Pregnancy may be a special experience, but expectant mums are prone to getting swollen ankles and are not immune from stress. More than anyone else, they need to relax. Could reflexology, a non-invasive and completely natural therapy, help? Above all, is it safe and are there any particular considerations to be taken into account?

Received wisdom is that it’s a good idea for mum to consult a doctor before doing anything else. That’s because some believe a treatment could induce labour, given that there are particular points on the feet which can trigger premature labour if pressure is applied. So it may be best for the reflexologist not to stimulate those areas for too long.

However, equally many medics believe reflexology to be completely safe. Some research also insists reflexology can ease pains during labour. It could also help ensure the body is in the best possible condition to handle the rigours of birth ahead of delivery, and it can ease the aches and pains in the joints and back that can arise during pregnancy. It may even help with morning sickness.

However, treatment during the very early, tentative stages of pregnancy, or during the very final stages, may not be advisable. Especially at these times, it’s important to speak to a GP before booking a reflexology appointment, just to be on the safe side.

Once the baby has been born, reflexology can help a new mum to enjoy rapid recovery from the birth and most importantly, sessions can give women who have just had a child some much-needed time out.

Reflexology can even be carried out on babies and very young children, although probably with shorter session times than for adults. It can help ease gastric problems linked with feeding.

Equally, treatments may need to be combined with nursery rhymes or songs to hold a little one’s attention.

At the same time, pressure on the solar plexus point can calm hiccups, while gently stroking the feet is also a great way of calming the inevitable baby tears.

As ever, the key for successful sessions, during pregnancy and beyond, is good communication between the practitioner and patient.

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