It is known that these therapies increase the release of endorphins and serotonin – our natural pain-killing and wellbeing hormones. Many women report improvements in their health and general wellbeing and well-known leaders in fertility and maternity care such as Dr Gowri Motha and Dr Michael Dooley advocate regular complementary therapy treatments during this special time.
Contrary to what many people believe, enjoying massage and reflexology during pregnancy is so much more than just a pampering treat. Working with you and your baby during this special time provides the following benefits:
• A complement to your medical care to support the physical changes you experience using appropriate bodywork techniques.
• Enhancing your connection with baby and your changing body and emotions. This benefits both you and baby.
• An opportunity to voice your concerns and benefit from a listening ear and supportive, nurturing environment.
• Continuity of care if you have been having pre-conception support treatments and this can continue postnatally.
• A chance to learn self-care breathing and relaxation techniques.
• A chance to learn positions and stretches to encourage optimal foetal positioning and to support the physical changes of pregnancy.
• Relaxation to help support you physically and emotionally, which will also have a direct impact on the relaxation hormones delivered to the baby.
Massage and reflexology aim to optimise the physical and emotional health of pregnant women and can be used throughout pregnancy. Treatments can be used for general wellbeing or to address other health issues such as sleeping difficulties as they arise.
Two recent studies have shown that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour (1), reduced the length of the first stage of labour (1) and improved quality of sleep in post-natal women (2).