Beauty and the bump

We look at what beauty treatments you can and can’t indulge, when pregnant
By Tamlyn Vincent

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Looking good in summer is something we all enjoy, and having a baby bump doesn’t stop women from wanting to look and feel their best. But being pregnant does mean that you have to think carefully before you head off for your summer spray tan.
These beauty treatments and products get the go ahead, some with a few provisos.
  • Massage Having a massage can go a long way to easing the strains and pains of pregnancy, but ask for a therapist trained in pregnancy massage. If your bump is bulging, you’ll want to avoid lying on your stomach.
  • Manis and pedis Having your nails done is fine, but the smell may be overwhelming, so have your nails done in a well-ventilated room. If you’re worried about the fumes, ask for a phthalate-free nail polish or take your own to the nail salon.
  • Hair treatments Using hair dye shouldn’t be a problem, although highlights are a better option as the dye won’t come into contact with the scalp. Don’t dye your hair in the first trimester and avoid treatments where products are sitting on your scalp, especially for an extended time. Products with ammonia or other harsh chemicals should also be avoided.
  • Sunscreen As your skin is likely to be more sensitive when you’re pregnant, sunscreen is a must. Look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens, which sit on the top of the skin. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun at peak hours and to wear protective clothing.
  • Hair removal Waxing can be done while pregnant, as nothing is absorbed into the bloodstream. But increased blood circulation means it will be more painful, especially in sensitive areas, says Jeanne Labuschagne, assistant manageress at a day spa in Pretoria. Laser hair removal is not safe.
  • Make-up Wearing make-up shouldn’t pose any risk to your baby. If you’re worried, go for products that are noncomedogenic and nonacnegenic, which should prevent clogged pores. It’s ideal to look for paraben-, phthalate- and lead- free cosmetics.
  • Facials If all the pregnancy hormones are giving you acne, or if you just feel like indulging, a facial is the way to go. Try out a natural facial, and test products on the skin first. Avoid treatments that use any harsh chemicals, retinoids or salicylic acid. Ask to be propped up in the second and third trimester.
  • Acupuncture These treatments would need to be done by a registered therapist, says Labuschagne, and you should speak to your doctor first about whether acupuncture would help. The same applies for reflexology.
  • Tanning treatments Spray tanning and bronzing treatments are safe, says Labuschagne. But avoid things like tanning beds, where your body temperature rises.
If your beauty routine does include any of the following, wait until you have had your baby, or until you’ve finished breastfeeding, before continuing them.
  • Body wraps, saunas, spas, hot stones or any treatment where your body temperature rises
  • Botox or anti-wrinkle creams with Retinol
  • Piercings or tattoos
  • Tanning beds (to avoid at all times)
  • Teeth whitening
Always tell your beauty therapists that you’re pregnant before they begin your treatment. If you’re not sure something is safe, speak to your doctor or wait until after you have finished breastfeeding. The golden rule is, if a product can be absorbed into your bloodstream, it is potentially dangerous to your baby.

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