Let’s face it - pregnancy comes with a number of less-than-ideal caveats. You can’t have sushi, alcohol, caffeine, deli meat and even some commonly prescribed medications while carrying lest harm befall the baby, and you’re hit with all sorts of side-effects like morning sickness and ankle swelling. And then to top it all off, once you’re sore, nauseous, tired and annoyed that you can’t have your favorite date night meal of sushi and sake, you think about taking a dip in the hot tub only to remember you were once told you’re not allowed to do that either.
What gives? What exactly is the rule about visiting spas and hot tubs during pregnancy, and is there anything a woman who’s expecting should know about before going - does it matter?
For some aspects of the spa, it absolutely does. For others, some mild caution is all that’s necessary to avoid a good treatment. What’s safe at the spa for you to participate in depends on how far along in your pregnancy you are and what the activity in question is. Here are some tips on what is and isn’t off limits at the spa during pregnancy.
Don’t visit the hot tub
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, it’s time to say goodbye to hot tubs, steam rooms and jacuzzis. Raising your internal body temperature above 101 degrees fahrenheit poses a health hazard to you and to your fetus during pregnancy.
Studies have found that women who expose their fetuses to above-average core body temperatures are more likely to have children with birth defects. This is particularly true for moms who visit the hot tub or steam room during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but the sauna remains harmful to pregnant women for the entire ninth month process.
While you’re pregnant, it’s important to make sure your body temperature doesn’t rise above 102.2 degrees, whether by sweating out in a steam room or getting a fever. Keeping your core body temperature down is important to your fetus’s development.
Skip the spa in the first trimester
Most spa procedures are going to be relatively benign for pregnant women, so long as your therapist knows your condition and responds accordingly. However, spas still generally recommend that women avoid making an appointment until after their pregnancy has reached the 12-week mark.
Past the first trimester, pregnancies are far less susceptible to developing birth defects or ending in miscarriage, which means slightly rough treatments like a physical massage are less likely to have tragic consequences.
Many spas will also consider ending visits at 32 weeks, when women are heavily pregnant. According to a medical spa in Utah, Excess motion and pressure can unintentionally induce labor or damage the placenta before birth, so women should begin taking it easy around that point as well.
Be wary of skin treatments
Another treatment pregnant women may consider avoiding for the duration of their pregnancy is facial peels. Scrubs, dermaplaning treatments and even waxing are likely to be exceptionally difficult to receive during pregnancy.
When you’re pregnant, the change in hormones can result in a number of unexpected physical changes such as an increase in the sensitivity of your skin. You may be more likely to have an allergic or irritated reaction to treatments or products that previously worked well for you.
Instead, during treatment make sure to inquire about products for sensitive or gentle skin, so you don’t have to worry about abrasion or pain.
Finally, make sure you avoid any skin care products with retinoids in them. Retinoids are commonly used as a chemical exfoliant to treat acne and scarring, but they’re known to cause birth defects in fetuses, which means it’s critical to avoid coming into regular contact with them. Not all spa treatments are safe for women during pregnancy. If you do choose to visit the spa, make sure you tell your spa therapist or masseuse about your pregnancy and how far along you are so they can gauge what treatments will be safe for you and your fetus.