As a reflexologist who is trained and experienced in advanced maternity reflexology (SCQF level 8 awarded by Napier University), having now treated over 300 pregnant women, there are many questions that I am frequently asked; so here they are, with my answers:-
What is maternity reflexology?
Reflexology is a complementary therapy based on the belief that there are reflex areas in the feet, hands and face that are thought to correspond to organs and parts of the body. When pregnant, you go through both physical and emotional changes, and as a reflexologist I will aim to support you during this time adapting the session according to your specific needs. In the first trimester you may experience some anxiety as well as hormonal changes. Reflexology will give you some time to de-stress and relax.
During the second and third trimesters you may have other physical symptoms such as back ache, heart burn, problems sleeping, swelling in the hands or feet. A reflexology session will aim to address these and help you to relax and provide you with some ‘me-time’ before the baby arrives.
How often should I have reflexology when pregnant & when can I start?
I see many people throughout their pregnancies. Often we will start with one treatment a month, increasing this to fortnightly or weekly as you near your estimated due date. This is purely down to your personal preference.
Can reflexology induce labour?
There has not been sufficient clinical research to show that reflexology can induce labour. However, there are specific points I would work on from about 37 weeks that are there to support and prepare your body in the final stages of pregnancy. There is also a view that, by having reflexology and being in a more relaxed state, it may help prepare you for labour.
Are there any times when maternity reflexology would not be suitable?
At your first reflexology appointment, a full medical history will be taken, and this will be reviewed prior to each treatment to monitor any health changes. There are some specific conditions where reflexology may not be appropriate;
- DVT (Deep vein thrombosis)
- Oligohydramnios (deficiency of amniotic fluid)
- Polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid)
- Placental abruption
- Placenta Previa if grade II, III or IV
- Pre-term labour; less than 37 weeks pregnant
Do you suggest any other treatments or practitioners during pregnancy?
I work closely with many other practitioners including pregnancy massage, doulas, hypnobirthing instructors, pregnancy relaxation and pregnancy yoga.
Do you have any leaflets/more information?
I have the Association of Reflexologists “Reflexology; Supporting you through pregnancy” leaflet that I can post to you if requested. Or, click here for a YouTube clip.
What my clients say: –
“The treatments really benefited me firstly by just giving me some “me time”, but with each visit I felt I was getting better at relaxing (really hard for me)! I think I started at about 16 weeks. It would have been nice to start earlier and I’m glad I didn’t start later. Penelope specifically put me at ease very quickly and I always felt that a weight had lifted after the sessions.” EW, Chelmsford
“My fortnightly reflexology sessions during my pregnancy were something that I both looked forward to and relied on, and have recommended you and reflexology to everyone I’ve met since!!! My only regret is not having any sessions with you after to help my body recover. I think I started at 7 months but would definitely recommend starting sooner, I’ve never slept as well as after one of those sessions! I also did lots of pregnancy yoga which helped keep my body and mind in check” KA, Shenfield.
“I can honestly say that I found reflexology so beneficial in my pregnancy. Penelope really helped me.” JC, Chelmsford
“I suffered with SPD, PGP and water retention during my pregnancy, seeing Penelope once a week for the last weeks of my pregnancy gave me an hour to allow my hips to be eased and fluid to move from my feet and ankles. I certainly felt lighter and my hips easier after a treatment.” HD, Chelmsford
“I had reflexology towards the end of both my pregnancies. Both times my baby was transverse. Unfortunately the first time he didn’t shift but together with Acupuncture, moxibustion and seeing a chiropractor, reflexology helped turn my second son. Second time round my waters broke and nothing much happened. I was desperate to experience a natural birth after an elective section and you answered my mercy call and managed to fit me in that afternoon. You came to my house and worked on various points for well over an hour, possibly two, and things did start to ramp up. I was so excited to be experiencing contractions! In the end I had another section as the baby was not budging, but I am forever grateful to you for coming over that afternoon and helping me so much. I was in such a calm, happy state during and after my treatment and know that I did all I could to facilitate a natural birth, in the end it was not to be. (I also had a doula, did hypnobirthing, saw a chiropractor, did aquanatal yoga, and had acupuncture throughout my pregnancy, you can’t say I didn’t try!!)”. JP, Chelmsford