Spa treatments for pregnant women

Janine Irvine, Managing Director of Mama Mio South Africa answers some questions about the safety of pregnancy spa treatments.

Why should pregnant mothers go for spa treatments?

Benefits of visiting spas during pregnancy:
  • It reduces the anxiety and stress by stimulating endocrine changes that promote rest and relaxation and support a healthy functioning state
  • It increases blood circulation for the mother, the placenta and the baby
  • It reduces musculoskeletal tension and pain associated with hormonal changes, weight pain, postural changes and daily activities
  • It reduces back pain, improves mood and promotes better sleep
  • It develops the sensory and movement awareness, flexibility and relaxation that is beneficial for the labour and birth
  • It reduces the risk of pregnancy complications including preterm labour
  • It reduces labour and neonatal complications
  • It contributes to nurturing maternal behaviour and stronger mother/infant bonding
  • It reduces the incidence of postpartum depression, especially in women who experienced depression during their pregnancies
Lots of mothers-to-be are wary of going to the spa when pregnant. Are they safe?

There are a few reasons why pregnant moms do not want to visit spas during pregnancy:

Lack of maternity spa treatments and packages available

Up until recently most spas and salons turned away pregnant clients saying that they are not allowed to have spa treatments during pregnancy. As a consolation the spa would offer a manicure, pedicure or facial. The frustration to the pregnant client was that these treatment didn’t address their biggest concerns being aching joints, painful back and hips muscles, water retention and stretch marks.

The good news: There are a variety of safe luxurious spa treatments designed specifically for the maternity market. Latest offerings also include half and full day spa packages and maternity spa memberships.

Fear of causing harm to their unborn baby

The fear of causing harm to your unborn baby is a real and valid concern. There are certain treatments and ingredients that need to be avoided during this period, and it is important to be pampered by a well-qualified therapist in a reputable spa.

One of the first concerns that spring to mind when you hear the word pregnancy and spa in one sentence, is the concern about essential oils. The truth is that there is a list of about only 10 essential oils that may not be used during this time. As a rule of thumb, blends of citrus essential oils are beautiful and safe to use during this time.

The good news:
There are skincare brands on the market that specialise in maternity skincare and spa treatments, offering safe skincare and treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Those are the brands and spas you need to seek out.  

Self-conscious frame of mind
Beaudacious, Bountiful and Bouncy (or Boobs, Bellies and Bottoms). Even though there are few things more beautiful than a pregnant woman, the reality is that only a handful of pregnant woman feel like they look like Penelope Cruz during her 9 month s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

The good news: To the rest of the world, you are beautiful!  And therapists feel extremely privileged to share this special time in your life with you. Spas that cater for the maternity market will ensure that you feel 100% welcome, safe and comfortable. The proof of this lies in even the smallest of detail like comfy gowns that cover you and your glorious bump, bathroom breaks to "powder your nose" and subtle fragrances to please even the most sensitive pregnant nose.

How do maternity spa treatments work:

They work by improving skin tone and increasing skin elasticity throughout your pregnancy. You should start your spa treatments from your 2nd trimester and continue for up to 3 months after you have given birth. These treatments are also designed to relax, soothe and help alleviate some of the common discomforts associated with pregnancy – nourishing parched skin, relieving itchy bellies, rejuvenating heavy legs, assisting circulation, easing tired muscles and tension and reducing water retention. Maternity spa treatments are designed with safety, effectiveness and comfort in mind.

Facilities and spa treatments to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Avoid heat treatments such as sauna, steam, jet baths and heated blankets which will raise the core body temperature.
  • Avoid body wraps which are detoxifying and which will raise the core body temperature.
  • Avoid reflexology (unless performed by a medically qualified reflexology)
When should pregnant woman avoid the spa?

No treatments can be performed during the 1st trimester of pregnancy.

Avoid spa treatments if you have one of the following high risk medical conditions:
  • High risk pregnancies
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Abnormal water retention/oedema
  • Pre-eclampsia
Did you go for spa treatments when you were pregnant? What was your experience?

Mama Mio is sold via top spas and salons around the country. Visit for a stockist near you.

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