Are you trying to induce labour naturally? Learn how reflexology may help! Check our reflexology map and learn the best labour induction pressure points on the feet!
HOW TO KICK START LABOUR NATURALLY AT 38 WEEKS
Many pregnant women, especially when they're around 38 weeks, often start to wonder how to kick start natural labour. I often receive emails from pregnant ladies asking whether Reflexology can really induce labour, or if it is just a myth. Of course, every woman is different and there are no guarantees, but in my experience, as a maternity reflexologist, I can testify that stimulating certain pressure points on the feet can often induce labour naturally! Some of my maternity clients have been able to avoid a medical induction of labour, especially when receiving reflexology treatments on a regular basis.
The last few days of pregnancy can be really uncomfortable, and if you’re overdue, you may be trying every trick to induce labour naturally. Reflexology treatment for labour induction will try to stimulate the several conditions occurring during this process and help the mum-to-be to better administrate her energies towards this task.
WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY?
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that stimulating specific points on the feet, hands and face encourages nerve signals to travel to the brain. These then relay the signal to the corresponding area of the body, including the major organs, which helps to stimulate the blood flow to that area, enhancing both the healing process and removal of toxins.
WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY FOR LABOUR INDUCTION?
Reflexology for labour induction is a specialised form of reflexology which focus on promoting blood flow to the uterus, stimulating the production of Oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions during labour. For the best results, we suggest starting receiving this type of treatment from week 38 of pregnancy on a weekly basis.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REFLEXOLOGY FOR LABOUR INDUCTION?
Reflexology for labour induction aims to help women giving birth by preparing the body for childbirth, help promote uterine contractions and encourage natural labour.
In addition, Reflexology has is extremely calming and relaxation is key when you are preparing for childbirth. Research into the progression of labour has shown that stress can not only impede a steady delivery but also increase pain. Reflexology for labour induction is a safe and incredibly relaxing treatment, both for mums-to-be and their babies, which is another good reason to choose it!
CAN REFLEXOLOGY HELP TO REDUCE LABOUR PAIN?
Reflexology can be also performed during active labour. I usually teach few acupressure points to the partner in the later stages of pregnancy so that he/she can assist the mum-to-be during the labour, helping her to keep calm and ease a little bit of pain.
There are few studies, which have shown that women receiving regular Reflexology treatments during pregnancy tend to deliver closer to term, have shorter labours and are less likely to require medical intervention.
In this trial, researchers reported that "Application of reflexology technique decreased pain intensity, at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after intervention and duration of labour as well as anxiety level significantly. Furthermore, a significant difference was observed between two groups in terms of the frequency distribution of the type of labour and Apgar score."
Another study at Walsall Manor Hospital Maternity Department found that, overall, the length of the labour was shorter for the reflexology group, than of those in the control group of women who had not had reflexology. The research also discovered that women who had received reflexology went into labour sooner and needed less pain relief than those without reflexology.
Even though research is still limited and needs to be implemented.
WHAT ARE THE 7 MOST EFFECTIVE PRESSURE POINTS ON THE FEET TO INDUCE LABOUR NATURALLY?
The pressure points on the feet that are thought to be the most effective to induce labour naturally are listed below. These reflex pressure points are the same on both feet and you can use your thumbs or fingers to massage the areas.
Be reassured that it is likely that the baby will move a lot during the treatment, this is very common and totally normal.
To locate the pressure points, please refer to the Reflexology map below.
Labour induction pressure point No. 1: PITUITARY GLAND
This is located at the centre of the big toe pads. This point is particularly important as the pituitary gland is responsible for the release of oxytocin, the hormone that induces labour.
How to stimulate it: Push firmly into the centre of the big toe and make circles with your thumb or the knuckle of the index finger.
Labour induction pressure point No. 2: THYROID
The thyroid reflex is located just below the big toe. It helps to regulate energy levels both during and after birth.
How to stimulate it: Walk your thumb from the ball of the foot toward the base of the big toes, making very big circles.
Labour induction pressure point No. 3: ADRENAL GLANDS
To find this point, follow a line straight underneath the ball of your big toe. The point is located towards the medial side of your foot), halfway between the ball of your big toe and the highest point of your arch.
It is important to stimulate the adrenals in order to combat stress and assist the cervix to dilate for natural labour. Adrenals' secretions give the body energy, endurance, immune system strength and the ability to manage stress.
How to stimulate it: Push in and out gently with your thumb
Labour induction pressure point No. 4&5: OVARIES & UTERUS
These are located on the sides of the heel (medial and lateral aspect of each foot) and are both really important to prepare for labour.
How to stimulate it: You can use very firm pressure on these points, but be aware that they will be quite sensitive. Use your thumbs or knuckles and make circles in a clockwise direction.
Extra tip: You can also hold the pituitary and uterus together while taking deep breathes.
Labour induction pressure point No. 6&7: CERVICAL 1 & LUMBAR 3
The Cervical 1 reflex represents the nerve root to the pituitary gland while Lumbar 3 is the nerve root to the uterus. That’s why it is important to stimulate these as they may cause the uterus to contract and help with free-flowing messages to the uterus. Cervical 1 is located along the medial aspect of the bone of the big toe, while Lumbar 3 is located in a small dip next to the medial aspect of the inner ankle.
How to stimulate it: Press firmly with your thumb and make large circles
Don’t worry if you don't find these points at first, as it may take quite a few tentatives. Most of these points will feel sensitive and this may be a sign you’re on the right spot.
HOW MANY REFLEXOLOGY TREATMENT FOR LABOUR INDUCTION WILL I NEED?
Every woman is different so this may vary greatly. If you have been having reflexology all the way through your pregnancy, the process of inducing labour might be easier. If you have not received regular reflexology, we suggest you start having this type of treatment from week 37/38 of pregnancy on a weekly basis. If you are already overdue and are scheduled for a medical induction, we would recommend receiving this as much as you can afford, and ideally, combine it with an acupuncture session.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES TO INDUCE A NATURAL LABOUR?
Come to our clinic and try our Pregnancy massage for Labour Induction! We offer a bespoke prenatal treatment that blends Shiatsu and Feet Reflexology, which both are based on the theory that specific acupressure points are connected to certain organs and body systems.
Through the gentle application of pressure to these acupressure points, we aim to help women giving birth by preparing the body for childbirth, help promote uterine contractions and encourage natural labour.
With over 5 years of experience, Monica has been working with pregnant ladies from the first trimester through to birth to enhance the health and wellbeing of mother and baby.
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We look forward to hearing your thoughts about this article! Please share your experience and whether reflexology has helped you to induce labour at home and avoid medical induction!