Pregnancy is a tumultuous period in a woman’s life. From swollen ankles to hormone fluctuations, every day presents a new challenge. On days when it all feels like too much, nothing is more welcome than a luxurious spa treatment.
While there’s no reason pregnant clients can’t enjoy a day at the spa, certain treatments are better suited than others. Here’s what you should know about spa treatments for pregnant clients and how to safely (and effectively) administer them.
What Treatments Are Safe for Pregnant Clients?
Pregnancy is a time of change and skincare treatments that may previously have been safe and effective may no longer be recommended. Expectant mothers put their baby’s needs before their own, but everyone deserves a little pampering now and then. A spa day is a great way to relax and unwind for pregnant clients but, as a skincare professional, it’s your duty to understand and explain which treatments are safe.
Generally speaking, facials are safe for expectant mothers but not all services are. Many women experience increased skin sensitivity during pregnancy, so it’s important to conduct a thorough intake and in-depth skin analysis prior to treatment.
The following treatments are generally safe for pregnant clients:
- Deep Cleanse – Clean skin is healthy skin, whether your client is pregnant or not. Not only can a deep cleansing treatment renew the client’s skin but it’s a great opportunity for some relaxing facial massage.
- Exfoliation – Many pregnant women experience an increase in acne due to fluctuating hormones, so exfoliation is important. Stick to light physical exfoliants and be sure to use a gentle touch. Chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) may increase sun sensitivity or irritate sensitive skin but low-concentration (5% or under) glycolic acid exfoliants are generally considered safe.
- Masks and Moisturizers – There’s never a bad time for moisturization. Pregnant women often find that their skin becomes oilier, so it’s important to balance hydration levels using lightweight products that won’t clog the pore or further increase oil production.
- Oxygen Therapy – An oxygen facial is a great option for pregnant women because it is completely safe and very relaxing. These treatments boost circulation and may help improve the tone and texture of skin.
- Steam Facials – The use of steam is standard in many spa facials to help cleanse the skin, open the pores, and boost product absorption. Steam is safe for use with pregnant clients.
- LED Therapy – Another non-invasive treatment, LED therapy can be beneficial for pregnant clients struggling with acne. It may also help boost collagen production for an anti-aging lift.
- Hydrating Facials – These treatments utilize ultra-moisturizing creams and serums paired with facial massage to intensely hydrate the skin.
Though it may seem obvious, it’s worth mentioning that harsh and invasive skin treatments are best avoided during pregnancy. For example: microdermabrasion, while minimally invasive, can irritate or even damage sensitive skin. Chemical peels and other intensive acne treatments may need to be scaled back during pregnancy as well.
Dos and Don’ts for Treating Pregnant Clients
Just because a client is pregnant doesn’t mean they’re fragile. You may need to take certain precautions for the client’s safety, but there’s no reason to walk on eggshells. A spa treatment should be a moment of relaxation – an hour when the client can step away from stress and simply enjoy something.
There’s no formula for the perfect treatment for pregnant clients, but there are a few things you should focus on and some you should avoid. Here are a few quick and easy dos and don’ts:
Do assess your client’s level of comfort.
Start the treatment as you normally would with a detailed intake and skin analysis. This is a good opportunity to inquire about the client’s past experience with professional facials and to get an idea what they’re hoping to gain from the experience.
Don’t make any assumptions.
Pregnancy is an intensely personal experience, and no two pregnancies are the same. Don’t make assumptions about how your client is feeling – ask questions instead. Avoid probing but give the client opportunities to provide direction if they want to.
Do let your client hold the reins during the treatment.
Every client is different in terms of what they want regarding communication and physical touch during a treatment. During pregnancy, however, a client may feel particularly stressed or anxious so it’s wise to check in from time to time and give the client options when it’s appropriate.
Don’t assume the client’s skin hasn’t changed.
If your client is a regular, you probably already have an understanding of their skin and their typical at-home skincare routine. Pregnancy can induce changes in the skin – particularly its sensitivity – so it’s essential that you ask questions to identify any skin changes the client has experienced.
Do make stress relief your primary goal.
While it’s important to identify and address the client’s skin concerns, pregnant clients often benefit most from simply having a little time to relax. This can end up being a positive experience for both the mother and baby. Go above and beyond to create a relaxing atmosphere in the treatment room from the moment your client steps in. This can end up being a positive relaxing experience for both the mother and unborn baby.
Though the order of events may not change throughout a treatment for pregnant clients, there are certain points that deserve more emphasis. Always start with a skin analysis and ask questions to get a feel for the state of the client’s skin. Take advantage of opportunities to educate the client throughout the process, explaining why they might be seeing certain changes in their skin and what they can do at home to manage those changes.
Tips for Creating a Comfortable Experience
Pregnancy changes a person, and not just in the most obvious ways. Many women experience changes in their senses during pregnancy – certain smells may suddenly become overwhelming, or they may find their body’s more sensitive to changes in temperature. You can’t control every single detail of the client’s experience, but there are certain things you can tweak to improve the client’s comfort.
Here are a few things to check in with your client about:
- Temperature – You may not be able to make immediate changes to the temperature in the room, but you can make adjustments like turning on a heating pad or using a fan.
- Music Level – Regardless of pregnancy, every client has their own preferences for how loud they like the background music to be during a treatment.
- Fragrance – It’s best to use artificial fragrance-free products with pregnant clients because their sense of smell may be heightened, and strong fragrances can trigger headaches or nausea.
- Pressure – When administering facial massage, check in with the client about the amount of pressure you’re applying.
- Conversation – Some clients prefer to relax in silence during a treatment while others may appreciate the opportunity to talk, so ask your client ahead of time.
- Bolsters – Your treatment room may be equipped with an adjustable chair, but it still doesn’t hurt to offer the client a knee bolster to relieve pressure on the lower back.
Every client deserves to enjoy a comfortable and relaxing spa experience that is catered to their unique needs. Pregnant clients present a bit of a challenge but properly educating your staff and outfitting your spa ensures that you’ll be able to rise to the occasion.