Pregnancy spa treatments: Beauty services to avoid or offer with caution

By Salon Gold on October 12th, 2023

Pregnancy is an incredible rollercoaster of emotions, and let’s be real — it can be pretty darn exhausting. So, it’s no surprise that many mamas-to-be crave some serious pampering.

However, while a day at the spa may sound like the perfect retreat, not all treatments are safe for expectant mothers. The delicate nature of pregnancy calls for a cautious approach, as certain therapies pose unforeseen dangers to both the mother and baby. Hence, it is vital for spa owners to be mindful of the potential risks associated with pregnancy spa treatments.

In this article, we will explore what spa treatments are and aren’t safe during pregnancy, shedding light on some of the more risky practices that you should be mindful of offering at your spa.

1. The sauna

When your clients are expecting, it’s natural for them to wonder about the safety of using a sauna, jacuzzi, hot tub, or steam room during pregnancy. While turning up the heat may seem appealing for alleviating prenatal discomforts, being aware of potential dangers is crucial for both the mother and baby.

So what are some of the risks of sauna treatments during pregnancy?

Dehydration

Saunas work by raising the body’s temperature, which causes excessive sweating as a means to cool down. This sweating can lead to a significant loss of water from the body, potentially resulting in dehydration.

In turn, dehydration may cause a decrease in blood volume, making it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively. This can result in reduced blood flow to the uterus, potentially affecting the baby’s oxygen and nutrient supply.

Overheating

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes significant changes, such as increased blood volume, hormone fluctuations, and adjustments in the thermoregulatory system. As a result, pregnant women are more sensitive to temperature changes and may struggle with extreme heat.

Using a sauna hinders the body’s natural ability to regulate heat through sweating. Therefore, monitoring core body temperature is crucial when using a sauna while pregnant. As the body’s core temperature rises, it can lead to various adverse effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and overheating.

Fainting

When exposed to high temperatures, the body directs more blood towards the skin to facilitate cooling. As a consequence, there is a decrease in blood flow to vital internal organs, including the brain.

Insufficient blood supply to the brain can lead to a feeling of lightheadedness, as less oxygen is able to be delivered. This is concerning during pregnancy, as it may result in dizziness or even fainting, endangering the safety of both the mother and the unborn child.

The bottom line:

To safeguard the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby-to-be, it is strongly advised to disallow or discourage women from using saunas, hot tubs, and similar high-heat environments throughout their pregnancy, particularly during the critical early stages.

2. Massages

Many mothers-to-be wonder if a massage during pregnancy is safe. Enjoying a soothing massage can help alleviate stress, ease weary muscles, and seek out much-needed relief, however, when catering to pregnant spa guests, it’s natural to consider the safety and suitability of offering them a massage.

According to Healthline, “massage is generally considered safe following the first trimester of pregnancy.” However, it’s important to note that the safety of different types of treatments can vary. Let’s take a closer look at some specific types of massages and their potential effects during this time.

Prenatal massage

Prenatal massage, also known as pregnancy massage, is a specialised form of therapeutic massage designed to support expectant mothers during their pregnancy journey. It is generally recognised as a safe and effective way to alleviate the physical and emotional discomforts that can arise.

That being said, Ten Health and Fitness advises that there are instances when massage may not be appropriate, particularly during a high-risk pregnancy or if certain health conditions are present (such as diabetes or morning sickness). You should always advise your clients to check with their doctor or midwife first before considering a prenatal massage.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage, often likened to Swedish massage, is a therapeutic technique used for treating musculoskeletal problems such as strains and sports-related injuries. It involves applying sustained pressure through deep, slow strokes to reach the inner layers of the muscles and connective tissues.

Pregnancy brings about a range of physiological changes in a woman’s body, making her musculoskeletal system more sensitive and vulnerable. As a result, deep tissue massage is typically not recommended for pregnant women due to the level of pressure involved in this method.

Aromatherapy massage

Aromatherapy massage, one of the most popular treatments on a spa’s menu, offers a unique combination of essential oils and massage therapy, benefiting both the mind and body. In this type of massage, fragrant essential oils are applied to the skin using carrier oils like jojoba, sweet almond, or grapeseed.

However, aromatherapy massage may not be suitable for pregnant women during certain stages of pregnancy due to the risks associated with essential oils. Types that can cause uterine contractions are a “definite no-no during pregnancy,” advises Parents, “and that list includes some common ones like cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and clary sage.”

The bottom line:

Overall, prenatal massage can be a beneficial and relaxing experience for many pregnant women, but it should always be offered with caution and under the guidance of a medical professional.

3. Facials

During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations can lead to various skin challenges, including acne, sensitivity, pigmentation changes, and dryness. While some women may experience a radiant glow, others seek facials to address these skin issues. However, not all facials are safe during pregnancy, as we outline below.

Chemical peels

A chemical peel is a type of aesthetic treatment that involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin of the face, neck, or hands. This solution is specifically formulated to remove the outer layers of the skin. As a result, the treatment encourages the growth of new collagen, leading to a smoother and more uniform complexion, reducing the appearance of surface imperfections.

However, certain ingredients in a chemical peel can be absorbed into the bloodstream when used in high concentrations. Therefore, these treatments should be avoided during pregnancy to ensure the safety of the expectant mother and the developing baby.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion treatments involve intense exfoliation using aluminium oxide crystals that gently ‘sand’ the skin’s surface. By stimulating collagen production, microdermabrasion can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leading to a more youthful complexion.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid microdermabrasion due to the potential risk of inhaling or absorbing the aluminium oxide crystals used in the procedure. Moreover, because skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, these treatments might lead to irritation, breakouts, and even scarring, Peanut warns.

Botox

Botox is a neurotoxic protein used for cosmetic and medical purposes, working to temporarily relax muscles and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It is popular for its ability to provide a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance without the need for invasive surgery.

Generally, dermatologists recommend against getting Botox while pregnant, Derma Institute explains. “This is because there is simply not enough research done yet to be confident of its safety for pregnant people or foetuses. As a result, any responsible practitioner will recommend against Botox during pregnancy.”

The bottom line:

While certain facials and skincare treatments are not recommended for pregnant women due to the potential risks associated with some ingredients or procedures, there are plenty of safe and effective options available that can address common skin issues during pregnancy.

Final thoughts

At Salon Gold, we understand that pregnancy is a delicate and special time in a woman’s life, and the last thing she needs is additional stress. That’s why we offer treatment liability cover as a standard part of our policy, specifically designed to protect pregnant clients and spa owners alike.

With our comprehensive spa insurance, you can provide a safe and relaxing environment for your clients, knowing that you have the support and protection you need if an unexpected incident occurs. This means you can focus on what truly matters — caring for your pregnant clients and ensuring their well-being during this transformative journey.

For more information, give us a call on 020 8655 0444 or get a quote for your insurance needs right away.

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