Beauty for Bumps
What products to use and what to avoid can cause confusion for pregnant women.
Pregnancy is a time for women to really pamper themselves and relax, but recent headlines may prompt some mums-to-be to empty their bathroom cabinet in a blind panic.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is recommending that pregnant women should be told about the various ways they might be exposed to chemicals, for example in household and cosmetic products, in order to cut the risk of harm to their unborn baby.
With no official antenatal advice in place, the report has drawn criticism for causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Tany Mackay, co-founder of skincare range Mama Mio, says: "The issue is specific ingredients, not cosmetic or personal care products in general.
"Women should be led to educate themselves by understanding specifically what to avoid and reading the list of ingredients, not being terrified into not using anything."
Your bump doesn't have to come between you and your beauty - just adapt to a new baby-on-board routine.
STORK SECRET: FIRST TRIMESTER
So you've just discovered you're pregnant. There's no need to re-stock your cosmetic haul entirely but take the time to scour ingredient lists on products and avoid spa treatments during the first trimester, to allow the baby to develop safely. Always discreetly alert a therapist if you're unsure.
"At Mama Mio, we don't include anything that's on the questionable list for pregnant women - parabens, petrochemicals, xenoestrogens, phthalates SLS, and synthetic colours," explains Sian Sutherland, Mama Mio co-founder.
"You're better off with a properly preserved product when pregnant, so don't worry about seeking out skincare that is 'preservative-free' - you want it to be stable.
"However, pure oils don't need a preservative system so if you're keen to find something 'unpreserved', go for sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil."
Your bump may be minimal at this stage, but other changes could be occurring with your skin, like imbalances, rashes, acne or discoloration. Any skin changes will return back to normal when your hormones regulate, so don't panic.
PREGNANT PAMPER: SECOND TRIMESTER
Your bump will grow at a dramatic rate, so this is the time to really invest in stretch mark prevention by keeping your skin smooth and supple with nourishing potions.
Rubbing your bump is a great way of bonding with your baby but don't make the mistake of focusing solely on your tummy. With the average woman gaining around 12.5kg (27.6lb) during pregnancy, you need to aim to increase the elasticity of your skin from your bust to your thighs.
"Tackle stretch marks before they appear by lavishing key areas, including your bump, with a stretch mark oil as frequently as possible," advises Nichola Joss, Sanctuary Spa skincare expert.
"Body oils are great straight after a bath or warm shower, massaging into the skin using small circular motions. Keep away from essential oils and try carrier oils, such as almond, coconut, grape seed or rice oil instead."
If your boobs are growing faster than your bra can keep up with, invest in a bust cream to keep your chest firm and avoid sagging afterwards.
BOUNTIFUL BUMP: THIRD TRIMESTER
You may be close to shutting down your computer for maternity leave, but the hard work of carrying a baby is a full-time job that can really take its toll on your body.
When your bump is almost full-term, a professional massage may feel too intimate, so enlist your partner in regular relaxation rituals and take full advantage of the situation.
"Massage hydrates skin as well as relaxing muscles that are working extra hard throughout pregnancy," says Joss. "It will release happy endorphins, promote better circulation, and reduce water retention."
As pregnancy progresses, legs and feet can become heavy and retain fluid, so work up and around the legs, ankles and knees for instant relief.
"Large, sweeping strokes should be used by anyone massaging a pregnant woman - no pressure should be used," Joss advises. "It must be kept gentle and flowing to ensure total relaxation, and keep away from the tummy area; let mum-to-be do this herself but very gently."