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Going to a spa when you're pregnant

Expert advice from an international spa consultant for mums-to-be in search of spa wellbeing.

For mums-to-be, going on a spa day or break can be just what's needed to rest, relax, reconnect with your changing body, and, in the later stages of pregnancy, help to soothe tired feet or aching backs.

However, for many women, knowing what experiences are best and which treatments are suitable, can feel a little overwhelming. We have lots of advice for mums-to-be in search of rest and relaxation within our Pregnancy Spa Guide.

Adding to that, we spoke to international spa consultant, and Founder of the Holistic Beauty Academy, training spa therapists, Lisa Marie Hawtin, to get her expert insights.

What you need to know about having a spa treatment in pregnancy

The rule of thumb in most spas is that they recommend not to have spa treatments before the end of your third trimester (12 weeks). That said, lots of therapists are specially trained and can offer certain therapies at any stage of pregnancy.

In general terms, facials, manicures and pedicures are considered suitable during pregnancy (with some exceptions), and specialist prenatal massages are also offered which makes it much easier to identify what’s suitable. Again however, they are mostly available after 12 weeks.

For spa goers, all you need to be concerned with as far as treatments go is making sure you tell your therapist beforehand (ideally before you arrive at the spa) that you are expecting a baby. That means they will be able to give you the right consultation to understand the stage you're at, as well as any specific needs you may have. That way you can have the best, and safest, experience possible.

What if I don't want to tell anyone I'm pregnant?

Lots of women don't know they're pregnant or don't want to tell anyone within the first 12 weeks. If you don't know and then find out later, don't worry - there's no evidence that spa experiences have a negative impact - all the advice is precautionary. If you do know and you aren't telling people, the choice is entirely yours, but do be safe in the knowledge that your therapist will keep anything you say confidential.

When do you need a doctor's note to have a spa treatment?

After the first trimester, the only time we would be concerned about treating a mum-to-be is if they're under a consultant, which usually means there's a high risk associated with the pregnancy. In that instance, we would ask that you bring a doctor's note to your treatment just to confirm they're happy for you to have your treatment.

What's different about a pregnancy massage and treatments?

Your therapist will have specific training to offer prenatal treatments, including massages, which means they hold the right certifications and insurance policies to practise. There are certain pressure points, products and aromatherapy oils that we don't recommend using during pregnancy, and a trained therapist will know exactly what they are so they can avoid them. Lots of treatment beds are also heated now, and it's best if heat isn't turned on when having a prenatal treatment.

Dedicated spa treatments for maximum benefit

It's important to remember that choosing dedicated pregnancy treatments, or telling your therapist that you're pregnant, is not just about what to avoid but about making sure you get the best experience possible from your treatment. During pregnancy lots of women have specific wants and needs, from addressing skin pigmentation caused by hormonal changes to aches and pains. With the right knowledge, your therapist can really target your therapy so you feel amazing at the end of it. Equally, cushions and towels can be positioned to optimise comfort. For example, it's usually best if women are not lying flat when they are heavily pregnant as it puts pressure on the spine. We tend to encourage sitting or lying at an angle.

Which spa facilities can I use during pregnancy?

When it comes to the use of facilities and how you plan a spa day, there are no hard and fast rules, but we do make recommendations.

Stay hydrated

Often spa facilities are quite warm so we encourage pregnant women to drink plenty of water and make sure you keep your blood sugar at a good level to avoid any dizziness.

Be careful not to slip

Floors in wet spa areas and showers can often be slippery, so we suggest wearing flip flops or indoor footwear with grip. Take care when getting on and off treatment beds - especially after a treatment to make sure you don't lose your balance - it's always ok to ask for help if you need it.

Avoid hot spa facilities

It is recommended that you avoid the really hot facilities such as saunas and Jacuzzis so that you don't risk overheating as the body alters its response to heat during pregnancy. There are usually beautiful quiet facilities in spas and those are wonderful during pregnancy. Some even have gorgeous spa gardens.

Have a gap between meals and your spa treatment

Lots of women experience heartburn during pregnancy as well, so we suggest avoiding meals right before a treatment. Wait until afterwards or leave a gap between eating and your therapy.

What are the benefits of spa treatments during pregnancy?

There are so many beautiful benefits to going to a spa during pregnancy, so all the advice is simply about making sure you have the most wonderful time and that you're safely and properly supported.

Amongst the many positive reasons expectant mums might want to enjoy spas and spa treatments are the calming and relaxing effects. It's an opportunity to help tired or anxious mums-to-be to focus on themselves for a bit, boosting everything that the pregnancy might be taking out of you. Spa experiences are a wonderful way to simply support your general wellbeing and have a nice time caring for yourself for a bit.

Are you looking for a pregnancy spa break? Or maybe you want to give an expectant mum-to-be a relaxing day out?

Explore our dedicated pregnancy spa days and breaks

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