If there was ever a time you needed an indulgent day at the spa, pregnancy is definitely it. Unfortunately, not all spa treatments are actually safe for pregnancy, whether it’s due to the product used during the treatment, the technique of the therapist, or even the positioning of your pregnant body.
To help you book the right appointment, we asked Gabrielle Ophals, Co-Founder of Haven Spa in NYC, to share which spa treatments are off-limits for your pregnant body...and how to make modifications to make some of them a little safer. *Note: Always defer to your obstetrician before engaging in any of these services.
Why do it: Think of a body treatment as a facial for your whole body! In a nutshell: it includes exfoliation, a deep cleansing/detoxifying step, and a nourishing moisturizing finish. What it does: A body treatment will makes your skin look and feel great. It's smoother, softer and healthier because of added nutrients during the wrapping step.
Is it safe for pregnancy? Generally, no. Most body treatments are detoxifying in nature -- and you don't want that when you're growing another human inside you. Even treatments that aren't detoxifying, like nut or sugar scrubs followed by a simple body moisturizer, aren’t recommended during pregnancy (and we don't perform them at our spa) because you can be really slippery after. The idea of sliding off the table is too terrifying!
Why do it: A massage is a relaxing and refreshing way to escape the stresses of life, both mental and physical.
Is it safe for pregnancy? Yes, but it's not recommended during the first trimester. The first trimester is when the fetus is at its most vulnerable. Massage can be very stimulating to the adrenal system, and it can (but rarely) causes muscle spasms. Almost no massage therapist will perform a massage during this time. Of course, there are plenty of times when you don't know you're pregnant; what happens then? Honestly, there has never been a recorded incident of a massage causing a problem with a pregnancy. Still, it’s a precaution that most reputable spas follow.
Why do it: The ultimate in #selfcare, facials can do wonders for your skin, from cleansing skin to promoting collagen production to exfoliating dead skin cells.
Is it safe for pregnancy? Most facials are totally safe for pregnancy unless it includes a peel, which can have chemicals -- like salicylic acid -- that can be harmful to your fetus. Make sure you find out about all the possible products that may be used in a facial before closing your eyes.
Manicures & Pedicures
Why do it: Admit it: getting your nails or toes done makes us look and feel pretty. When you're bloated or uncomfortable, which can happen often during pregnancy, these services can really lift your spirits. They're short and usually an inexpensive option.
Is it safe for pregnancy? We do not recommend acrylics or powder dips as they're highly toxic. It's been proven that nail technicians who perform these services on a regular basis and do not wear protective breathing gear (N95 particle masks, not the kind of mask you see at a doctor's office) have a higher incidence of lung problems. While your exposure is far less than a technician's, why take the risk?
Why do it: We know some women swear pregnancy makes your hair look fabulous, but most moms-to-be could use a little hair care pick-me-up.
Is it safe for pregnancy? When it comes to hair treatments, stick with the same strategy as you would for a mani/pedi: if it’s a simple, nontoxic treatment (think: blow dry or cut), then go for it! But stay away from anything toxic, such as some hair coloring and all Keratin straightening treatments.