Being pampered during pregnancy is a treat every tired mum-to-be dreams of. With back ache, dry skin and tired feet being common complaints during pregnancy, it’s no wonder we need a little extra indulging!
But did you know that not every beauty treatment is safe for pregnant women? Massages might be ultra relaxing, but can be too stimulating early on. Masks are essential during a spray tan and body wraps are to be avoided altogether. Here’s what’s relaxing and what you should avoid:
Massage is great for relaxation and for relieving leg, back and hip pain during pregnancy (although beware of massage beds with a ‘nest’ for your bump – I once had a massage where the hole was positioned too low, and I ended up with back strain – ouch!). Fiona Macarthur, midwife, mum of five and author of Don’t Panic Guide to Birth (Penguin), says you should be sure to avoid massage too early on. “Gentle massage is great in pregnancy, especially after the fourth month. Before then, some think massage can be too stimulating and beauticians don’t like to book a woman for a full body massage in early pregnancy.”
Body wraps aren’t recommended when pregnant, as they elevate your body temperature. “Body wraps are not for pregnancy and can increase your core temperature quite a lot,” advises Fiona. “When you think about it – the wrap is trying to sweat the toxins out. Leave extra heating until after baby is on the outside. Especially in the first three months even really hot baths aren’t recommended while baby goes through early development.” She also advises avoiding any treatment that uses heavily scented oils. “In pregnancy it’s better to stick to pure oils like almond, olive or unscented oils unless you have the advice of an aromatherapist.”
If you’re hoping to sport a golden tan during pregnancy (yet it’s too hot to sit on the beach) a spray tan is a great alternative. “Lots of people have spray tans in pregnancy,” confirms Fiona. “The tan only sits on the skin and doesn’t penetrate to the dermis. That’s why they only last around seven days. They shed off with the skin cells. It’s not great to inhale a spray tan, (the only way it could get to baby) so I guess if you were really worried you could wear a mask.” She adds that organic spray tans are a great alternative, which can be found at some Australian salons.
While some beauticians might be wary of giving a Brazilian wax to a heavily pregnant woman (one waxer looked aghast at my huge bump), Fiona says lots of women have Brazilian waxes in the week before childbirth and that it needn’t be any more painful than when not pregnant. “Up to a couple of days before labour would be fine,” says Fiona, adding that it can sometimes be hit and miss at that stage in pregnancy. “Lots of people wish they knew how to guess when that would be.”
While some women eschew having their hair dyed, Fiona says it’s not something that bothered her during her five pregnancies. “I know lots of women have lovely hair when they do come into labour and not all of it’s their natural colour. Very little chemical is used in the dye, and like the spray tan, very little is absorbed. The consensus on what I’ve read about dyes and pregnancy is dye your hair. I know I do and did when I was pregnant.”
This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot NZ, New Zealand’s best family health resource.
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