Relax and Unwind

Simple precautions can keep you safe (and oh-so-mellow) at the spa.

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Pregnancy is the perfect time to get pampered, but keep in mind that your changing body requires unique precautions. "There are three main rules for spa treatments during pregnancy: avoid heat, fumes and lying flat on your back," says Kimberly Gregory, M.D., an OB-GYN at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms raise your body temperature high enough to harm fetal development; keep water or air temperatures below 100° F and indulge for no more than 10 minutes. Go ahead and have a facial, but select a treatment formulated for sensitive skin--pregnancy hormones tend to make skin more prone to irritation.

Wait until the second trimester to get a massage, and only see a certified prenatal massage therapist. Massage tables with "cutouts" allow pregnant women to lie belly-down but should be avoided since lower-back and uterine-ligament strain could result; an experienced prenatal massage therapist will have you lie on your side with a body pillow. Some aromatherapy essential oils, including rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint, can cause nausea or contractions, so opt only for pregnancy-safe scents such as lavender, rose and jasmine.

No matter how you treat yourself, enjoy your "me time." It's the last you'll have for a long while!

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