Pregnancy pampering: What's safe and what's not?

Between the fluctuating hormones, your changing body, and a whirlwind of baby prep, there are a million reasons you deserve a little extra pampering when you’re pregnant. Massages, mani-pedis, and hair appointments can help you relax and recharge (and maybe even inspire a little confidence boost). But are they safe during pregnancy?

Whether you’re headed to the spa or the salon, you’ll want to make sure you stick to pregnancy-safe products, treatments, and activities. (Good news: there are a lot of these!) Let’s break down how you can show yourself some love and safely pamper yourself during pregnancy.

Between the fluctuating hormones, your changing body, and a whirlwind of baby prep, there are a million reasons you deserve a little extra pampering when you’re pregnant.

Prenatal massage

Massages can help boost your mood, improve sleep and soothe some of the new aches and pains you may experience during pregnancy. They’re generally considered safe after week 12, but you should still follow these safety guidelines:

  • Lie on your side—not your back or stomach—to avoid dizziness, lightheadedness, or uncomfortable nerve pressure.
  • Ask your massage therapist to use only light to medium pressure (deep pressure massage—especially on your abdomen, legs, or feet—could dislodge blood clots and lead to complications). We recommend seeing a therapist certified in prenatal massages. 

Saunas and hot tubs

Unfortunately, you may need to avoid hot tubs, jacuzzis, and steam rooms while you’re pregnant. They’re great for getting your sweat on, but they can also cause your core temperature to rise to levels that may be dangerous during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. If you’re dying for a soak, try taking a warm (not hot) bath instead!

Manicures and pedicures

Manicures (including acrylic nails) and pedicures are generally okay during pregnancy. You may notice the fumes more than usual, though, thanks to the power of super-smell that many people develop during pregnancy. If you’re battling nausea during your appointment, try wearing a mask, drinking carbonated water, and switching to a seat near the door or a nail salon with better ventilation. If all else fails, you may need to do your manis and pedis at home for now.


Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy can have a pretty big impact on your skin—they may give you a beautiful pregnancy glow or leave you dealing with acne and dry, flaky skin. Either way, there’s no reason to avoid showing your face a little extra love during your pregnancy. Just stay away from harsh treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion that may irritate sensitive skin.

Note: While topical salicylic acid is safe during pregnancy, oral and topical retinoids aren’t.

Hair dye

Hair dyes contain a lot of different chemicals, but your scalp does a really good job of blocking them from entering your bloodstream. Still, your provider may recommend waiting to dye your hair until the second trimester, since so much of your baby’s development happens during the first 12 weeks. To reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals:

  • Dye your hair in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear gloves if you’re dying your own hair.
  • Try to dye your hair only once or twice during your pregnancy.
  • Opt for balayage or highlights, so the chemicals in the dye don’t touch your scalp.

Pregnancy puts you through a lot, both physically and emotionally. That’s why it’s so important to make time for some pampering. You have plenty of pregnancy-safe options at the spa and salon, so there’s no excuse not to treat yourself!

Talk with your healthcare provider if you have any questions about what’s safe during pregnancy. and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances. 

Here’s another form of self-care—learning your baby’s sex on your own terms, in your own home. Click here to learn more about our Juno Birch™ Fetal Gender Test.

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January 31, 2023 — Stephanie McClintock