Carrie Myers Smith
Pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to spend time in a little self-indulgence. After all, it won't be long before most of your time is spent caring for your little one. If you've never stepped foot in a spa, now is the time! You will be pampered, primped and relaxed into a state you never knew existed. No hot tubs, saunas or heat treatments
Your healthcare provider probably already warned you to stay away from hot tubs and saunas -- the high temperature causes your blood vessels to dilate, increasing your chances for lightheadedness. Exposure to extreme heat in the first trimester has also been linked to birth defects. Because of this, any treatments that involve the use of heat are out -- seaweed wraps, mud baths and herbal wraps. Some of the all-body scrubs should be avoided, as well, as they are too harsh for pregnancy.
Massage also has some special precautions during pregnancy. If you have any signs of a high risk pregnancy, from high blood pressure and bleeding or abnormal discharge to vomiting or diarrhea, massage is contraindicated. There are also "trigger points" throughout the body that, if stimulated, could set-off labor. Care needs to be taken to make sure these points aren't massaged.
Aromatherapy is great, too, but also comes with caution. Many scents are wonderful and soothing for expecting women, but others, like those trigger points, are too stimulating for pregnancy. Fragrances to stay away from are basil, cinnamon, clove, hyssop, myrrh, origanum, pennyroyal, sage, savoury, thyme, rue, juniper berry, marjoram, fennel and sassafras.
Many spas have taken the worry out of what's safe by offering special packages designed especially for expecting women. But remember, always check with your healthcare provider before indulging in any new treatment, even if you've had it before becoming pregnant. Here are a few spas that have designed these packages with you in mind.
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon and Spa
In 1997, the Red Door Salon and Spa added pre- and post pregnancy related services to their menu to meet the increasing demand from their clients.
"Our clients were looking to us to help address their special skin and body care needs, which can change dramatically during the course of pregnancy," says Kelly Weber, senior vice president of marketing for Elizabeth Arden Salons.
The Red Door offers two prenatal packages. The Bundle of Joy package ($140) includes a facial or massage, shampoo and style, warm creme manicure and spa lunch. With the Great Expectations package ($240), you get the massage, facial, manicure, pedicure and spa lunch.
Elizabeth Arden also offers a consultation with a registered dietician to discuss nutrition during pregnancy, and the Red Door resort spas offer fitness classes in addition to the packages. Red Door Spas are scattered all throughout the United States, and new ones are opening all the time. To find a Red Door Salon and Spa near you, visit Elizabeth Arden Salons online.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, just minutes from downtown Austin, Lake Austin Spa Resort celebrates expectant mothers with a package designed to help with the feelings of discomfort, swelling, tension and stretch marks.
Their Mother-to-Be package ($230) begins with a body treatment that includes massage using aromatherapy oils and nourishing moisturizers, a soothing wrap and pedicure. It ends with a gourmet spa lunch and spa gift. Lake Austin also offers several fitness classes designed to unify a mom-to-be's mental and physical well-being, including stretch and relaxation and yoga. Personal trainers are also on-site to offer women one-on-one consultation for staying fit while pregnant.
Visit Lake Austin online for more information.
The Mood Spa
At Paula McClure's Mood Spa in Dallas, Texas, they've designed a number of prenatal packages. For $95 you can have a massage, or for just $200, the Trimester Trio -- a multivitamin facial in your first trimester, a massage in your second trimester and a pedicure in your last trimester. The Mood Spa has also cleverly created the Great Expectations package ($650), which offers one treatment a month for each of your nine months.
Check out Mood Spa online for a peek at their other services and products and for more information.
Road Warrior 1.5 -- for Career Women on the Go
As one of the most innovative spa settings, New York's Le Parker Meridien Hotel's fitness center and spa has created the Road Warrior 1.5 for career moms-to-be who have to travel. Road Warrior 1.5's repertoire includes the "Safe" Workout ($65/hour), Decleors Mom-to-Be Treatment ($85), Prenatal Hypnotherapy for Birth ($95) and prenatal Massage ($100). For more information, call (212)708-7340.