A guide to using reflexology in pregnancy

After the excitement of discovering that you’re pregnant, you’ll start to think about creating a healthy programme for yourself throughout your pregnancy.

You may feel slightly daunted by what lies ahead and this coupled with a cocktail of pregnancy hormones coursing through your bloodstream could steer you towards an emotional roller coaster. Bringing a baby into the world will be one of the most eventful times in your life. Sometimes it may be unpredictable and leave you feeling somewhat overwhelmed.
Pregnancy will be much more enjoyable if you feel confident and in control of the situation. Reflexology may be able to help you achieve birthing at the optimum gestation of 40 weeks by having regular treatments. Reflexology is a method of activating the healing powers of the body through manipulation of the feet. It is a very safe, effective and enjoyable treatment to have throughout pregnancy, but should be performed by a therapist experienced in Maternity Reflexology.

Many of the problems relating to pregnancy may be assisted through regular Reflexology treatments. Throughout your pregnancy a Reflexology treatment will focus on relaxation, which is paramount in assisting a straightforward labour and birth.

I have selected random weeks throughout pregnancy to demonstrate how I work.

Week 7

The embryo takes shape. Length from head to bottom in sitting position (crown rump length CRL) is 5-10 mms. The tiny body is transparent and the head and the spinal vertebrae can be distinguished. There are also the beginnings of a tiny hand. Facial features can be identified including the mouth and tongue. The
circulatory system is forming and the rudimentary heart begins to take shape.

Reflexology may be able to help at this stage if there is nausea and vomiting. Working on the ovary reflex may help to balance the ovarian hormones.

Treatment is light and gentle and the uterine reflex is avoided.

Week 9

CRL approximately 12 mms. The head is still huge in relation to the rest of the body. Many of the organs have begun to function. The embryo has also begun to move. Arms and legs have developed further.

A gentle Reflexology is recommended avoiding the uterine area and workingover the spinal reflex may help to induce relaxation.

Week 10

CRL approximately 25 mms. Weight 10-15 g. The embryo becomes a foetus. The heart has been beating for a month. Theorgans are in place, but immature in coordinating functions. The toes are beginning to take shape. The brain cells increase rapidly. The heart is almost completely developed and the circulatory system fully formed. Tiny teeth budsappear in the gums and facial features are apparent.

Light Reflexology is recommended to boost energy levels and overcome tiredness.

Week 12

Baby is now the size of a mans fist. The brain is fully formed and the baby can now feel pain. Thumb sucking can now be observed. Eyelids remain shut over the eye. Usually an ultrasound scan is performed in week 12.

Reflexology treatment is similar to week 10.

Week 13

Baby is now the size of a honeydew melon. You are now entering the 2nd trimester. The baby’s pancreas is differentiating and continues to develop until week 20. It is advisable to keep your carbohydrate intake low between weeks 13-20 to avoid the baby putting on too
much weight in early pregnancy.

Reflexology is performed for relaxation, focusing on digestive points such as the oesophageal reflex point (to relax), liver reflex point to drain and the pancreaticreflex point for stimulation.

Week 14

The baby’s thyroid gland is fully developed at 14 weeks. Cartilage is being transformed to bone.

Reflexology is given for relaxation with emphasis on the thyroid gland to maintain energy levels and balance the metabolism.

Week 15

Baby’s growth of the adrenal glands is completed.

Lymphatic areas relating to thoracic and pelvic areas are worked on in Reflexology to clear congestion. I also do a lymphatic drainage treatment on the feet which may help oedema developing.

Week 16

Baby is now approximately 14 cms long and weighs 170g. Facial features become more defined and fine hair on the eyelashes and eyebrows begins to grow. The baby’s sexual identity is becoming apparent. The baby is now very active.

Light Reflexology for general relaxation. Any specific complaint such as constipation should have the specific reflex worked on. Work over the
oesophageal reflex may help to tone the gastro-oesophageal sphincter, which may help to prevent reflux.

Week 18

Baby is now 15 cms long . It begins to grasp with its fingers. More fine hair grows on the head.

Full Reflexology treatment focussing on the sciatic area. This may help to easethe nerve that travels through the buttock and help to relax the pelvic musclesfor birth.

Week 20

Baby is now 30 cms long and weighs 450g. The baby can hear and recognize your voice. Little fingers have fingernails and fingerprints appear. Generally another ultrasound scan is performed in week 20 and the baby’s sex can be determined.

A general Reflexology treatment with emphasis on the pelvic lymphatics to decongest. As the baby grows bigger and sits heavily on the pelvic floor, thismay help to create a feeling of lightness in your pelvis.

Week 24

Fine hair called laguno covers the whole body. A waxy substance called vermix protects the skin. A small amount of amniotic fluid enters the lung. The baby practices breathing using the ribs and diaphragm.

Reflexology should focus on the thyroid and pancreatic reflexes, which may help in preventing gestational diabetes.

Week 26

Baby’s length is approximately 32 cms and weighs 800-925g. The brain develops rapidly. The foetus will sleep for longer periods of time. The eyes are now open.

Reflexology is concentrated on the pancreas, intestine and thyroid areas.

Week 28

You are now entering the 3rd trimester. The baby is now viable. It’s lungs start to secrete a protein which helps it to open its lungs with the first breath.

Reflexology is performed to stimulate all the systems focussing on the pancreas and sciatic areas and including the sacro-iliac areas around the ankle. Lymphatic drainage of the foot should also be performed.

Week 30

Baby starts to yawn.

Reflexology is concentrated on the pelvic, thoracic and abdominal lymphatics. Work should be performed over the gut, which may help to clear pathways of the sacral nerve plexus, which transmits messages to the cervix during labour. It is advisable to have more frequent Reflexology sessions after week 30, usually every other week.

Week 32

Reflexology should focus on the heart to improve circulation and the pelvic and sacral reflexes to relax the pelvic muscles.

Weeks 33-40

From week 32 the lower segment of the uterus becomes thinner and stretches easily and begins to grow. The baby’s position stabilizes in the womb and the head begins to drop into the lower part of the uterus. The cervix begins to thin out.

Reflexology treatments now concentrate on the pelvic and sacral areas to relax and create as much room as possible in the pelvis. The pancreas is worked over to normalize blood sugar levels and the heart reflex is worked on to accommodate the increased load on the mother’s heart. The reproductive area is worked on to relax, tone and balance the hormones.

Lymphatic drainage is performed to keep ankle swelling at bay.
Should there be a breech presentation, it is advisable to attempt turning the baby before week 36.

I recommend weekly treatments from week 36.

Week 39

Reflexology should focus on the pituitary gland, the pelvic lymphatics, the uterus, kidneys and adrenal glands.

Week 40+

Should the baby become overdue and an induction is indicated, Reflexology may be able to assist in bringing on labour. Acupuncture and Acupressure points may also be incorporated into this treatment.

Reflexology may be a pleasant way to relax and maintain well-being throughout your pregnancy.

I am at Luck’s Yard on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. I offer packages at discounted prices if you wish to have regular treatments throughout your pregnancy.

Just call Luck’s Yard Reception on 01483 527845 who will be happy to help you with any information you require.

2012-09-19T10:29:31+00:00