Long walks, spicy curries and bouncing on a pilates ball, raspberry leaf tea, we have all heard the old wives’ tales for triggering an overdue labour.

There is another alternative, and an altogether more relaxing way to bring on labour. It has been discovered that more women go into labour sooner and needing less pain relief than those without reflexology, which involves applying pressure to various points on the hands and feet through specific thumb and finger techniques.

A research was conducted by a team led by supervisor of midwives Lin Gostling and is set to been the first of its kind published since 1989, opening the door for more funding to carry out more extensive research on the subject.

The results of their study show that, overall, the length of the first stage of labour was four hours shorter than of those in the control group of women who had not had reflexology and that the second stage of labour, when the woman starts to push, was 21 minutes shorter.

They also found that fewer women in the reflexology group needed strong pain relief during labour.

A mother’s view on reflexology to assist labour and relaxation 5-10 days before due date:

Had you ever tried reflexology before and how different was reflexology for assisting labour induction?

Sophie: Yes I have had reflexology before but this was much more intense and deeply relaxing at the same time as it relieved a lot of tension but at the same time there were parts that were quite painful.

How many sessions did you have?

S: Previously I have had 5 or 6 sessions but this time I only had time for one before the baby was born

How did you feel after the session?

S: I felt much more relaxed after the session, I slept much better from then on and my stress and tension were gone.  I did have lots of Braxton Hicks but no contractions.

Would you recommend reflexology to moms who are Pre and postnatal?

S: I would highly recommend reflexology for pre and postnatal mums as it really helps you to relax and unwind and relieves a lot of tension.

I recommend at least 5 sessions 2 weeks before the due date to assist with labour induction. Some mothers will go into labour the next day and others will not, but both mother and baby will be more relaxed after a session and sleep well.

NB: Always consult your practitioner before having a session.

Keah Lan, Reflexologist

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