For the safety of both mother and baby
- Normal spa packages’ body and massages, and full use of a spa’s wet area facilities, are not suitable for pregnant women. The spa pregnancy packages offered by our spas have been specially devised with the safety of your body and baby in mind. Some nurturing mother-to-be treatments such as Elemis Nurturing Massage for the Mother-to-Be is considered safe and gentle enough throughout a woman’s pregnancy.
- Certain areas of the body (tummy, sacrum/lower back, and the back of the ankles) should not be massaged early and late on in the pregnancy, particularly up to the end of the first trimester and from week 30 onwards. (Some pregnancy treatments include some gentle tummy massage in the interim period, depending on their policy and your individual needs)
e.g. Reflexologists and Chinese acupuncturists consider the pressure points around the ankles as being very stimulating to the uterus and ovaries. These points are used to encourage uterine contractions in women who are due to go in to labour, so should be avoided until then!
Similarly, the tops of the feet correspond to the lungs and breasts in reflexology – so might feel too tender to a mother-to-be to be massaged.
Pregnant women must avoid:
- The use of stimulating heat is contra-indicated for expectant mothers, so it is safest to give the spa’s hydrotherapy (wet area) of a spa a wide berth, not least as this area can be slippery underfoot. underwater or overwater massage jets in swimming pools
- saunas and even cooler sanariums
- Jacuzzis, hot tubs and whirlpools
- steam rooms
- tanning beds
The good news is that cold water can provide cooling anti-inflammatory relief for swollen ankles, calves and hands. Many spas offer cool ‘tropical showers,’ under which you can place just your lower legs, but be sure to hold on to a hand rail to keep you steady. Larger spas also have cooling Kneipp foot baths and ice fountains (gently massage a handful down legs that feel hot and puffy, but be careful as once the ice melts the floor might be more slippery)
- For peace of mind, ask what training and experience a spa’s therapists have in pre-natal massage techniques. A good sign that you’re in capable hands is when a spa offers pregnancy-specific packages and treatments, not just normal packages that just happen to be suited to a mum-to-be
- Be mindful that a properly trained spa therapist should never ask a pregnant woman to lie completely flat on her back for a spa treatment. This is particularly crucial at 30+ weeks or in the case of any high risk pregnancy. The expectant mum should ideally lie on the massage table in a similar way to how a pregnant woman is taught to sleep: On her side, or slightly elevated, propped up and supported by cushions
- Do ask what type of support you’ll get: Some spa brands have created special body support systems: Elemis, for example, massages pregnant women on huge custom-made beanbags on the floor to make the experience as comfortable and safe as possible
Other spas have ‘body pillows’ that feature a gap allowing the pregnant woman to face safely down on the massage bed. In properly trained spa therapist’s hands, this can be comfortable and relaxing for women who don’t suffer from lower back pain. Most spas however will conduct their pregnancy spa treatments while lying on your side or slightly sitting up as this tends to suit most women better
- Massage oils and creams used should ideally be organic, or at least fragrance-free (pregnancy can heighten the sense of smell and trigger nausea in anyone suffering from morning sickness). Stimulating aromatherapy essential oils or strongly detoxifying ingredients such as algae should be avoided. Certain spa brands have specially formulated products for pregnancy. Victoria Beckham for example tweeted that Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil was what saved her skin from stretch marks. Well if it’s good enough for her…
- When having a facial, be sure not to have one that includes anti-ageing Retinoids commonly used to help combat wrinkles and pigmentation issues. This vitamin A derivative can be harmful to the foetus in high doses (remember up to 60% of products can absorb into the skin and enter the bloodstream).
Besides, the combination of hormonal change and harsh ingredients could aggravate your skin sensitivity, even if you have used the same products many times before
- Do let the team at SpaSeekers know about any special dietary requirements so that we can pass on the message to your chosen spa. Pregnancy spa packages tend to include exclusions such as soft cheese etc. However, be aware that you may need to double check with the kitchens prior to your order if dining as part of a more relaxed baby shower party. It’s better to be safe and that way you can relax and celebrate the exciting news with friends! Click here for baby shower packages
Return to SpaSeekers’ Pregnancy Guides