How Reflexology Helps During Pregnancy

Today I finally meet Frederick James.   What a privilege to hold this sweet sleeping soul.  The privilege actually began weeks ago when I was invited to Amy and Mark’s home to do reflexology for Amy who was eight months pregnant. Amy and Mark are here from England where reflexology is a part of the national health services. 

As a reflexologist, I have additional training working with expectant mothers.  If you are pregnant or know someone who is, it's great to know the benefits of foot reflexology.  So I thought I’d outline pregnancy month by month and how reflexology supports both mothers-to-be and developing babies.   For additional information, read
Gentle Birth Method by Dr. Gowri Matha. Available through 

First Trimester of Pregnancy-first three months or to the end of the twelfth week

During this time period while the fetus is firmly implanting, all reflexology techniques must be done very gently.  If there is severe nausea and vomiting, it is good to sooth the digestive system and the endocrine system, especially the ovarian hormones.  A reflexology session during this time period would include the whole foot, of course, and the holding of the heels but no palpation in the uterus reflex area.  The uterus reflex is located on the inside of the foot in the area between the heel and ankle. 

Second Trimester –fourth, fifth and sixth months or from weeks 13-27

This is where the most reflexology work can be done to support the natural development of fetus and mom-to-be.  Feet are reflexed for deep relaxation and balancing.  And specific reflex areas on the mother’s foot are palpated to support changes in her body and in the fetus.

Fourth Month…during weeks 13, 14, 15, 16, 17:

Dr. Matha suggests stimulation of the thyroid, pancreas and adrenal reflexes during this time period.  Her comment is that the thyroid slows during pregnancy and the pancreas needs the additional stimulation to keep the digestive system moving. Reflexologists also palpate on the kidney and adrenal reflex areas and especially on the lymphatic reflexes around the ankle and on the top of the feet to prevent edema from ever developing.  Around the end of the fourth month, the esophagus reflex is also boosted to help prevent esophagus reflex discomfort.

Fifth Month…during weeks 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Because the baby is now growing bigger, there is more pressure on the spine and so now reflexology emphasis is placed on the spine reflex and the sciatic reflex.  The spine reflex is located along the arch of the foot; the sciatic reflex is located in on the bottom of the heels and around outside ankles.   

Sixth Month…during weeks 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

Reflexology again focuses on the thyroid and pancreatic reflex areas.  It is important, says Dr. Matha to improve the blood supply to the whole of the pancreas which has been shown to prevent or correct gestational diabetes.  Also emphasis is placed on the intestines reflex area to keep the gut clear and reduce bloating and gas.

Third Trimester -seventh, eighth and ninth month or from weeks 32 to 40

Ideally reflexology sessions happen once a week now to help the mom-to-be keep up with the hormonal changes and help prepare her for birthing.  With more relaxation techniques, balancing and gentle stretches especially in the pelvic area, and reflexololgy lymphatic techniques.

Seventh Month…during weeks 28, 29, 30, 31:

Reflexologists provide all-around stimulations for all the systems with emphasis again on the lymphatic system to keep the swelling down, and the sciatic reflex area around ankles for mobility.  Attention can also be paid to the heart reflex for improved circulation, the intestine reflex to prevent constipation, pancreatic reflex to help with digestion and to balance blood sugar and the kidney and bladder reflex to assist in elimination.

Eighth Month…during weeks 32, 33, 34, 35, 36

Reflexology for deep relaxation during this time period is called for.  Special emphasis on the diagram reflex helps open more breathing space for the mom.  If there is abdominal bloating, work on the pancreatic reflex and small intestine reflex helps keep the gut clear.  Work can also be done on the heart reflex to increase circulation.  And increased work done on the lumbar spinal reflex takes the pressure off the lower back area.

Ninth Month…during weeks 27, 28, 29, 40

In these last weeks of pregnancy, it is suggested that  weekly sessions occur for general relaxation and that tender areas be boosted for more energy and balance.  The most important area this month to is the lymphatic reflex to eliminate swelling.  From Dr. Matha’s book, comes this advice:
 “There is nothing like a deep all-round reflexology treatment at 40 weeks to stimulate all the energy lines within the body and give the mother a sense of well-being.  I have observed that reflexology at 40 weeks seems to "still" the mother's energy for awhile and then gives her the spurt of energy that is so important and necessary in labour.”

 If you have any questions or comments, please contact me,  Nancie Hines, Portland, 503-867-2778.

Nancie Hines, MA

OR LMT 18833

Oregon Reflexology Network
National Certified Reflexologist

(1 of 2 Nationally Certified in Portland)

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