With pregnancy comes major changes within the female body. Whether it be physically, physiologically or psychologically in early pregnancy women may experience anxieties and negative thoughts due to the often discomfort experienced in early pregnancy. These discomforts include symptoms of nausea, fatigue, feelings of vulnerability and anxiety, bloating or stomach cramps as the body prepares to carry the baby.
Throughout pregnancy women may experience other discomforts such as sleep disturbance, imbalances within circulation, digestion or urinary disorders and nervous or musculoskeletal tensions. Aches and pains are common as are muscle cramps in the feet, thighs or legs which is thought caused by the expansion of the uterus putting pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the legs thus causing cramps and occasional pain. Constipation may occur in pregnancy caused by increased production of the hormone progesterone which relaxes the muscles of the intestinal wall and stomach resulting in digestion slowing down and blood volume increasing. Therefore if not enough fluids are consumed to keep up with this process, dehydration occurs – resulting in constipation. Backache is common due to posture and torso being out of alignment in later pregnancy as the baby grows (and becomes heavier) thus putting a strain on the back as the centre of gravity shifts. With any of these discomforting conditions sleep may be strongly effected and insomnia may frequently occur.
After the first trimester, reflexology may be a very effective and beneficial treatment to have throughout pregnancy. With aim to maintain a sense of wellbeing and focus on relaxation, regular reflexology treatments may be incorporated within a healthy pregnancy plan. Treatment is light and gentle with aim to boost energy levels and overcome tiredness. Although each treatment is entirely bespoke to the mothers needs the following are typical reflexes that when “worked” may help during pregnancy.
- Pancreas – normalise blood sugar levels
- Thyroid – maintain energy levels and balance metabolism
- Lymphatic’s – clear any congestion
- Heart – improve circulation
- Sciatic – relax the pelvic muscles ready for birth
- Liver – drain any toxins present in the body
- Spinal – help induce relaxation
- Ovaries – relax and balance hormones
Therefore reflexology treatments may be an effective, safe and enjoyable treatment to have throughout pregnancy to induce a deep sense of relaxation which is paramount in assisting a straightforward labour and birth. In addition a reflexology treatment during pregnancy may:
- Significantly reduce stress (the cause of many physical and psychic dysfunctions.
- Regulate the nervous and hormonal system by relaxing the axis of stress.
- Detect, locate and remove deposits formed by crystals of uric acid and toxins.
- Activate blood and lymphatic circulation.
- Prevent, relieve or possibly eliminate presenting disorders as the body is encouraged to return to homeostasis.
Fiona Cowie – Reflexologist – Edinburgh