They say that life can get a little hectic once a new baby comes along…. And they’re right! The truth is that, while those first few years are filled with magic and wonder, they also whizz by in a blur, and between feeding and playgroups and learning and having fun, it can often be hard to find time for you.
That’s why your pregnancy should be time to celebrate you. Now is the perfect time to tick all those items off your self care to-do list, really pamper and take care of yourself, and just feel great about you.
But how do you really know what’s safe during pregnancy… and what isn’t?
Visit 10 different websites and you’ll see 10 different opinions on what’s safe during pregnancy and what’s not! There is so much conflicting information out there, and when this information gets caught up amongst the old wives tales too, it becomes even harder to understand what’s safe during pregnancy.
That’s why we’re here to clear up all the confusion. We’ve worked our way through a bunch of scientific research to debunk 5 of the most common beauty myths for pregnant women. Here’s what we found:
Myth 1: You’ll Have an Envious Glow for 9 Months
Wouldn’t that be nice? Honestly, there is a touch of truth in the infamous pregnancy glow. As your hormone levels change throughout your pregnancy, you can experience mild facial flushing and excess sebum which really does give you a bit of a shine and keeps your skin looking youthful and healthy.
But here’s the kicker: the ‘glow’ may not stick around for the full 9 months of pregnancy… and some women don’t experience it at all. In fact, during that first trimester when you’re nauseated, and that last trimester when you’re waddling like a penguin, it can be tricky to feel glowy at all! But don’t worry. If you’re not feeling glow-worthy, simply book a treatment at your local salon. You’ll be surprised at just how much a new haircut, a hand massage, or a gentle facial can change how you feel about yourself.
Myth 2: You’ll Have to Deal With Being Stinky
Did you know that perfume is one of the most heavily avoided products amongst pregnant women? The reason is that many perfumes contain phthalates, which have been associated with premature births.
The good news is that the risk may not be as significant as we think. In fact, phthalates are all around us most of the time. They’re actually found in many meat and dairy products, and research suggests that the risk is very low, especially if you’re eating lots of Omega-3 rich foods during pregnancy. But even if you don’t want to use perfume when pregnant, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with being stinky! There are some pretty good natural options for smelling great. But be warned… your sense of smell can change during pregnancy, and some fragrances may not smell too good to you!
Myth 3: Mani-Pedis are a Big No-No
Nail care is one area where it’s really tricky to say with any confidence exactly what’s safe during pregnancy. Research is very inconclusive, but one thing that most professionals agree on is that it’s generally a good idea to avoid contact with solvents and chemicals when you’re pregnant.
This means that a lot of women choose to stay away from acetone-based nail polish removers and TPHP-based polish. But that’s no excuse for letting your nails become all jagged and broken! In fact, mani-pedi’s still get two very big thumbs up… as long as you choose the right products. Chemical-free nail products are pretty much everywhere these days, and they don’t cost the earth, either. You CAN keep your nails looking strong and healthy during pregnancy, so don’t be afraid to say yes to a little bit of pampering!
Myth 4: You Need to Eat for Two
Let’s get one thing clear: putting on weight in pregnancy is completely normal! But for women who take pride in maintaining a healthy, slim, and svelte figure, it can take a little while to get used to the changes. But here’s something you may not know… your body probably doesn’t need to gain as much weight as you think it does to grow a happy, healthy baby.
The ‘eating for two’ myth is just crazy! In fact, Queensland Government states that a ‘normal’ amount of pregnancy weight gain is between 11.5 – 16kg, which equates to around an extra 300 calories per day across the 9 months. But make no mistake… growing a baby is hard work! If you do feel hungry, it’s healthier to stick to hearty meals filled with lots of veggies and other good stuff. We absolutely love this filling, veg-packed recipe for Nonna’s lentil soup.
Myth 5: Smothering Yourself in Cocoa Butter Keeps Stretch Marks at Bay
Cocoa butter, shea butter, Vitamin E… these are all ingredients that are said to help reduce or even prevent the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy. Wishful thinking? It sure is! The truth is that while smothering yourself in thick moisturisers will leave you with beautifully soft skin, it’s not particularly effective at combating stretch marks.
Stretch marks will happen if they want to happen, and unfortunately there’s not much to be done about them. They occur because as your baby grows bigger, your body changes quicker than the skin can accommodate, and no amount of lotion will change that. What you can do is embrace these changes! Remember: they’re not permanent! In fact, most stretch marks fade to an almost undetectable silver colour after pregnancy, so don’t waste time worrying!
Pregnancy is Tough… You’re Tougher!
It’s definitely important to look after yourself and your baby during pregnancy, but the pregnant body isn’t quite as vulnerable as you may think! Of course, advice is out there for a reason. It helps us to understand the potential risks and to make our own minds up about what we consider to be safe or unsafe, and about what we consider to be myth or reality.
Due to ethics and the sheer diversity that comes along with genetics, it’s almost impossible to say with 100% confidence that pregnant women should be doing this, or shouldn’t be doing that. Be you. If you’re not happy with a beauty treatment during pregnancy, that’s OK.. If you are, that’s OK too. Taking care of you means taking care of your baby.