5.83 MB | 14:31 Min
Stacy Denney owns the Barefoot and Pregnant maternity wellness spas, which offer everything from babymoon-getaway packages to world class, specialized pregnancy spa services.
Kate Lennig is a prenatal yoga instructor and massage therapist at The Motherhood Center in Houston, TX. The Motherhood Center offers a full range of services, support and classes to moms-to-be and new parents.
Welcome to your Pea in the Podcast, I’m Bonnie Petrie with everything you need to know about your body, your baby and the big changes ahead in your life in your journey to becoming a mommy.
This week, yeah, you’re pregnant, but you still want to look and feel pretty and healthy.
From keeping your skin clear…
“We have a lot of options available to women, especially when hormones are raging with your skin.”
To keeping your mind clear…
“A lot of times what happens during pregnancy is you get so incredibly tired, so having that stamina, I think, is just incredibly important.”
And dealing with those aches and pains…
“Oh my gosh, acupuncture for me was fabulous for every pain.”
We’re talking to a couple of experts on looking and feeling good during pregnancy in this Pea in the Podcast.
Okay, so you know you’re going to gain weight this pregnancy, that’s just the way it goes, and you know you’re not always going to be totally comfortable, but I bet you didn’t know that your face may become as temperamental as a teenager’s.
“Your skin is changing; the pH balance of your skin is changing, so you dramatically change between extremely dry skin and oily skin that will bring on acne. As well as the mask of pregnancy, which is caused by discoloration with hormones, and the sun can really exacerbate that, as well, so we always say, ’sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen’ which should be your mantra whether you are pregnant or not.”
That is Stacy Denney, she owns a spa specifically for pregnant women in California. They’re called Barefoot and Pregnant. The mask of pregnancy is called malasma. Up to 70% of women can develop these darkened areas of skin…
“Caused by the pigment in the skin, and, as I said, people that have this already will be more prone to it, but women who have never had discoloration can get it in extremes during pregnancy. The good news is that it almost, 80% of the time will be 100% relieved post-pregnancy or will fade significantly and there are things that you can do during pregnancy to really minimize the way it appears. One is SPF, just really make sure that you are keeping that sunscreen on, and there are lightening creams that you can use to help dissipate that discoloration.”
It’s frustrating though, right? You were expecting to glow during your pregnancy. Women with darker complexions are more prone to malasma, or the mask of pregnancy, than women with lighter skin. Denney’s spa offers special facials for women with the mask of pregnancy.
“We have one in particular that is called ‘lighten up’, which is one of my favorites that really does specifically address that mask of pregnancy and the discoloration in the face by moisturizing and using some of the lightening treatments that you can continue to use afterwards to help minimize that discoloration. We also have a signature facial which really helps with hydration which can, again, be a big problem during pregnancy where your skin can become very, very dry; so it’s very important to keep that hydrated.”
This particular facial also promotes increased circulation, which reduces water retention. Denney’s spa also offers full body exfoliation and belly facials. You’re asking a lot of the skin on your belly and it deserves a little bit of attention. Now, I’m a big fan of facials in general, and if you’ve never had one, now is definitely the time to try one. Denney agrees…
“Getting regular facials will really help to keep that pH balance in your skin, as well as nurturing yourself and pampering yourself a little bit before your life becomes even crazier.”
Think about it, sitting back and letting someone pamper and nurture you for a change, it can really inspire you when the strains of pregnancy and anxieties you’re inevitably feeling get you down. And when you walk out of the salon, you look and feel gorgeous. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Looking and feeling pretty goes beyond concerns about your skin, though. It’s hard when you have to buy a whole new wardrobe, right? Maternity clothes can be expensive, but you still want to look cute and hip and pulled together. After all, this isn’t your grandmother’s pregnancy. You don’t have to spend 9 months in a tent dress.
Don’t be afraid of color or body-conscious clothes, you’re working hard to grow that beautiful belly, you might as well show it off. When I was pregnant, I invested in a couple of pricier pieces from those fancy maternity boutiques and mixed them up with more inexpensive pieces from the big box stores, and a lot of them now have their own lines of maternity clothes, and they are pretty cute. You can also check out consignment stores and get lots of designer stuff for bargain basement prices.
And how about your chic friend who is done having babies? Don’t be too proud to borrow or buy some things from her. You’re only going to need these clothes for between 20 and 30 weeks, there’s no need to go broke to look good. The money you save on maternity clothes, you might spend on more facials or massages!
It is hard to feel pretty when you feel like someone just took you into an alley and beat you up, so while you’re getting your weekly facial, you might also consider getting a weekly massage. Kate Lennig is a personal trainer, a massage therapist and a yoga instructor at The Motherhood Center in Houston, Texas, and she says there are many benefits to prenatal massage.
“It helps with their circulation and helping to increase your blood flow, helps to calm the nervous system, it helps you to relax.”
All of these things are very important to looking and feeling good. Better circulation means less swelling, which is a definite plus when you feel like you are blowing up like a balloon. But you can’t go to just any massage therapist, you need one who specializes in pregnant women and may have some special equipment.
“The massage therapist will either have you on a table that has a cutout opening for your stomach or they will have you lying on your side, which, as opposed to a regular massage, you know, your stomach for part of it on a regular table, and then depending on how far along you are, they won’t have you on your back. And then there are certain areas of the body that depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy can stimulate contractions, so whoever who is doing the massage needs to be trained in prenatal massage therapy and know to avoid those certain places, around your ankles, your feet especially at the end there are some trigger points in your feet.”
