People often use reflexology to rid the body of pain and stress by applying pressure to specific points on the hands and feet. It is a complementary therapy that is built on the belief that different areas of the body are aligned with specific areas on the feet. In a similar way to a massage, reflexology can provide relief from stress or discomfort. Reflexology can even have a role in the induction of labour. During the treatment the therapist uses pressure, stretch and movement to work through the whole foot. The therapist should take care to work within your comfort zone and reflexology should not be painful. The treatment begins with a relaxing foot massage. Reflexology does not tickle as it is a firm pressure to the feet. During the treatment you may feel different sensations in your feet and body, it may feel like a tingle or you may feel a slight pins and needles sensation. Sensitivity varies from person to person and from treatment to treatment. A reflexology session lasts up to one hour and should include a consultation and time to discuss the treatment afterwards. Maternity reflexology is tailored specifically to the women and babies needs during pregnancy.
Induction of labour.
For most women labour begins naturally. Labour is "induced" when it is started artificially. Induction will be arranged when pregnancy has gone beyond 41 weeks and is considered overdue. Induction is usually offered sometime between 41 and 42 weeks to prevent your pregnancy continuing beyond this time. There are a number of methods used by midwives and doctors to induce labour. The midwife may perform a membrane sweep to stimulate labour. If this method does not work then drug treatment is usually then next step. Chemical induction is performed in the hospital and the woman and baby need to be closely monitored during the process. Many women are very anxious not to have a chemical induction of labour and look for ways to help encourage their labour to start. Maternity reflexology is a popular choice.
The role of Maternity Reflexology in induction.
Reflexology has been used to help induce labour and even reduce pain during childbirth. In fact, more and more midwives are beginning to learn this specialized type of foot massage. Maternity reflexology is being used in delivery rooms around the world to ease their patients' discomfort and encourage labour. High stress levels are not conducive to starting labour and little is more relaxing than a foot massage, but reflexology is even more effective because it pinpoints the specific areas that can help move you toward a faster delivery date. The therapist will start with a foot massage then progress to work a number of specific points on the feet and ankles. A reflexologist trained in maternity work will know these special points so it is important to ensure you attend a fully qualified therapist. The points may be tender and many women feel a strong pulling sensation both in the foot and in their uterus. The baby may also become quite active. If a contraction begins the therapist will stop the pressure. When the contraction stops they can apply pressure again. Of course, the therapist will avoid all of these reflexology points until you are past your due date - at least your 41st week. You certainly don't want to rush the baby before its time. It is better to try and have regular treatments during pregnancy rather than wait until your due date. This not only reduces anxiety but it, in my experience, has a good effect on the baby too, in as much as they seem calmer after being born. Regular treatments may also balance the hormones, regulate the digestive system, strengthen muscle and bone with renewed circulation and boost the immune system which is all very important during pregnancy. It is important to understand that if baby is not ready to come, nothing will shift it! It is not a magic cure, but at the very least it can help the body relax, and prepare itself for what is due to happen.
It is important to keep a positive mind in the run up to labour. If you begin to take on negative thoughts about delivering you baby this can raise stress levels and may delay your labour. Try to look forward with enthusiasm and joy to your new baby. In many cases we need to focus less on hurrying the babies and give the mom some love and emotional support. You can discuss fears with the therapist as they will be trained to understand the importance of positive thoughts. They may be able to introduce you to some helpful resources such as relaxation c.ds or positive visualisation techniques.
By choosing complementary therapy such as maternity reflexology to help induce labour women can feel more confident in their ability to deliver their baby. Being aware of options other than medial induction can help women to regain some control over their pregnancy rather than feeling at the mercy of the medical decision makers. Maternity reflexology is not a replacement for medical intervention but may help induce labour for some women.