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The Benefits of Complementary Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and childbirth are both very physically demanding, but they can be emotionally and psychologically stressful as well. It’s important to feel supported throughout this stage of your life, both by family members and the medical professionals you will have closest contact with, such as your midwife, to keep you informed and as relaxed as possible while your body changes. But it can also be beneficial to explore complementary therapies, such as massage, reflexology and aromatherapy, alongside your medical care.

In fact studies have shown that integrating complementary therapies into your antenatal treatment can have enormous benefits during labour, including a significant reduction in the need for epidurals and caesarean sections. Julie Quinn, our Programme Manager for Complementary Health, has worked with a number of pregnant women in providing reflexology services right up to childbirth and has seen first-hand how helpful it can be in making the birth go more smoothly and the contractions less painful.

“I have definitely witnessed a lessened sensation of pain of contractions and often women will say that they are less aware of the contraction as their focus is somehow moved to the treatment of their feet,” she says. “I have also been able to treat baby shortly after birth resulting in a calm and happy baby that is able to make the huge adaptation to life outside the womb.”

Certainly, in my experience, reflexology may help support the body with the changes in order for labour to occur, and often midwives have reported reflexology will speed up the second and third stages of labour.

Julie Quinn, Programme Manager for Complementary Health at Morley College

Julie has had some clients over the years who have contacted her towards the end of their pregnancies, hoping that she might be able to speed things along. “Towards the end of the pregnancy things will often start to get very uncomfortable and once a woman has gone past her due date, things can start to get very tedious with every extra day feeling a week long,” she says. “Certainly, in my experience, reflexology may help support the body with the changes in order for labour to occur, and often midwives have reported reflexology will speed up the second and third stages of labour. But it has also been my experience that if the baby is not ready for moving – the baby will not move.”

One thing that’s certain, though, is that being stressed or agitated during labour will shut the process down until things settle, so while complementary therapies may or may not speed things along, they certainly won’t slow things down!

To learn more about the benefits of massage and reflexology for yourself and your family, as well as finding out about the range of complementary health courses we offer, pay us a visit on our Complementary Health Open Day on Tuesday 11 July! Or alternatively, you can browse our full selection of Autumn Complementary Health courses on our website now.

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