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The short answer to this question is yes, you can use a spa whilst pregnant. After all, spas are places of health, wellbeing and making you feel cared for, and pregnancy is definitely a time in your life when you deserve to be pampered.
However, in order to get the most out of your spa experience, there are some things that you need to be aware of, both when it comes to spa treatments and use of spa facilities for the health and safety of you and your baby.
Here are a few recommendations to follow to help guide you in your choice of spa experiences during pregnancy and to help you feel more comfortable on your spa break:
When it comes to spa treatments during pregnancy, the rules do differ from spa to spa. If you think that you are pregnant then below are some things you should consider.
- It is important that if you think you are pregnant, you tell your therapist before your treatment so that they can adapt it for you to ensure you feel safe and comfortable.
- Some essential oils and other active ingredients are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Many spas now offer specific prenatal, pregnancy or maternity spa treatments that are tailored to mums-to-be.
- If you’re worried at all then speak to your doctor before you book your spa break.
- Assuming that you have not been given any guidance to the contrary by your doctor, the swimming pool and gym should be fine as long as you feel up to it.
- Make sure you are careful to stay hydrated and stop immediately if you feel dizzy.
There are additional considerations to keep in mind for each of your trimesters.
- First trimester:
The first three months of pregnancy are universally known as a time where things are more delicate and there are a lot of changes going on in the body. That tends to be why the three month rule comes in. However, some people don’t actually know they’re pregnant at that point while others prefer not to divulge it.
- Don't use thermal facilities at all during your first trimester.
- Some spas offer treatments tailored specifically for the first trimester, for example, at luxury spa Pennyhill Park, they offer high-end facials, manicures and pedicures, but no massages or wraps in the first three months.
- It’s best to avoid spa treatments and facilities in your first trimester other than manicures and pedicures.
- Second trimester:
After the first trimester, your options for spa experiences really open up and there are so many lovely experiences to enjoy.
- It's still recommended that you don't use very hot facilities like saunas and steam rooms, but most other things are ok and the treatment options really open up.
- Depending on where you go there are a lot of maternal spa treatment options available.
- Lots of people experience changes in their skin during pregnancy, so a fabulous facial feels like a real treat.
- Luxury pedicures are also extremely popular, especially if they come with a calf massage, which is excellent for swollen ankles and sore feet.
- Third trimester:
Guidance in your third trimester is much the same as your second, except by this point many women are starting to feel more uncomfortable.
- Make sure you're gentle with yourself on your spa break - be careful not to become dehydrated and make sure you eat enough.
It’s best to avoid the use of thermal facilities such as saunas, steam rooms and Jacuzzis during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester. When it comes to spa facilities, a rule of thumb is that you should avoid higher temperatures because your internal temperature at that time is higher anyway. Therefore, it’s not recommended to spend time in saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis or any facility that’s hot. However, swimming pools and cooler facilities, as well as taking advantage of beautiful spa restaurants and relaxation areas is absolutely fine.
Increasingly spas have a wide variety of unique and relaxing experiences available to use that are also safe in pregnancy. For example, the isopod flotation experience at Ockenden Manor is sleep inducing, utterly relaxing and allows you to, quite literally, float and feel weightless. Isopod floatation tanks are not specifically for maternity spa breaks but they are perfect for helping to relieve prenatal aches and pains gently.
The reasons for caution are ultimately about the safety of you and your baby. For example, spas generally won’t offer scrubs or wraps during pregnancy. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, skin is often more sensitive during pregnancy and scrubs can be too abrasive and uncomfortable. It’s also because some active ingredients that are common in treatments, such as lavender, are generally avoided during pregnancy because they can supposedly bring on labour. So it’s a precaution. However, plenty of spas use spa product lines that have specifically been approved for maternity spa treatments and offer dedicated prenatal therapies as a result.
As with other spa treatments, the short answer is that you absolutely can have massages during pregnancy. However, there are certain adaptations that need to be considered for the safety and comfort of you and your baby.
One of the reasons for opting for a dedicated prenatal massage during pregnancy, is that not only is it specifically designed for your comfort and safety, but they’re also designed to address the specific aspects of pregnancy that you might not be finding comfortable, such as an aching back or swollen legs and feet.
In general terms, massages during pregnancy are best kept gentle rather than too stimulating. Head and shoulder massages are great because you get the relaxation element without putting pressure on the stomach. By the time most women get into their third trimester they are quite big and uncomfortable, so a dry floatation is recommended as a gentle, relaxing experience. Most women also appreciate leg and foot massages because they can get quite swollen.
To make sure they really offer what you need and are tested for safety during pregnancy however, it is best to opt for a dedicated prenatal massage. These are available at most spas, and each destination will put their own unique twist on the experience to make it extra special.
As with all spa treatments, it is perfectly ok to have a facial during pregnancy, but there are certain products and treatments that are best avoided until after you’ve had your baby. Many spas will be able to adapt most of the facials on their treatment menus for women during pregnancy, and if you would like to see if that’s possible, then it’s best to contact the spa ahead of your visit to speak to a therapist and see what they recommend. To really keep it safe, it’s best to opt for a dedicated prenatal facial, and most spas now offer a variety of really lovely options using approved products and techniques.
Although there are no known negative side effects to using a facial peel during pregnancy, facial peels are not recommended during pregnancy. The increased sensitivity of skin during pregnancy can result in additional breakouts from the chemicals used as part of the facial peel.
Manicures and pedicures during pregnancy
- Standard manicures and pedicures are a wonderful way to enjoy a little pampering during pregnancy. Many women opt for a more luxurious version with added massage for hands and feet to help ease aches and pains.
- Some luxury manicures and pedicures may involve elements of reflexology, so it’s still best to advise your therapist that you are pregnant before your treatment so that they can avoid any sensitive pressure points.
- Sometimes the fumes from nail polishes and products can make women feel nauseous during pregnancy, so be mindful and tell your therapist if you feel unwell.
- Different people have different approaches, but the NCT advises that gel and acrylic nails are best avoided during pregnancy.
Fake tan during pregnancy
- Fake tan creams and lotions are considered to be safe during pregnancy.
- Spray tan have no hard and fast evidence around the fumes they produce, so the NHS advises that they are best to be avoided.
- There are no known risks, and active ingredients in fake tans are not believed to be absorbed into the body beyond the skin. However, hormone changes may cause you to have an allergic reaction where you haven’t had them before.
- It's best to read information provided by the NHS, speak to your doctor and make sure you’re fully informed so you can make a decision that you’re comfortable with. Either way, it’s always best to do a patch test before applying fake tan during pregnancy, even if you have used it before.
Waxing during pregnancy
- If you normally wax, it’s absolutely fine to keep doing so during pregnancy.
- The only thing to be aware of is that the extra blood flow during pregnancy can make skin more sensitive, so waxing might be more painful than you normally find it.
- As with tanning, make sure to do a patch test before use, as hormone changes may affect your reaction to the product.
Hair dye and brow tints during pregnancy
- As with other spa and beauty treatments, many women prefer to wait until after their first trimester before using any kind of brow or eyelash tint.
- The NHS advises that hair dyes are generally considered to be safe during pregnancy, but if you are concerned then speak to your doctor first so you can make a decision you are comfortable with.
- Many women prefer to switch to semi-permanent pure vegetable dyes, such as henna to dye their hair during pregnancy, and as with other products, do a strand test on colours first because hormonal changes can impact how your hair reacts to products during pregnancy.
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