Many woman would prefer to have less chemical or forced intervention when their baby is overdue and shows no sign of coming on their own. Reflexology can help in this area of pregnancy as well. If you’ve had reflexology regularly for a few months before your due date, beside helping to ensure your body is in the prefect condition to give birth, there are specific points that a properly trained reflexologist will be able to use to help induction of the baby. These are traditional Chinese Medicine meridian points, which can stimulate Uterine contractions. Along with the more usual reflexology movements baby could be on it’s way within 24 hours.
In a pilot study carried out at Walsall’s Manor Hospital a team made up of consultant obstetrician Sushma Sharma, midwives and reflexologists, has found a more successful and scientific method after conducting a study into 100 overdue women. the mums-to-be were offered free reflexology treatment on their feet during the final stages of their pregnancy, while others did without.
And the results have shown that overall, the length of the first stage of labour was four hours shorter and the second stage – when the woman starts to push – was 21 minutes shorter, than of those women who had not received the reflexology treatment.
Lin Gostling, matron for community midwifery and antenatal outpatients at the Manor Hospital, says ‘The purpose was to see if you can use reflexology to induce women because they are already overdue.
“We decided on 40 weeks because NICE guidelines say you offer a membrane sweep at 40 weeks, and because a full-term pregnancy is from 37 weeks to 42.”
Lin explained: “We were looking at the duration of the labour, analgesics used, delivery outcomes, and patient satisfaction.
“We were surprised with the outcomes. We knew it was working, but four hours on average off the first stage of labour is quite a lot.
“There was also a significantly lower number of women who had artificial ruptured membranes, which is good. “I am not a reflexologist, but there is something in the massaging and touching of feet that stimulates the uterus. Reflexology in itself is nothing new, but it’s something we are trying to offer in this particular area.”
Sue Hartley, director of nursing and governance at Walsall Manor Hospital, said “The feedback from the research has been very positive and the trial has enabled some women to experience a more holistic approach to giving birth which is, of course, very beneficial to our patients.”