By enabling a calm, relaxed, mind and body, some research suggests that reflexology can assist with conception and sub-fertility issues. Research also suggests that it can naturally help lessen the chances of being induced, and that it can shorten the duration of and reduce pain in labour. Reducing the impact of stress and anxiety allows your body to naturally and effectively prepare for childbirth. I gave birth to my first child in January 2014 at East Surrey Hospital birth centre, she came a day before her due date, and she was born in just 5 hours from the first contraction. I had no pain relief and there was no intervention other than an episiotomy at the end. My son was born in March 2016 at home in just 2 hours from the first contraction and again I had no pain relief – I received reflexology throughout both pregnancies and truly believe this assisted in making these complication free births. Many of my clients have reported similar experiences over the years.
Midwives often recommend reflexology during pregnancy, as many women have reported that it has assisted them in the following ways:
- Boost energy levels
- Reduce heartburn
- Reduce oedema & water retention
- Relieve constipation
- Aid and improve insomnia and sleep problems
- Encourage deep relaxation
Please check with your Consultant, GP or Midwife before undergoing a course of treatments, particularly if you have previously experienced premature labour, high blood pressure, placenta previa or bleeding during pregnancy.
Ideally your sessions will start on a monthly basis (after the first trimester – 13 weeks), becoming fortnightly at around 30 weeks and then weekly at 37 weeks. In the final weeks of your pregnancy (37 weeks onwards) a more stimulating style of reflexology is used to help prime your body for labour, and which can also assist with inducing a natural labour.
Research on Reflexology for Infertility
Research on Reflexology in Pregnancy and on labour outcomes
1. A recent research study has shown that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour and reduced the length of the first stage of labour (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. 15(Dec) p302-310)
2. Dr. Gowri Motha, Ms Zia Rowji and Dr. Jane McGrath. In 1992-93 Reflexology was offered free of cost to 64 pregnant women from 20 weeks of pregnancy to term, in Forest Gate, London. Thirty-seven completed the set course of 10 treatments.
The remaining group found that Reflexology helped with the following presenting problems:
|Social Stress||10.8%||No problems||5.4%|
|Immunological Stress||8.1 %||Nose bleeds||2.7%|
It was discovered that the effects of Reflexology on labour outcomes were outstanding. Some had labour times of only 2 hours, some 3 hours. The 20‑25 year olds had an average time of first stage labour of 5 or 6 hours, as did the first time mothers (text book average is 16-24 hours). Second time mothers, 26‑30 year olds, seemed to have longer labours (and may have fallen into the group experiencing more social stress). The second stage of labour lasted an average of 16 minutes (compared to the text book expectancy of 1-2 hours). In this small study it was found that there was very little difference between the labour times of 30 year olds and 40 year olds, even though many of the 40-year-olds were first time mothers – (who had 2‑3 hour labours).
Outcomes for mothers receiving reflexology in the study
|Immunological Stress||8.1 %||(13.0% in Newham District)|
Links to further articles on pregnancy and reflexology