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Pampering Yourself during Pregnancy: Are Salon Treatments Safe?

There is nothing like a manicure and pedicure, a new haircut or hair color to make you feel like a new woman. Especially when a pregnancy can leave you feeling tired and changing hormones can make you feel not quite yourself. But are these treatments safe for your developing baby? Exposure to certain environmental agents called teratogens during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Experts are divided on how much exposure is too much but at this time there are no proven risks for most salon visits and there are many things you can do to help minimize any potential problems.

Nails
Reducing your exposure to fumes is the most important thing you can do when getting a manicure. Ask your manicurist to do your nails in a well ventilated area and ask her to tightly cap all solvent bottles. Your nail polish should be formaldehyde and toluene free if possible. There is a small risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV or hepatitis being transferred by non-sterile equipment through nicks in the cuticle. When getting acrylic nails, make sure your nail technician is careful about minimizing the skin contact with the liquids used. Be most careful when in the first trimester.

Pedicures
Pedicure massages, especially when focused on reflex points on the feet can trigger labor. Avoid any kind of foot massage during the first trimester. Also avoid ankle massages even during the second and third trimester. Blood clots are six times more common in pregnant women. Foot and leg massages can dislodge clots if the pressure of the massage is too deep. The temperature of your foot bath should not be too hot. Again, your polish should be formaldehyde and toluene free if possible.

Essential Oils
Some essential oils known as emmenagogues can encourage menstruation and should be avoided during the first trimester. Make sure your pedicure technician knows which herbal oils are safe.

Hair Dye
Experts disagree on how much dye may be absorbed by the body and there are many doctors who think it’s perfectly fine to get your hair dyed during pregnancy. You might want to be on the safe side and just get your hair frosted, highlighted or streaked where there is minimal contact with your scalp. Be wary of natural dyes that can still contain synthetic chemicals. Pure vegetable henna can be an alternative but not everybody will want a red-orange hue. If you do choose to have your hair dyed, be aware that changing hormones can affect the way the dye affects your hair color.

Tanning Beds
You should definitely pass on this salon treatment. Excessive heat exposure is dangerous for your pregnancy and over exposure to UV light can interfere with your immune system.

There are salons and day spas that cater exclusively to pregnant women. For peace of mind, you may want to find a salon that understands your special needs during your pregnancy.

by Cyndra Neal

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