Safe Preggy Beauty 101

Found this very informative article on Expectant mommies might want to read on :) The original URL link for the article is

Which products are not safe to use while you’re pregnant? The experts give you the 411 on your top concerns.

1. ”Can I get a massage while pregnant?” 
Massages are relaxing, can reduce swelling in the arms and legs, can improve labor outcomes and the newborn baby’s health. But “visit only a licensed massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage,” stresses Stephanie Hipos, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center and at the DLS-STI Megaclinic. “Massaging certain pressure points in the body is believed to trigger uterine contractions in some women."

Given the increased incidences of miscarriages associated with massages during the first trimester of pregnancy, you should consult your doctor first before getting one, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy or a delicate condition such as pre-eclampsia or preterm labor. Steam rooms or saunas must also be avoided as these may cause dehydration.

2. “Is it safe to get a leg wax while I am pregnant?”  
Ma. Kathrina Mari, M.D., visiting consultant and obstetrician-gynecologist at the FEU-NRMF Medical Center, says, “Yes. But if you have hypertension, vaginal spotting, or uterine cramps, you should avoid waxing as the pain might aggravate your condition.” 

3. “I hear some nail polishes are dangerous for pregnant women. Is this true? What should I watch out for?” 
Small amounts of DBP (dibutyl phthalate), a main chemical in nail polish formula, may not cause harm, but further studies are still necessary.

4. “Can I dye my hair while pregnant? Is it okay to use henna dyes?” 
“Wait until after the first trimester before using hair dyes,” advises Dr. Hipos. “It is during this time that your unborn child is at greatest risk from outside pollutants and chemicals.” Select hair dyes which require the least contact with the scalp and are applied for the least time possible. Treatments containing ammonia should be avoided. ““I waited until I was in my second trimester (before I had this done), after the 16 to 20 week ultrasound showed there were no complications with the baby,” recalls Hershey Filoteo-Velasco, a registered nurse and mom to Riley, 2, and Connor Reese, 8 months.

According to Dr. Mari, natural hair dyes such as henna are safe to use during pregnancy.

5. “Is it safe to get a facial or a diamond peel while pregnant?” 
Facials or mechanical peels are safe but extra care should be given when performing these on pregnant women.

6. “Now that I am pregnant, what chemicals/ingredients found in beauty products should I avoid? How can these harm my unborn child?” 

The following is a list of ingredients to be wary of in beauty products:
  • Accutane or Retinoic Acid.Usually prescribed to treat acne, this may cause birth defects such as retardation and heart ailments.
  • Anti-aging products containing high doses of vitamin A. “Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects in babies,” says Dr. Hipos.
  • Salicylic acid. This is found in anti-acne, exfoliating, and anti-aging products. Complications in pregnancy have been reported due to aspirin intake, and salicylic acid is considered part of the aspirin family.
  • Parabens. A common preservative in many skin care products, research has shown that it has an adverse effect on the reproductive system of baby boys.
  • Phathalates. “This could be listed as DBP in products like nail polish, deodorant, hair 
    spray, or perfume,” says Dr. Hipos. A high quantity of phathalates in a preggy woman’s body can cause changes in the genitals of male babies.
  • Hydrocortisone. A topical cream used to treat acne, it is believed to put the fetus at risk for birth defects. More studies have yet to be conducted.
  • Lead. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says that “pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because lead easily crosses the placenta and may enter the fetal brain and interfere with brain development.
7. “Is it safe to get a foot spa? One spa salon refused to give me a foot treatment because of my pregnancy.” 
Yes, it is safe. Since foot spas only consist of soaking the feet in warm water and scrubbing off rough skin, it is harmless. It also helps ease painful ankles.

8. “My nightly beauty ritual consists of a whitening treatment and an anti-aging moisturizer. Are these still safe for me to use now that I am pregnant?” 
“Most skin whiteners contain retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A, which is not safe to use during pregnancy,” says Dr. Mari. “Hydroquinone and mercury are main ingredients found in skin bleaching or whitening creams, and are considered toxic chemicals,” explains Dr. Hipos. “These chemical compounds can cause side effects, and should only be used as directed.”

9. “My skin’s breaking out! Help! Can I use my regular anti-acne cream?” 
Pimple creams that normally contain retinol, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid should be avoided.
“Vitamin A and its derivatives (retinols, including Retin-A, and retinoids) have been proven to cause birth defects, especially in the first trimester,” says Dr. Mari. Salicylic acid, on the other hand, has been associated with a heightened risk for miscarriages when taken during the first trimester. Cleansers and toners should only contain two percent salicylic acid at most.

10. “Is it safe to get a body scrub and a body wax while I’m pregnant?” 
Yes. Aromatherapy oils can either be pleasant or may trigger dizziness or vomiting. “Essential oils that have been tested and have been found to be safe in pregnancy include rose, eucalyptus, lemon, mandarin, frankincense, and lavender,” says Dr. Mari.

A body wax is also safe because it is not absorbed by the skin, although this may be more painful because a pregnant woman’s skin tends to be overly sensitive.
11. “Are there safe sunblocks to use for pregnant women?” 
Yes. “It is actually beneficial to use sunscreen because pregnant women have more active melanocytes that cause skin pigmentations or melasma,” explains Dr. Hipos. Look for sunblocks which contain transparent zinc oxide, micronized zinc oxideor titanium dioxide, as these are deemed safe.

Avoid sunblocks and sunscreens with oxybenzone, which has been linked to babies with low birthweight. “If you want to be ultra-cautious, you can use one of the non-chemical varieties,” suggests Dr. Mari.

12. “Is it safe to get a hot oil treatment while pregnant?” 
Yes. Hot oil formulations contain oil, water, and fragrances which are not harmful to the fetus. Just be careful not to burn yourself if you’re doing it yourself at home.

13. “I am taking glutathione pills. Can I continue taking these even while I am pregnant?” 
Yes. “Being an antioxidant, glutathione pills should not cause any harmful effects on the fetus,” says Dr. Mari.

14. “Are hair remover lotions safe for me to use while pregnant?” 
No. “Avoid depilatories (cream hair removers) because the chemicals seep into the pores and loosen hair follicles,” advises Dr. Mari. The main concern with depilatories is the presence of the active ingredients barium sulfide powder and calcium thioglycolate.

15. “I like to use liniment muscle pain relievers for my aching muscles. Are these safe for pregnant women?”
“Since these muscle pain relievers are applied topically, the risk to the fetus is thought to be small,” says Dr. Mari.

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