So don’t let just anybody rub you. Before your massage begins, you can tell your therapist just where you’re really hurting that day and they can focus on it. Lennig says don’t be surprised that while massage therapists do have to avoid some areas on a pregnant woman’s body, they can go really deeply in others. So tell them where you hurt and don’t be surprised if you fall asleep. Lennig says the only time some pregnant women relax enough to sleep easily is during their massage. And Stacy Denney at Barefoot and Pregnant says they offer a massage that gives you a half hour alone on the table after your massage is over in case you fall asleep so you can just nap.
And don’t think that I am exaggerating, either, I had one massage toward the end of my pregnancy. I think it was wonderful. I don’t know for sure because I fell asleep almost immediately, and I didn’t wake up until it was over.
Kate Lennig at the Motherhood Center says another way to relax and feel good about your growing body is take a prenatal yoga class. She says yoga will give you stamina that will help you feel as good about yourself at the end of the day as you did at the beginning.
“A lot of times what happens during pregnancy is you get so incredibly tired, so having that stamina, I think, it just incredibly important. It can help to lower your blood pressure. I had a woman who came to me and we had private yoga sessions together because her doctor said ‘your blood pressure is through the roof, your pulse rate is through the roof, you have two options here – you can either go on blood pressure medication or you can go to yoga’ and I was so happy to hear that there are OBs out there who are suggesting that, because it actually worked for her. When she went back for her visit after doing these prenatal yoga classes and learning to breathe in a certain way, her numbers were lowered. So there are just so many health benefits.”
This is especially important as you approach your labor day.
“It doesn’t matter how confident you are, how great you look, everybody else is telling you you look so great, you get to that last trimester, last month especially, and, you know, you just feel big sometimes, and you just feel uncomfortable and it’s hard to move around, and I think walking is just one great thing that you can do unless they are having problems with their hips you know where walking exacerbates whatever is going on. Then going into a yoga class and breathing and stretching and getting some of those tight kinks out can definitely help you to feel better.”
Stacy Denney at Barefoot and Pregnant says another thing that can help you feel better is something you might not think of. Acupuncture.
“Oh my gosh, acupuncture, just for me was fabulous for everything. It helps from fertility all of the way through pregnancy and can help with inducing labor as well. So it can be used to help get your body ready for pregnancy. It can be used to help with migraines, morning sickness, a lot of the ailments that you will have along the way during pregnancy and then we have a ripening treatment that is very popular for women as they are ending their pregnancy and a lot of time their doctor is maybe recommending a chemical induction or they are just getting to that point where they are ready to have the baby and this is a very natural way to kind of start it.”
So if you’re feeling particularly uncomfortable, look around your area and see if there is an acupuncturist who specializes in pregnancy concerns. They may be able to help you out.
But the most important thing that you can try to do, and I underline try to do, is get plenty of rest.
“Sleeping when you can sleep. If it’s your first pregnancy, if you’re working full-time but you can go home at night, go to bed early. And if it’s subsequent pregnancies and the woman has other kids to keep up with who are older, those kids are in school and your baby is napping, sleep. I think getting out of the mindset that we always constantly have to be doing something is very important and learning to listen to our bodies and rest when we need rest.”
And remember to have fun. If you want to get your hair done, get it done! There is no reason not to go get some highlights or a sexy haircut or grab a friend and go to the mall and get a makeover. This is your time, enjoy it.
So if you think you might like to go try the spa, but you’ve never been to one before, Stacy Denney at Barefoot and Pregnant says don’t be intimidated.
“We have a number of clients that come in that were never spa-goers previously before pregnancy but realize how much their bodies are changing during pregnancy and really need some relief from those aches and pains that you can get during pregnancy and postpartum, especially when all of the sudden you’re carrying more equipment and a baby and your body is not used to the extra weight, and of course we never use good form.”
And guess what? You really don’t have to spend a ton of money to get the special treatment you deserve.
“It’s very important to make sure and take care of yourself. It doesn’t mean that you have to go to a spa, there are definitely ways that you can learn how to relax and relieve some stress at home and get your partner out there and teach them how to work on you and you can have your own little spa at your house.”
Yeah, I’ve told you a couple of times in these podcasts about how my baby’s father gave me nightly massages and belly rubs with cocoa butter. For the cost of a bottle of lotion, I got a full body massage. Not bad. And if you think you’re being selfish by investing in a facial or a haircut or a new tube of lipstick even, instead of another onesie…
“I always say a happy woman makes a happy mother. And a happy baby wants to have that mother, so it really is important to take care, especially during pregnancy because, you know, anything that happens to you is affecting the baby, so the more you take care of yourself and nurture yourself, the more that it is going to pass along. And it also relieves a lot of the stress and helps you to better deal with everything that is coming up, and, again after pregnancy, to really make sure that you are taking care of yourself.”
So do take care of yourself, mama. You deserve it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Pea in the Podcast: Looking and Feeling Good. Please visit our website PeaInThePodcast.com for more information about our experts, to find links and transcripts, and to register to get tailored week-by-week shows for each week and stage of your pregnancy. It’s everything you need to know about your body, your baby and the big changes ahead in your life in your journey to becoming a mommy. For Pea in the Podcast, I’m Bonnie Petrie. Thanks for listening.