So it's officially time to relax and you're heading for the nearest spa for a therapist to work some magic on your aching muscles and pregnancy skin. Just read up on the mum-to-be treatment rules before you book and tell the spa you're pregnant before you go...
DON’T get a treatment in the first 12 weeks
Yep, most spa treatments are off the agenda during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. ‘If you do end up in a spa, this is the perfect time to just relax around the pool with a stack of magazines or a good book,’ says Daphne Metland, an antenatal teacher and chief Spa Spy at The Good Spa Guide. ‘In trimesters two and three, most spas will use a bean bag or massage chair during your treatment so you don't have to negotiate your growing body and bump onto a therapy bed.’
DO check which aromatherapy oils are used
Even experts disagree about exactly which aromatherapy oils are safe in pregnancy. ‘Most list citrus oils such as tangerine and neroli, as well as lavender, frankincense and rose as safe to use,’ says Daphne. ‘However, ones to avoid as they can trigger labour and increase blood pressure include nutmeg, rosemary, jasmine, sage and juniper berry. If in doubt, take the safe route and ask for a completely plain oil such as almond or jojoba.’
DO get a pregnancy-safe massage
But make sure it’s specifically for mum-to-be. ‘Massage can be a gift during pregnancy when you ache as it uses relaxing strokes, similar to Swedish massage,’ says Daphne. ‘But make sure your therapist is trained in pregnancy massage. Deep tissue and sports massage should be avoided as your joints are much looser now.’
DON’T go in the hot tub
Saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs are not recommended during pregnancy because you’re at risk of overheating, which can be dangerous for your baby. Some spas offer laconiums and tepidariums – warm rooms and beds that pose no danger but still soothe and relax. ‘They’re a great way to take the weight off aching joints and sink into a state of deep relaxation without going somewhere hot,’ says Daphne. Check with the spa what they offer.
DO get a pedicure
There is some discussion about having a manicures and pedicures during pregnancy. ‘Nail varnishes often include chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene and phthalates which some women worry about inhaling during pregnancy,’ says Daphne. ‘But these chemicals are normally at such a low level that they’re very unlikely to harm your baby.’ If you decide you want to avoid them completely, you could still ask for a file, shape and buff of your fingernails, and a pedicure will be fine as you’re not sitting close enough to your toes to inhale any chemicals.
DON’T pick a body wrap treatment
The general advice is to avoid body wraps during pregnancy. ‘It’s easy to overheat and dehydrate during a wrap, so give it a miss,’ says Daphne.
DO make the best of your pregnancy skin
Book a facial as they’re often a safe bet when it comes to pregnancy-friendly treatments. And if your skin has been playing up since you got pregnant (thanks hormones!), you could opt for a skin-calming or ultra moisturising one to get the most benefits.
DON’T dismiss classes
If you can’t have a treatment or don’t fancy one, find out if your spa offers pregnancy yoga or even meditation sessions. Now’s the time to make the most of peaceful days that are just for you, and these classes will do just that.
Have you had any spa treatments during your pregnancy? Let us know below.