Pam-per \pam-pər\: to treat someone very well or give a lot of attention and care.
It’s always nice to pamper yourself, but when you are pregnant it is a great time to indulge and treat yourself right. Pampering yourself may mean something different to you than your friend next door. So pampering doesn’t always mean a trip to the spa, it could mean lunch with a good friend, a walk on the beach, a weekend without the kids, or just a simple pedicure. Whatever it is that you find relaxing can be considered pampering. You could be worried that certain “pampering services” may not be safe for you, thereby making it hard for you to relax and enjoy. Let’s look at some pampering ideas and their safety in pregnancy.
Massages while pregnant: Most spas will not give you a prenatal massage when you are in your first trimester. Up to 30% of women may miscarry in the first trimester; so many spas do not want to be liable if you blame them. Rest assured a massage in pregnancy is safe, no matter how many weeks you are along. There are certain pressure points to avoid, but if your masseuse is certified to perform prenatal massages, they should be knowledgeable in these areas.
Facials: Facials are a great way to relax and pamper yourself. You may have also found that your skin has “broken out” with this pregnancy and be in need of a good facial. Almost all topical creams are safe, but avoid any creams or treatments with Retin-A. Avoid any laser facials or ablative treatments during pregnancy. You may find that your skin is very sensitive in pregnancy when it wasn’t prior. Common ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid are safe as topical treatments.
Pedicures and manicures are awesome! So show off those great sandals and toes all year round. If you like acrylic nails, you can continue to have them done, but remember you are exposing yourself to many chemicals and fumes. You will find in pregnancy that your hair and nails will grow stronger and faster. This may mean more trips to fill in your nails. Some practitioners are concerned about the fumes produced from long term exposure with acrylic nails, but it seems that the risk is only if you are the nail technician. Even still, I recommend patients to avoid acrylics. A regular manicure/pedicure is relaxing and safe.
Going to the salon to have your hair styled is a great way to pamper yourself. Many women are worried about coloring their hair in pregnancy and its safety. It is true that the dyes, straighteners, and bleaches do absorb into your skin, but they do so at very minimum levels. There is no concern for your baby according to toxicology experts, but in our practice we do recommend to wait until the second trimester to color or treat your hair. Ask your hair stylist for products that are plant based and stray away from the harsher chemicals.
A “Baby-Moon” Trip: Maybe your idea of pampering is getting away prior to the baby arriving. If you are planning a cruise make sure to check their pregnancy rules for traveling. Some require documentation from your physician or midwife and require a passenger to be less than 24 weeks to board the ship. Same for air travel, some may require that you travel prior to 32-36 weeks. This depends on the carrier and if it is an international or domestic flight. Anytime you travel long distances in a car or airplane during pregnancy, you can be at risk for a blood clot. This is due to sitting in one position for a long time. It is good to move around when safely able to do so and if not, you can perform simple leg exercises in your seat.
So now that you know some in’s and out’s of pampering yourself while pregnant, go ahead and schedule some much needed TLC for yourself. You deserve it!
Written by Stephanie Fink, MSN, NP, CNM is a certified nurse midwife with In-Touch Midwifery and the owner of the Sky & Sea Spa in Miami.