REFLEXOLOGY AND PREGNANCY
IS REFLEXOLOGY SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?
Generally the answer to this is yes. I often treat clients before they become pregnant and most of them choose to continue with sessions as soon as they have conceived. Some people are under the misconception that reflexology can be harmful during the early stages of pregnancy in case it causes a miscarriage. This is not the case. A miscarriage is generally a sign that there has been a problem with the baby's development or the mother's health and cannot be caused by a reflexology treatment.
Early pregnancy can be stressful, especially if the client has taken a long time to conceive, so gentle treatments for relaxation can be a wonderful help to reduce anxiety during this time. However if there is any doubt whatsoever by either the client or the therapist that reflexology is not appropriate during this time then treatments should be postponed.
Regular reflexology can be used for general well being throughout the whole of the pregnancy and often shorter, more frequent sessions are undertaken as the due date approaches. I particularly welcome clients who might like a short course during the final stages of pregnancy.
CAN REFLEXOLOGY HELP ME TO BECOME PREGNANT?
Reflexology is a popular choice of complementary therapy to have during the preconceptual period and some clients who have had difficulty in conceiving find that after a course of regular sessions they become pregnant. This is often seen in cases where there is no obvious cause to low fertility.
Most women will have experienced a delayed or missed period during times of stress which would indicate that stress can have quite a serious impact on hormonal balance. Therefore the relaxation effects of reflexology may well go some way to improving a client's chances of conceiving. Clients often report they notice less period pain, less pms and a more regular menstrual cycle with weekly or fortnightly treatments.
I use specific reflexology techniques which vary according to the week of the menstrual cycle. I may suggest the client to chart her temperature as often over time the positive effects of reflexology are reflected in positive changes on the chart which may indicate improved fertility but this is entirely optional.
It is important that a client doesn't see reflexology purely as a treatment for getting pregnant but it is definitely worth considering if you are feeling stressed or not quite as 'balanced' as you would like. Lifestyle issues and the husbands/partners health will also be discussed and advice given as necessary.
CAN I HAVE REFLEXOLOGY DURING IVF TREATMENT?
There is no medical reason why reflexology cannot be continued during assisted fertility treatments. Undergoing IVF can be a very stressful experience for couples so a natural way of relaxing can only be beneficial during this time. In fact some fertility centres actively encourage reflexology for this purpose. I follow the Association of Reflexologists guidelines regarding offering treatments during clomid treatment/ IVF/IUI/ICSI and use the techniques i have been taught by Barbara Scott of the Association of Reproductive Reflexologists which involve different sequences for safety at each stage of the treatment.
WILL REFLEXOLOGY INDUCE LABOUR?
Reflexology cannot really 'bring on' labour although I see many women who choose to have reflexology close to and after their due date. It is important that the mother to be is both physically and emotionally as relaxed as possible prior to delivery and reflexology can go a long way in helping to achieve this.
This relaxed state of mind and body provides ideal conditions for hormonal balance. If the timing is right then this hormonal balance may include an increase of oxytonin, the hormone which triggers labour.
In my experience just over half of clients who are ready to give birth will go into labour spontaneously within twenty four hours of a treatment but reflexology will only encourage the birthing process if both mother and baby are ready.
I also offer relaxation and guided visualisation sessions which clients may choose to have with their reflexology during the preconceptual period, during pregnancy or whilst undergoing IVF. Some of my clients who are trying for a baby also benefit from acupuncture. I am happy to recommend Mandy Laing (@02) who has a special interest in fertility issues and works from Cheshire Natural Health clinic in Warrington.