No one says that pregnancy is an easy ride and there is nothing that zaps the elation of an impending baby quite like morning sickness when only a dry oatcake is palatable. Fizzy water, mint tea, ginger, Vitamin B6 and some homeopathic remedies can help but Complementary Therapies are known to provide longer-term relief not just for morning sickness. Some therapies can help ease back ache, fluid retention, swelling, insomnia and some can help with induction when you get that far. These types of treatments are not to be used as a replacement to any medical care but as a ‘complement’. As with all things pregnancy, you should speak to your GP before beginning treatments and make sure your therapist is fully trained to treat pregnant women.
My first experience of alternative therapies was in the gentle hands of Lulu Winfield, yoga teacher, doula and reflexologist. Just by being in the same room as her I felt secure and relaxed. The treatment focuses on getting energy flowing freely around your body by applying gentle pressure to reflex points on your feet, which amazingly correspond to various parts of the body. Reflexology is one of the most relaxing complementary therapies you can choose and gives you that window of ‘me time’ that you deserve and you only have to take your shoes and socks off!
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique, which might not initially enthuse you due to the needles involved but it can be incredibly effective. Fertility guru Emma Cannon aims to cultivate and support wellness especially in early pregnancy and she uses acupuncture to “improve blood flow and establish a strong pregnancy”. It is a therapy popular with women who have been through IVF or had previous miscarriages. “The support in the first trimester is vital,” says Emma. Acupuncture can also be highly effective in the lead up to birth. Some clinics use acupuncture to help women build up energy levels and aid sleep as well as, when you pass your due date, to relax the body and bring on labour.
Osteopathy and pregnancy massage
Osteopathy is another wonderful relaxing and balancing wellness treatment. There are a few varying methods but essentially it looks at how the bones and muscles all connect, treating the root of the problem rather than the consequences. You might feel that an aching back is part of the course in pregnancy but don’t sit back and bear it as most back pain can be successfully treated.
and relax ...
Pregnancy massage is a wonderful treatment, hydrating your skin, improving sleep and enhancing relaxation giving you a chance to connect with your baby. The specialist massage will focus on your back, shoulders and limbs, using safe oils all whilst lying on your side. Some salons offer a specifically designed massage table but I found this put too much pressure on my lower back so stick to your side and ask for cushions to make sure your are completely comfortable before your treatment starts. Relaxation is a key component in pregnancy and vital to your general wellness, creating a positive environment for your baby to grow; Bach flower remedies are thought to balance emotions and can be great to keep you on top of stress or anxiety; Rescue Remedy is very popular and good to have in your bag.
As your pregnancy progresses, ‘you time’ becomes rare so set some time aside to look after yourself a little more than usual and book yourself some relaxing treatments. Pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of being a new mum might well take it out of you but if you are fit and well and have energy in reserve this will make labour, your new role in life and your ability to recover just that bit easier. Above all, keep active, enjoy your pregnancy, look after yourself and look forward to meeting what you’ve created.