Maintaining proper health is paramount during pregnancy, and many women can benefit from being somewhat pampered by either themselves or their partner during this important time. After all, looking forward to motherhood and a new baby should be exciting, right? Women also undergo significant changes to their body while pregnant such as sleepless nights, morning sickness, swollen feet and legs, back pain, and weight gain. It often leaves them seeking some relief. You may have heard that some types of massage can be dangerous during pregnancy, but what about using a foot spa? Is using a foot spa when pregnant a safe way to soothe the stress, aches and pains associated with pregnancy? We did the research, and as it turns out, yes, a foot spa can be a great relief but only when you take some important considerations into account.
This article explores the benefits and special considerations associated with foot spas and pregnant women. So you can rest assured you aren’t taking any unnecessary risks but still get the much-needed relief expecting mothers deserve at the same time.
Are Foot Spas Safe to Use During Pregnancy?
Can an expecting mother use a foot spa safely? The short answer is yes, but it isn’t quite that simple. A foot spa can not only be great for both your physical and mental wellbeing but can also be used as a method to help you carve out some alone time for relaxation.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend you always seek advice from your doctor before adding new habits to your routine or considering massage and spa related activities when you are pregnant. There are many ways these types of things can interact with pregnancy, and there is no substitute for a professional consultation. Additionally, if at any point, you start to feel pain or discomfort during a foot spa, stop. It’s always better to play it safe.
One important consideration, which health experts mostly agree upon, is that you should avoid using a foot spa during the first trimester and any time after 37 weeks, to take special care and avoid possible risks that could affect both the mother and the fetus.
Tips for Using a Foot Spa Safely During Pregnancy
We will go into more detail about potential risks later in this article but for now, let’s talk about some pro tips that will help you use a foot spa to relieve any pain or aches like a pro during pregnancy.
Choose the Right Foot Spa
Choose a gentler foot spa machine that features water jets instead of vibrating rollers. Rollers can trigger reflexology sensations that can be potentially harmful to pregnant women. That’s why we recommend avoiding it entirely while pregnant.
Use Epsom Salt and Other Ingredients
Try using Epsom salt, a small amount of bubble bath, or fragrance oils in the foot spa water. The bubbles, aromatherapy, and muscle pain relief provided by Epsom salt and these other ingredients can improve relaxation overall. Avoid using essential oils unless you know the specific ones or ones you are using are safe for you and your baby because not all of them are.
Use Warm Water
Only use warm to mildly hot water in your foot spa. The water you use mustn’t be overly hot as you don’t want to elevate your body temp. It may sound familiar as most people know that hot tubs should be avoided if you are pregnant.
Read the Foot Spa’s Instructions
Always start by reading the foot spa’s instructions. It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised. Every model is different, and having a good understanding of the controls can help ensure you don’t overheat the water or apply pressure to the wrong areas around your ankles.
Foot spa is amazing for my tired pregnant feet!
— Nikki Duffell (@xMummyToolettex) March 2, 2013
Benefits of Using a Foot Spa While Pregnant
Aside from the obvious relaxation benefits we briefly discussed above; a foot spa also poses some benefits that are particularly suited to pregnant women.
Reduces Symptoms Associated With Oedema
Oedema is a common issue that causes the legs, ankles, and feet to swell due to excess fluid retention and weight gain during pregnancy. Luckily, oedema usually occurs during the third trimester when using a foot spa is safest and less likely to trigger contractions that can be harmful to the baby. Soaking your feet in a foot spa can help relieve some of the pressure caused by oedema and reduce the ache felt from your legs down.
May Help Balance Mood Swings
Some women find that one of the most noticeable changes they experience in their body during pregnancy is a drastic increase in mood swings and their severity. Mood swings are common during pregnancy because of the increase in hormones produced and their sharp, unexpected spikes. The warm water in a foot spa helps to induce the release of endorphins and other hormones that help improve mood and make you happy. Combine it with aromatherapy, which we briefly mentioned above, then you can work towards an abundance of attitude enhancing hormones to counterbalance the irritability caused by mood swings.
Combats Symptoms of Depression and Stress
Depression is also fairly common during pregnancy. Considering the importance of good mental health during pregnancy, and any time really, most of us will do anything we can to combat symptoms caused by depression. Fortunately, soaking your feet is one way to help get relief for your entire body. A foot spa can naturally lower cortisol levels in your body which is known for helping reduce stress.
Being pregnant means going on a hunt at midnight for a foot spa bath😂💀
— Amanda Marie (@atayy21) October 8, 2017
Risks Associated With Foot Spas and Pregnancy
With all of the special considerations to keep in mind, it is no surprise there are serious risks associated with the use of a foot spa while pregnant. Now that you know how to use a foot spa properly, we thought it only appropriate we fill you in on why the previous recommendations can be so vitally important.
What Pressure Points Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?
Certain acupressure points should not be stimulated during pregnancy, especially during the first two trimesters. Specific pressure points in and around your ankles should be avoided because excessive pressure on them may cause contractions, early labour, and in extreme cases, may even cause a miscarriage. While a midwife or doctor may massage these pressure points while trying to induce labour, it should not be done in any other type of massage setting.
While miscarriage is an extreme side effect that is quite rare, it is possible, especially earlier in the pregnancy. A trained professional massage therapist should be able to massage you safely, but reflexology should be avoided. Light massage and gentle rubbing are okay, but anything deeper in your legs, ankles, and feet may stimulate contractions. So, can a foot massage induce pregnancy? Unfortunately, yes, if it is not done correctly. We know a massage may sound like heaven during pregnancy, but the side effects can be severe. So always make sure to take special care and avoid the area around the ankle.
I’m crying cause yesterday I complained about how my feet were hurting and today when I got home from work my man had a foot spa set up for me 😭😭😭🥰 I’m bouta get him pregnant
— baby (@bmdubbbb) December 3, 2020
Elevating Your Body Temperature
Elevating your body temperature during pregnancy can also be harmful to the mother and baby. In some cases, it may even cause premature contractions leading to labour. Always take care to never use water over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius to avoid raising your body temperature. It is because your baby grows at an optimal temperature inside your body, and any changes to this could negatively affect them.
Some specific essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy. Not all essential oils pose a risk, but if you are ever unsure, use fragrance oils or add bubbles instead of essential oils to play it safe. Some essential oils to avoid include rosemary, as it could spike your blood pressure, and both sage and basil as they could negatively affect the fetus and possibly cause bleeding in the uterus.
We know these risks sound scary, but if you follow our recommendations and check with your doctor, you should be just fine.
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Stay Relax During Pregnancy Does Matter
With all of your newly learned information, you should now be ready to use a foot spa safely during pregnancy. As you now know, using a foot spa when pregnant comes with some precautions, but they are a great, safe alternative to a foot massage, can reduce stress, depression, and relieve symptoms of oedema. In fact, you’ll probably enjoy your foot spa so much that you’ll be using it as a new mom after the baby comes as well.
Let us know what you think and about your experiences using a foot spa while pregnant in the comments below.