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How to Adjust Your Beauty Routine for a Healthy Pregnancy

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When you get pregnant, your beauty regimen, like eating and exercising, takes on a whole different meaning. It’s not just you going to the salon alone anymore; your baby is going with you. Naturally, you may be wondering if you can still proceed with your beauty business as usual.


You don’t have to sacrifice beauty for your baby. Here are some tips and tricks for moms-to-be to ensure healthy and safe pampering.


Don’t go crazy, just make small changes.


  • Small changes can make your beauty routine healthier for you and your baby.
  • You don’t have to sacrifice everything, just try to avoid unnecessary chemicals and make sure to indulge where you can.


Haircuts and dyes: style away, stay natural.


  • Ask for an extra long shampoo session and a soothing head massage when you get your hair done.
  • Get as many haircuts, blow-dries, and updos as you want—nothing bad about being a fab mom!
  • Try to avoid having all-over color done in the first trimester if you can. Studies have shown that these chemicals have very limited systemic absorption and are unlikely to cause harm to your baby, but because they rest on your scalp for a longer period of time, better safe than sorry!
  • Switch to natural hair products if you do need all-over color. Look for vegetable-based dyes or henna. Try to avoid ammonia, peroxide, or other harsh chemicals. These chemicals are not only stronger on the scalp, but have a strong odor as well, which can irritate sensitive noses and tummies.
  • Try to avoid straighteners and perms for the same reasons; strong fumes from the chemicals can cause sensitivity. If you can’t go without straightening, perming, or coloring your hair, wait until after the first trimester. That is when the baby is the most sensitive to chemicals.
  • Remember that the texture of your hair changes in pregnancy. It may become more curly or straighter and usually grows faster from all those hormones and prenatal vitamins, so your usual straightening or perming routine might not give you the same results.
  • Highlights are a great option in any trimester because the dye doesn’t typically touch the scalp and is encased in foil. Just have them applied in a well-ventilated area especially if the fumes are bothering you.


Manicures: don’t inhale, massage those feet.


  • Say yes to the foot massage during pedicures. Massages help with reducing swelling and promoting circulation. In the third trimester, you may have trouble seeing your feet, let alone reaching them, so you might as well take advantage and have someone do the work for you.
  • Don’t shave your legs right before a pedicure. Small cuts in the skin make you more prone to infections. This goes for whether you are pregnant or not.
  • Make sure the instruments your nail technician uses are sterile, or bring your own from home, that way you know exactly where your file and cuticle trimmer have been.
  • Ask for a non-acetone nail-polish remover and pick a polish that doesn’t include DBP, formaldehyde, phthalates, or toluene on the ingredient list. There’s no clear evidence that these chemicals are harmful to your child, but it’s another opportunity to play it safe. Alternatively, you can always just buff or file to give your nails a nice shine.
  • You may want to skip the acrylic nails. The acrylic and gel compounds that are used will not cause problems with the baby, but during the removal process the acrylic resin dust flies! If you can’t do without your nails, make sure to wear a mask for the appointment, just like your nail technician does and make sure it is done in a well-ventilated area.


Full-body massage: indulge, and go prenatal


  • Schedule as many massages as you’d like. Massages are great for you, both mentally and physically to soothe sore muscles and increased stress. They also boost your circulation and decrease swelling.
  • Choose someone who’s experienced with prenatal massages. Many spas offer this type of treatment, where the therapist is trained in safe positioning and padding for pregnant tummies. Some may even have a special pregnancy table with a hole for your belly. How comfy is that?


Facials and body scrubs: skip the peels, avoid abrasions.


  • Go ahead and indulge—but, you may want to skip the harsher chemical peels.
  • Chemical peels that contain glycolic acids are considered safe during pregnancy. Salicylic acids should be avoided especially in large amounts (the small amounts in over-the-counter acne medicine are fine, so don’t worry if your usual face product contains them). Retinol and Accutane should never be used in pregnancy.


Waxing: painful, but worry-free.


  • There are no recommended limitations here, just be aware that your skin may be more sensitive during pregnancy, but if you want to wax go for it, your baby won’t feel a thing. 
  • Make sure that the salon doesn’t double dip, they should be using a new stick every time they dip into the pot of melted wax. This is not a time you want to worry about getting an infection.


You can get more knowledge and insight from Dr. Herold and other leading medical experts, and experienced community members on HealthTap, the first free interactive expert health companion that gives you relevant, tailored information to help you make better health decisions.


Dr. Amy Herold, medical director, HealthTap

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