Pregnancy can be a perfect time to indulge in a bit of luxurious pampering. Many spas offer treatment options to relieve aching muscles and enhance your appearance. While most of these treatments are safe during pregnancy, you should be aware of a few precautions.
Your skin can be especially sensitive during pregnancy, and some skin care products can cause itching or rashes. Ask for mild products during massages or a body scrub.
Facials are absolutely safe during pregnancy and can be a welcome way to unclog pores and improve blemishes. Products containing glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acid are thought to be safe during pregnancy.
Information on long-term safety of electrolysis during pregnancy is lacking, but there have been no reports of pregnancy harm from electrolysis. Two types of current may be used with electrolysis: direct (or galvanic) and thermolysis (also referred to as diathermy, radio wave, short wave or high frequency). The galvanic method sends a tiny current through the body and should be avoided. Thermolysis does not and is the preferred method during pregnancy. It’s best to avoid having electrolysis on your breasts (especially your nipples), abdomen or bikini area during pregnancy.
Your skin may be sensitive and react differently to waxing when you are pregnant. For example, one of my patients developed a severe infection from waxing her bikini area during pregnancy. Check with your physician before waxing or having an electrolysis treatment.
It’s best during pregnancy to avoid lengthy periods of overheating. Your growing baby has no independent way to cool down and prolonged elevations of temperature can be risky to early development. Saunas, steam rooms, heat wraps, whirlpools and hot tubs should be avoided, or used only briefly at reduced temperatures.
Massage can be a perfect antidote to aches and pains of the lower back, shoulders and legs, and some massage therapists specialize in prenatal massage. If you get a massage during the second half of pregnancy, you should be positioned in a pregnancy-friendly position rather than lying flat on your back. It’s best to lie on your side, propped up by pillows, or use a massage table with an area cut out for your abdomen. Let your massage therapist know the amount of pressure that feels comfortable, and ask her avoid acupressure points that could trigger contractions.
Many massage oils are perfectly safe during pregnancy including lavender, chamumile, jasmine, tangerine, neroli and ylang ylang. Other oils may potentially prompt contractions and should be avoided. These are rosemary, thyme, peppermint, pennyroyal, basil, juniper and oregano.
Aromatherapy can be pleasant if you’re not overly sensitive to the smell. Some aromas trigger nausea or vomiting, so let your nose be the guide. Essential oils that have been tested and found to be safe in pregnancy include rose, eucalyptus, lemon, mandarin, frankincense and lavender.
Tanning beds are not recommended because they could result in overheating and because your skin may tan unevenly during pregnancy. Some women develop a blotchy pigmentation on their faces during pregnancy, the so-called “mask of pregnancy, that could accentuate with tanning.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.