Being pregnant can be incredibly exciting and joyous but there can also be times throughout the pregnancy where you might feel you need some additional support. Fluctuating hormone levels, worries about forthcoming scans, morning sickness, acid indigestion, pelvic or back pain, not to mention the additional strains of working whilst pregnant and/or looking after your other children, are all very good reasons to seek out additional support from complementary health therapies such as Reflexology.
My aim in providing pregnancy reflexology is to help reduce stress and anxiety and pain and discomfort. Having had reflexology throughout my pregnancies, and through treating many many mammas-to-be, I know first hand the benefits it can bring.
One often overlooked benefit of receiving reflexology during pregnancy is that it allows time away from everything else that's going on in your life to focus purely on yourself and your growing baby - so important at any time but particularly during the 9 months when your body is going through so many changes, and when emotionally you may feel euphoric one minute and then teary the next due to pregnancy hormones.
Reflexology in the first trimester weeks 4-12
Reflexology is completely safe to have at all stages of pregnancy. Whether you decide to have reflexology during the first trimester is entirely the choice of each individual. If you are pregnant following a miscarriage, or if you are pregnant following IVF, you may decide you would rather wait to start treatments until the start of the second trimester, when the risk of miscarrying is much much lower and you are feeling less anxious about something going wrong.
Or you may think that having regular reflexology treatments during this time, to help reduce stress and anxiety, would be really beneficial to you. Some of my pregnant clients find that having treatments every two weeks in the first trimester act as useful 'milestones' before the 12 week scan, when time can feel like its going very very slowly!
Reflexes I will focus on:
During this time your body will experience a flood of different hormones, to help strengthen the pelvic walls and to support your baby's growth. Because of the hormonal changes you may feel extremely tired - wanting a nap in the day and falling asleep on the sofa in the early evening - and may or may not experience morning sickness or heartburn.
I will pay particular attention during the treatment to your nervous system and endocrine (hormonal) systems to relax and destress you, and digestive reflexes to help with symptoms of fatigue, morning sickness and and heartburn.
Reflexology in the second trimester weeks 13-27
The second trimester can be a bit of relief after the first trimester, if you've experienced morning sickness up to this point, as the intensity of it usually begin to subside. You may be feeling less anxious about your pregnancy following your 12 week scan. From about 18 weeks you will start to feel the baby move in the womb: from my experience bubbas in the womb LOVE reflexology and are often very active during a treatment!
You may start to experience constipation as the uterus begins to expand, sinus changes due to increased blood circulation, and leg cramps at night.
Reflexes I will focus on:
As well as massaging the nervous and endocrine systems to help relax and destress you, I will spend time on your digestive system and lung, sinus, head and ear reflexes in order to help relieve any symptoms of constipation and sinus congestion.
Reflexology in the third trimester weeks 28-41
The third trimester is a time of rapid growth for your baby, which may gain up to 28g in weight a day. You may find increasingly that you feel back and pelvic pain, and feel breathless sometimes, due to the baby getting bigger inside you, which pushes up into the diaphragm, stretches the ligaments and relaxes your pelvic area. You may also have heartburn, which is caused by hormonal and physical changes to the body. And you may develop odema - swollen ankles and hands- due to the body holding on to excess fluid due to an increase in blood circulation and your growing womb.
Reflexes I will focus on:
I will spend a lot of time on your digestive system to help relieve any symptoms of constipation and heartburn. I will focus on your spine and nervous system reflexes to help with back and pelvic pain. I will also stimulate the lymphatics to help reduce swelling in your hands and feet.
Reflexology when you are 38+ weeks
Many women get to 38/39 weeks and understandably feel so fed up and exhausted that they just want the baby to come out. Reflexology cannot bring on, or cause labour to take place. However, it is still extremely beneficial to have reflexology at this time. The reason being- if you are feeling stressed and anxious your body will go into 'fight or flight' mode, meaning that all the hormones that help your body get ready for labour will be diverted around the body to fight a real or imaginary threat (e.g. a herd of prehistoric rampaging Mammoths).
What reflexology does is get the body back into a state of mind where it feels 'this is a safe time and place to give birth', and helps prepare your mind and body for labour so that you feel in the best physical and mental state going into labour. I have had a number of clients who have given birth a day or so after having a reflexology treatment and this could be due to a number of factors of which reflexology may be one of them.
How often should I have a reflexology treatment?
When you come for your first consultation I will take a medical history and discuss your reason for treatment. Then I will suggest a treatment plan that best meets your individual needs. If your stress and anxiety levels are relatively low I may recommend you come once a month: if your stress and discomfort levels are higher, then coming twice a month would be more beneficial.
Treatments and price list
£75 for the first 75 minute treatment in my Wood Street (E17) therapy room - Consultation includes taking a full medical history, discussing reasons for treatment and a tailored pregnancy reflexology treatment + demonstration of reflex points you can do yourself in between treatments to help with particular symptoms and issues.
£60 for subsequent 1 hour treatments
Home treatments also available - a small additional charge applies (depending on location)- available between 10am-2pm Tuesday-Friday.
"I had a much better amount of boob juice post your reflexology which was brilliant. Thank you so much!" Lynsey, 4th trimester new mum
"I've been meaning to get in touch to say that I went into labour on Sunday morning after our appointment which I'm very sure helped things!" Annie
"I went to see Anna after some local recommendations and being told induction of labour was imminent. Anna was reassuring & brilliant, explaining everything she was going to do and how it was going to prepare my body for labour...I left feeling incredibly relaxed and zen. No doubt, 12 hours late the contractions came on thick and fast and within 24 hours our daughter was here! Amazing!" Jen
"Just wanted to let you know that I gave birth last night! After our appointment I started experiencing contractions and then 12 hours later gave birth!" Nisha
" Baby M came last night:). Labour kicked off about three hours after I left you!" Kate
"My baby was born three days after our session! I had some mild cramps the evening after which then escalated a bit over the next few days. I think our lovely relaxing session helped!" Ali, 39 weeks pregnant
"Today I must say I feel the best I’ve felt the whole pregnancy! Woke up absolutely full of beans, no headache and so much energy I chose to walk 45 mins to work instead of driving! Even by the end of a long day I somehow still have loads of energy?!?! It’s very odd!! If it is the reflexology I officially am in love with you and please can I come every day!" CL
"In terms of my pregnancy symptoms these were alleviated and my mental state is always much improved after a session. I cannot recommend Anna highly enough!" Alex