Reflexology and Pregnancy

Reflexology reduces stress and tension. It is harmless and it enables you to enjoy optimum health. It is highly recommended for pregnant women - as their bodies are undergoing changes that can be challenging and produce stress. Frequently, symptoms of this stress such as backache and morning sickness can be reduced by reflexology.

However, there are some misunderstandings about the effects of reflexology on pregnancy - that reflexology can be dangerous or even cause a miscarriage. Miscarriages occur alot more frequently within the first trimester or 12 weeks of pregnancy - often a miscarriage is interpreted as a late menstrual period, or, a heavy menstrual flow. Mother Nature determines whether or not a miscarriage will happen. Reflexology assists Mother Nature to keep the body and mind healthy but does not have the ability to change her mind! Reflexology will not cause a miscarriage and is not dangerous to a healthy pregnancy.

Health professionals (massage therapists, physiotherapists, shiatsu practitioners, chiropractors, etc.) are aware of the likelihood of a miscarriage during the first trimester and many have a policy to refuse to provide service to a woman during this period - for fear of being accused of causing a miscarriage. This is the prerogative of the health professional and should be respected. Another health professional may have a different policy.

If a pregnant woman is aware of any of the following symptoms: increased blood pressure, water retention, headaches, abdominal or upper abdominal pain, pain/swelling/heat/redness in the calf, breathlessness, bladder or urinary tract infection, vaginal bleeding, and/or a change in the fetal movements/no fetal movements she should immediately present these to her attending midwife, obstretician, physician or other licensed health care provider*. In such cases, a reflexology practitioner should not provide reflexology treatment until the licensed health care provider provides guidance with regard to the provision of reflexology.

Again, for the majority of women who have a healthy pregnancy reflexology is recommended as beneficial for both mother and developing child.

* Reference

Elsa Reid and Susanne Enzer (1997) Maternity Reflexology: A Guide for Reflexologists. Published by Born to be Free and Soul to Sole Reflexology.

Gill Thomson RM RN/Reflexologist MAR VTCT (2012) Pregnancy Red Flag Check List.