Frequently Asked Questions about Beauty Treatments and Massages while Pregnant answered by Los Angeles Obstetrician Dr. Thais Aliabadi
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Q: Can I have a massage while I am pregnant?
For most women, the answer is yes! Pregnancy massage can be wonderfully beneficial for expectant mothers. With that said, if you are:
- Experiencing morning sickness or nausea
- At an increased risk for miscarriage
- Carrying a high-risk pregnancy
Then you may want to avoid massage or consult with your doctor first. Your therapist may require a note from your OB-GYN authorizing massage therapy.
Q: I have heard that having a massage in the first trimester could cause a miscarriage. Is that true?
There is no strong evidence to back up this rumor, mainly because there have been no rigorous studies conducted to even suggest a link between a first trimester massage and miscarriage. Pregnancy massage experts have worked to dispel this rumor. Nevertheless, many massage therapists will refuse to perform a massage in your first trimester to avoid any potential liability issues. Ask your doctor for advice if you have concerns.
Q: What are the benefits to having a massage while pregnant?
Massages can help you relax and feel great during pregnancy. In general, massage can be a great way to relieve pain and boost your body’s immune system. Additionally, a few studies have suggested that massage during pregnancy can:
- Reduce leg and back pain
- Decrease anxiety
- Reduce levels of norepinephrine and cortisol – hormones that indicate stress
- Increase production of serotonin and dopamine – hormones that elevate your mood
- Improve sleep patterns
Q: What makes a pregnancy massage different from a typical massage?
Many massage practitioners are trained in providing pregnancy massage, and some may use a specially-designed pregnancy massage table to accommodate your changing body. If your massage therapist doesn’t have a pregnancy table, a pillow can be used to prop your body onto its side. This is typically the most comfortable position for you during the late half of your pregnancy.
A massage therapist also may use different techniques with a pregnant client. Generally, pregnant women are at a higher risk of blood clots in the legs. For that reason, massage therapists should avoid using deep tissue techniques and firm pressure on the legs. They should instead use light strokes working towards the heart. Only light pressure should be used on the belly.
Q: Can I color my hair while pregnant?
While it’s true that a small amount of chemicals can be absorbed through the scalp and enter your bloodstream, most experts agree that dying your hair while pregnant is not harmful to the baby. However, if the risk concerns you, you can ask for highlights instead of an all-over color. This dramatically reduces the amount of chemicals in direct contact with your scalp. You could also try a plant-based dye, such as henna.
Some doctors will advise waiting until your second trimester before coloring your hair. If you are coloring your hair yourself, be sure to use a well-ventilated area and follow the directions carefully. Wear latex or vinyl gloves, and never leave chemicals on your scalp for longer than the time recommended in the instructions.
Q: Can I have a manicure or pedicure while pregnant?
Yes, as long as the salon follows standard hygiene and sterilization practices. While any infection that affects you could have an impact on your baby, the risk of infection is minimal when your salon exercises sanitation guidelines as outlined by OSHA and mandated by law.
Q: Can I have my hair waxed while pregnant?
Yes. There’s no reason why pregnant women can’t have their hair waxed while pregnant, including their pubic hair. In fact, many women find that their hair grows thicker and darker than usual during pregnancy, and look to waxing for a solution.
Keep in mind that your skin may be more sensitive during pregnancy. If you’re concerned about pain, you can try applying lotion to your skin before and after your waxing appointment. This can also cut down on swelling and redness.