I’m a big proponent of pampering yourself with a multi-hour spa day at least a few times a year. There’s literally nothing better than a mani, pedi, massage ritual. Throw in a facial followed by a light lunch and you’ve got yourself a perfect way to kill a full day.
But here’s the thing; there are actually a lot of spa services that aren’t fetus friendly. Shortly after I got pregnant I started to question which services I would have to give up, so I hit up google, talked to my OB and of course some service professionals to get to a do’s and don’ts list of prenatal pampering.
DO Get a prenatal massage. Many spa’s won’t provide this service during the first trimester and it is better to avoid it at this stage anyway, but once you are out of the first trimester weeds, a prenatal massage will get your blood circulating, and help ease the pain of shifting hips. You can use the belly pillow or lay on your side. At the beginning of my pregnancy I preferred the belly pillow, but as I got larger, it got far more comfortable to lay on my side. Spas can be a bit expensive when it comes to prenatal massages, so check to see if your GP’s office provides the service. Wherever you go, be sure to ask for an RMT that is very experienced with prenatal patients.
DON’T use essential oils that include cinnamon, clove, rosemary or clary sage. It’s better to stick to oils that contain lavender, chamomile, or ylang ylang. Some establishments use coconut oil when massaging, and this is always your safest bet. Hit up Saje for some pure chamomile or Mothers Wellness oil and add it to your bath. As you get closer to your due date, the oils helps soften the skin down under, apparently making delivery a little smoother (mind the pun).
DO get a facial. Facials are a great way to treat your changing skin. During my first trimester I was taking a lot of progesterone, and one of the side effects was dry skin and constant breakouts. Facials were my saving grace. But don’t forget to tell your aesthetician that you’re pregnant. Similar to massage oils, there are quite a few facial products that you should steer clear of while pregnant. Anything containing retinoids should be avoided.
My fave mama friendly facial spot: Pure + Simple. Get the super hydrating facial with oxygen treatment for that amazing mama glow. $110
DON’T even think about botox.While botox hasn’t been proven to have negative effects on your little miracle, it’s just not worth the risk. This is also the case when it comes to lip injections. Most injectors will wait until you’re done nursing before touching up your pout.
DO get your hair dyed. No beauty service leaves a woman feeling quite like a trip to the salon does. Contrary to popular belief, the chemicals found in dyes are not highly toxic, and such small amounts are absorbed by the scalp anyway, so most hair pro’s will tell you not to sweat it. Your hair will never look better or be stronger than it is right now, so at the very least go get a blow out and make yourself feel fabulous.
The woman responsible for my shiny mama mane: H&CO by Hayley Bloomfield.
DON’T go tanning. This one is a bit controversial, because there is no proof that tanning beds are harmful to your unborn child, but your skin is far more sensitive while pregnant, so you are more likely to burn. For your own safety, you are best to stay out of the tanning beds. While self tanners may sound like an obvious alternative, many popular self tanners (including the “organic” ones) contain potentially harmful chemicals that release formaldehyde as they break down. If the idea of being pasty and pregnant is to much to bare, opt for Yves Rocher. Its DHA free and 94% natural, so it’s your safest bet.
DO get a manicure but AVOID nail polishes containing formaldehyde. Make sure the salon you frequent is very sanitary and well ventilated. Manicurists should be using gels to soften your cuticles rather than having you soak in reusable bowls, and tools should obviously be new or sanitized. When it comes to gel nails, your best bet is bio seaweed gel polishes. These gels are organic, and you don’t have to use acetone to remove it.
DON’T get acrylics. Acrylic nails contain formaldehyde, so its best to avoid extensions right now. If you are dead set on lengthening your nails while pregnant, look for a salon that provides bio seaweed get extensions. These are your most organic option, and therefore, the safest. But be warned, your nail beds will feel like they are on FIRE when you place them under the UV light.
DO get a body scrub. Similar to massages, an exfoliation scrub can be a great way to get your blood flowing. An itchy belly is a common side effect of pregnancy, and a body scrub could be just what the doctor ordered to help you with this as well as stretch marks.
DON’T indulge in any service that impacts body temperature. This includes steam rooms, saunas, body wraps, Turkish baths, mud baths, hot tubs or plunge pools. These services can actually cause permanent damage to your unborn child, such as brain and spinal cord abnormalities.
Ladies, this is the time for self love and care. Pregnancy is tough on our bodies and our moods, but the physical and emotional impacts of some of these services can leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. Before I was pregnant I was spending a lot of money going out for drinks with friends, and I’ve rerouted a lot of that money to spa sessions that have left me feeling so much higher than alcohol ever did. I also know that once baby comes I won’t have a ton of time for these beauty services, so I’m packing it all in while I can.
Feature Photo by Michelle Lina Photography