With more emphasis on baby showers and dedicated spa treatments, the world of spa is opening up for mums to be, but there’s confusion about what you can and can’t do. So what are the rules and when do they apply to you? Pennyhill Park Hotel’s Spa Therapy Manager Katie Pratt explains…
The rules do differ from spa to spa, some are very extreme and won’t treat you at all in the first three months of pregnancy, while others will offer some treatments in the first trimester. The majority of spas however will veer away from offering most spa treatments in the first three months of pregnancy but will happily offer tailored treatments after that. For the most part, it depends on the type treatment offering they have available, and the level of therapist training, what they are comfortable with, and probably some elements from an insurance point of view as well.
Pennyhill Park sits in the middle of these options. We offer high-end facials, manicures and pedicures, but no massages or wraps in the first three months. After that we have a collection of treatments and specific pregnancy massages tailored to avoid particular movements, areas and oils that are thought to be unsafe.
The other side of the spa experience are the facilities. Essentially, you should avoid higher temperatures because your internal temperature at that time is higher anyway. It’s not recommended to spend time in saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzis or any facility that’s hot.
At Pennyhill Park we have a wide range of cooler pools and facilities, and we have a little journey that we hand out to all guests to help them with how they’re feeling or want to feel afterwards. There is one specifically for use during pregnancy.
At the end of the day it’s all about the safety of the guest and their baby. For example, we don’t do any scrubs or wraps during pregnancy because of the active ingredients in the treatments such as lavender, which is avoided during pregnancy because it can supposedly bring on labour.
In other cases, it’s not that ingredients aren’t safe, it’s just that they simply haven’t been tested during pregnancy so we err on the side of caution. We use Natura Bisse, where all the products have been tested during pregnancy, but we have our own product line as well which hasn’t been tested, so we can’t use it. It’s all about guest safety.
In terms of massage, certain pressure points are supposed to bring on labour as well, and a lot of massage will use pressure points, especially on the scalp and soles of feet which are very active in pregnancy. They are not necessarily avoided, but need particular care. If it’s somewhere that really specialises in prenatal treatments then they will be able to do more.
The first three months of pregnancy is universally known as the point where things are more likely to go wrong and there are a lot of changes going on in the body. That tends to be why the three month rule comes in. But we also get people coming in who don’t actually know they’re pregnant, or some guests who prefer not to divulge it.
The best thing to do is let the spa know at the time of booking. Phone ahead and see what the treatment options are ahead of time. It may mean your treatment needs to be changed or adapted, and if that’s all organised in advance it makes the day more relaxing for you and there’s no disappointment. We will always try to make the treatment as close as possible to what you want from the menu.
Depending on where you go there are a lot of prenatal treatment options available. Lots of people experience changes in their skin during pregnancy, so a fabulous facial feels like a real treat, but most want a relaxing massage for all the aching areas. Our pedicures are also extremely popular as they come with a calf massage which is excellent for swollen ankles and sore feet.
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