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Is It Safe to Use Reflexology During Pregnancy?

Autumn Rivers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Reflexology is usually considered noninvasive and safe to use during a healthy pregnancy. In fact, it can improve circulation, relieve stress, and help get rid of several negative symptoms. On the other hand, it is not typically meant to be used as a replacement for prenatal care by a health care professional, and it may pose a threat to those with high-risk pregnancies. For example, those with placenta previa, pre-eclampsia, or any vaginal bleeding should typically only take their doctor's advice rather than using alternative medicine. Even those without these conditions are advised to let their health care professional know that they are using reflexology during pregnancy, though most physicians should not have a problem with it.

Despite the fact that reflexology during pregnancy is typically considered safe, most practitioners in this profession do not treat women during the first trimester. This is because miscarriage is most common during this time, and though reflexology is not known for causing the loss of the unborn baby, some careful experts want to avoid the chances of an association between the two. Women who do get treatment during the first trimester, however, usually find that reflexology can reduce their aches and pains. This is because reflexology during pregnancy can alter the surge of hormones that tends to appear in early on, relieving morning sickness and exhaustion.

Issues that occur in the second trimester can also be treated with reflexology during pregnancy. For example, many women notice pain emanating from the pelvis and sciatic nerve, making it difficult to walk or even sit comfortably. It is also often difficult to relax during this time, partly due to the increased weight of the growing fetus, but reflexology may relieve this pain. Additionally, some women develop gestational diabetes during this time, but reflexology during pregnancy may be able to prevent or treat it by balancing the pancreas and thyroid.

The third trimester can usually be improved with reflexology, as well. Specifically, this practice is known for increasing energy levels, improving circulation, and relieving constipation. Of course, it can also help the body prepare for labor by ensuring that the woman is relaxed and as stress-free as possible. In fact, reflexology can help during labor rather than just weeks before, though it is typically only used for women whose due date has passed. Its most common advantages include the ability to induce contractions, shorten the length of labor, and help women avoid the need for pain medications.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By Pippinwhite — On Apr 22, 2014

@Grivusangel -- It works for some people. I have a friend who had reflexology treatments during pregnancy and she said they were wonderful, that she had more energy and it helped with her morning sickness.

I don't know if there's a placebo effect at work, or just the benefits of the woman relaxing, but like you, I don't see how it can possibly hurt the mom or the baby, so if a woman wants to try it, I see no reason to discourage it.

By Grivusangel — On Apr 22, 2014

This is one of those therapies that I'd certainly try if I were pregnant. It cannot harm the mother or baby, and if it relieves some problematic symptoms, bonus plan. If nothing else, the mother receives a great foot massage, which is never a bad thing.

I don't know if it works, but since medications are so limited for pregnant women, I'd say it's absolutely worth trying.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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