As a reflexologist I get asked this alot!!! The following scenario or something similar is not uncommon for me to experience. I receive a phone call from a stressed out and anxious mom to be who is in the final weeks of pregnancy 39/40 weeks, she has just had a hospital appointment and pressure is put on to book in for induction or to get a sweep by the medical staff to see if “we can move things along”.
Stressed and unsure mom turns to me to see if I can help bring labour on, she heard her friend went into labour the day/night after a reflexology session, She will do anything to avoid medical induction, she heard it’s awful!!! Straight away with this scenario you can sense anxiety, fear, uncertainty, doubt. All the things that can increase mom’s fight or flight response in the body, creating high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which we know inhibits the feel good, oxytocin hormones (these are the hormones needed for labour to start).
So, to answer the question “Can Reflexology induce labour?”. Believe it or not Reflexology CANNOT BRING LABOUR ON!!! Sorry moma, BUT what I can offer mom at this stage is a beautifully relaxing and balancing reflexology treatment in a warm, softly lit treatment room that can encourage mom’s own body and mind to relax, let go of the stress put upon her and give her that all important time and space to just be and breath. I would encourage mom to use her GentleBirth app during a treatment and to listen to tracks like ‘fear release’ ‘birth rehearsal’ ‘confident pregnancy’ or some breathing exercises or positive affirmations, what ever feels good for her.
If the body has high levels of stress hormones, your body is essentially in fight or flight mode and saying don’t go into labour but run somewhere that is safe. Reflexology can be that bridging gap to help you find that calm, nurturing space to encourage the feel good oxytocin hormones to increase and quieten the stress hormones.
As your guess date approaches you may find it more beneficial to have more frequent sessions. Reflexology cannot induce labour, however, the general view is that it will help support the body to prepare for labour and birth and promote relaxation at a time when anxiety levels are often high.
What else can you do to help your body maintain a relaxed, balanced, happy state? The simplest answer is do what feels good for you, what makes you smile? laugh?
Having a baby, whether it is your first or not, will bring lots of wonderful experiences and challenges. Using reflexology as part of your health and self care may just be what you need on this journey towards motherhood. If you are feeling in need of a boost or just some me time, contact me on 087-1917907 to book your appointment.
Anita is a registered reflexologist with the NRRI. You may be able to claim part of your treatment costs from your health insurance. Please check with them for further details.