Why you should have a reflexologist at your birth
Reflexology offers many benefits during birth. Reflexology is deeply relaxing, has been shown to promote labour progress, shorten labour and offer pain relief during labour. One of my most significant memories as a maternity reflexologist at a birth was when one of my clients found out shortly after arriving at the hospital for a scheduled induction that her admission blood work showed that she had HELLP, a serious health condition that can occur in pregnancy. Because HELLP caused her blood platelets to be low she was informed that it would not be safe to have an epidural. It was not her plan to have an epidural but being told that it was no longer an option was a really emotional experience. The induction proceeded and I applied reflexology techniques during every contraction to promote relaxation and reduce pain sensations. She had a successful, uneventful, vaginal birth without pain medications. Hospital staff were quite impressed by her ability to cope throughout her induction.
Some clients have used reflexology as a useful natural tool to induce or augment labour in some situations such as when membranes are ruptured or during prolonged early labour. I have been called more than once when clients are running out of options to get labour started after broken water. Reflexology combined with some specific movements and positions almost always does the trick even when other natural methods have not been successful.
Reflexology has been found to be beneficial to help labouring people get rest and sleep during long labours, it is enjoyable even when clients have an epidural. I have used a specific deeply relaxing technique to put clients into a sleep state in between contractions with reflexology support during the contractions to keep them relaxed and help with coping. After two or three hours of sleep like this, clients are recharged and ready for more upright and active labour often with significant progress of dilation.
Reflexology is grounding and can help clients postpone the use of epidural anesthesia. Delayed administration of the epidural can often mean a reduced risk of a need for synthetic oxytocin and other interventions. Even when clients have an epidural they can enjoy reflexology. Especially when clients were hoping for a natural unmedicated birth, reflexology can help with the emotional disappointment by offering them some element of what they had originally envisioned for themselves.