

1. CNHC Reflexology descriptor (summarised to be relevant for this article)
2. 7 Awesome things your body does in pregnancy
3. The Effect of Reflexology on Pain Intensity and Duration of Labor on Primiparas
4. Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery 2000 VOL 6; PART4 pages(s) 189-198 Tipping, L, Mackereth, P.A.

Olivia works from her treatment room in Southborough and can be contacted via:
Tel: 07522 078 788
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Twitter @twreflexology
Olivia is a Full member of the Association of Reflexologists, Professional Reflexology, registered with CNHC and listed on NHS Choices. Insurance is with Alan Boswell.
Extra training includes: Fertility, Maternity, Reflexology Lymph Drainage.