Ready for the big day

You'll thank yourself later if you spend a little time on a good haircut and some long-lasting beauty treatments before the big day. 

Months before
Lather your body in stretch mark oils or lotions to help ease the red marks that form as your skin stretches (turn to page 52 for more). You may want to pay attention to the breasts as they get bigger and more tender. Mustela's 9 Months range features a product designed to help breasts retain their suppleness and firmness.

You should always use sunscreen under make-up but it is extra important if you are pregnant as your skin is more sensitive. Retail therapy is in order! Stock up on pyjamas, breastfeeding tops and maternity bras so you're dressed to impress as Mum.

Many women find dark patches appear on their faces during pregnancy. The proper name is chloasma, but it's sometimes referred to as the "mask of pregnancy". It's caused because more melanotropin is secreted during pregnancy and it's estimated up to 70% of women will experience it. The darker patches will fade after birth, but a good concealer or foundation will help hide any blotchiness.

Weeks before
If your burgeoning bump is making it difficult to sleep seek out relaxation with reflexology, acupuncture or a massage. Find a beauty therapist who offers massage specifically for pregnant women. Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy so ensure your beautician or massage therapist is educated on what is safe to use. Massage is also great for helping to reduce fluid retention in the legs.

It'll be getting more difficult to reach your feet so book yourself a pedicure to have those nails looking bright and cheerful in the delivery suite.

While you're at the beautician have your eyebrows tinted and shaped and your eyelashes tinted and extended - one less thing to worry about once baby comes.

Find any chance you can to have a nice relaxing soak in a bubble bath with a face mask on.

Days before
Get a haircut and colour. Once baby arrives it'll be at least six weeks before you can find a full two hours to dedicate to the salon.
You have enough changes happening at the moment, so now is not the time to opt for a complete departure. What you want is a good, easy-care style that'll see you through to your next appointment. Many women find their hair is thicker during pregnancy. Products such as Kerastase's Elixir Ultime are great for taming the mane.  

Many women wonder if it's safe for baby to colour their hair during pregnancy. Well, without any hard and fast proof that colouring your hair can have a detrimental effect on your baby, this really is personal choice. Many people are under the mistaken impression that the concern is in the colour seeping through your scalp into your body. In fact, any potential harm is more likely to come from the toxins you breathe in through the ammonia-based dyes. Most salons now offer ammonia-free products with lower concentrations of PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which is found in all hair dyes.

Jenny Aitken is co-owner of Auckland's Hue hair salons which specialise in hair colouring. She says, "Google is your friend. So look on the internet, and email your salon to ask them what ingredients are in their products." She recommends Schwarzkopf Essensity for her pregnant clients, but adds no hair colour manufacturer will guarantee its product is 100% safe. You could also opt for foils instead which don't touch your scalp.

As Jenny says, "You're only looking at nine months, so it's not too long to cope with doing something different."

If wax treatments are part of your routine, do it now - either DIY or with a visit to the beautician. Bikini, legs, underarms - get rid of that hair!

On the day
Yes, you'll be hot, sweaty and red-faced in the moments after birth, but if you want to look your best in those first snaps with baby, you can do a little preparation (if yours isn't a mad-dash labour). Get the straighteners out for an easy-care hair style, that can be pulled back off your face, and won't need to be fussed with.

Pop a few drops of rose, orange flower or lavender essential oils in a water bottle to spritz on your face during labour. And pop a moisturising lip gloss in your hospital bag.



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