Stress in relation to fertility

Stress is a complex condition which affects almost all parts of the body in some way. There is also some evidence to suggest that it may affect fertility. Cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress) can cause the release of an inhibiting hormone that reduces the production of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone. Both of these hormones are integral to the egg release and implantation of the embryo after fertilisation. In other words, feeling stressed could be detrimental to the chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.

Stress can be an issue for both sexes, therefore it is equally important that both partners engage in some method of stress reduction – this can include reflexology.

G. M. Buck Louise, K. J. Lum, M.S. Rajeshwari Sundaram, Z. Chen, S. Kim, C.D. Lynch, E. F Schisterman, C. Pyper (2010) Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. In Fertility and Sterility Vol 95


Can you have reflexology while having medical treatment?

There is no evidence to suggest that reflexology interferes with medical treatment. If stress is reduced and wellbeing is increased, medical procedures will feel easier.

How might reflexology support you?

If you are trying to conceive, reflexology can help support you and your partner both physically and emotionally – whether you have just started or have been trying for some time.

If you have been given a clear diagnosis and have been offered treatment you will probably decide you want to take that route. However, if you are told that the infertility is unexplained, this can be very frustrating and gives no clear problem to focus on or a clear way forward. You may still be offered medical treatment, you may however decide that you want to allow the natural route more time. This is a personal decision which is often based on the age of the female partner.

You may find during this time that you and/or your partner would benefit from support at this time, both physically and emotionally. Reflexology aids relaxation and reduces stress which in turn can be beneficial for conception. A reflexology treatment will give you the chance to take time out for yourself in a calming and relaxing environment. I aim to offer support at a time when you do not wish to confide in friends and family.

pregnant woman's belly with fingers heart symbol


Reflexology aims to optimize the physical and emotional health of pregnant women by working on specific reflexes in the feet or hands.  These reflexology points correspond to different parts of the body.  A Reflexologist works holistically (on the whole person) and provides general lifestyle advice and support.

Having Reflexology treatment whilst pregnant will allow you time away from a busy lifestyle and provide a relaxing environment where you can focus on yourself and your growing baby.

Reflexology can be used throughout pregnancy.  A full history will be taken to ensure that it is safe to carry out a treatment.  There is anecdotal evidence from women to suggest they feel they have benefitted from receiving Reflexology throughout pregnancy.  Two recent studies have shown that reflexology in pregnancy significantly reduced pain during labour (1) and improved quality of sleep in post-natal women (2).

First Trimester

Huge changes in hormone levels are taking place during the first trimester, along with concerns and anxiety about the changes that will happen. This can lead to feeling all kinds of emotions such as tearful, exhausted, delighted, joyful and anxious – sometimes all at once!

During treatments I will aim to de-stress, aid relaxation and offer support.

Second and Third Trimester

During the second and third trimester, most of the discomforts of early pregnancy have disappeared. As the baby grows you may experience other physical symptoms. Stress levels can rise as the due date becomes closer.

Reflexology can be used for general wellbeing or can address other health issues as they arise. I will offer support through any worries or concerns that you may have.

Preparation for Labour

As your due date approaches you may find it useful to have treatments more frequently. Although there is no evidence that reflexology can induce labour, the general view is that it helps support the body to prepare for labour and aids relaxation at a time when anxiety levels can be high.

(1) VALIANI M ET AL (2010) Reviewing the effect of Reflexology on pain and outcomes of the labour of primiparous women. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15 (Dec) p 302 – 310
(2) U C-Y ET AL (2011) Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve quality of sleep amongst post partum women. Midwifery. 27. p 181 – 186

It is important for people to take more responsibility for their own health and Reflexology can be a way to help with the stresses of modern day life.


Ready to find out more?

If you would like to book an initial session, please feel free to contact me via the Enquiry Form or call me direct on 07824 367977.