Massaging away those aches and pains
Many mums wonder how safe it is to have alternative therapy or use complementary medicine during pregnancy, be they treatments such as reflexology and massage, or taking herbal supplements.
At a glance
- Avoid any unnecessary medicines or treatments during pregnancy
- Reflexology or massage can help tired and achy feet
- Massage should not be carried out on your tummy in the first trimester
The general advice is that you should avoid any unnecessary medicines or treatments when you’re pregnant simply because there is just not enough research into the effects they can have on your baby.
There are some therapies which are safe under certain conditions though, and that can be lovely and relaxing for a mum-to-be, just as long as they are carried out by a qualified practitioner.
Reflexology & Massage
If you are feeling stressed, or tired out, or if you have a specific pregnancy-related ailment like an aching back or puffy ankles, a reflexology or massage session can be a fab treat, as long as sensible precautions are taken. Ensure your practitioner is aware you are pregnant and aware of any issues with your pregnancy and general health. Some mums even turn to alternative or complementary therapies to help bring on labour.
It's worth remembering though that some essentials oils which are routinely used in reflexology and massage are not suitable for use in pregnancy, and that massage itself should not be carried out on your tummy in the first trimester.
With that in mind, do your research if you are planning to try complementary, alternative or holistic therapy (they can come under many umbrella terms!). Initially, speak to your midwife or GP to confirm there will be no contraindications for you or your baby, and then check out the credentials of any therapist you have in mind. You need to ensure they are qualified and experienced in working with pregnant women. There are various organisations which can give you a list of registered practitioners for reflexology, acupuncture and aromatherapy.
Do your homework
Once you have done your homework and are satisfied you are in safe hands, enjoy the time out and pampering while you still have the opportunity for a bit of 'me time'. Be careful about the use of essential oils for home treatment during pregnancy, be sure you consult an insured professional with training in their use in pregnancy, and purchase any alternative therapies from such a practitioner. Be wary of buying oils from other sources as their strength and action may differ.
(And don't forget - a shoulder or foot-rub from an obliging partner can be just as relaxing as a pricey trip to a spa or therapist!)