What Moms-to-Be Look For in Spas
Stacy Denney, Author of "Spa Mama" and "Fit Mama", Founder of Belly Friendly and Barefoot & Pregnant
As maternity wellness grows in popularity, many spas are now offering pregnancy spa services. Your potential new clients may be asking important questions about what to expect during the visit and what to avoid before booking an appointment. Here are some of the questions expecting moms are asking spas before booking a spa appointment:
Does the massage therapist have a specialty certification in prenatal?
- Massage therapists working with pregnant clients should have special training in the physiological adaptations of pregnancy and how this affects their treatment plan. Most therapists get some prenatal training during their initial training program, but it’s important to receive additional training. There are many programs that offer specific certifications in prenatal, but it’s recommended that therapists at least participate in a one-day training program every five years.
How often does the therapist perform prenatal massage?
- Even with prenatal training, some spas / therapists may only get a handful or less of prenatal clients. If a therapist hasn’t received special training in more than three years, and / or hasn’t practiced prenatal massage regularly, they may need new certification. Moms may ask how often the therapist works with prenatal clients.
Should my esthetician be specialty certified?
- It can be challenging to find specialty prenatal education for estheticians. However, moms will want to know about a therapist’s experience with prenatal clients. Pregnancy impacts positioning and safety, as well as treatments and products. Spas should be ready to answer questions about contraindicated ingredients and services and should be sure their estheticians know proper positioning and techniques to use with expecting moms.
What type of massage bed or positioning is used?
- A prenatal massage is best in a side-lying or semi-reclining position. Past the first trimester, lying on the pregnant belly (prone) isn’t recommended. Some women may lie on their belly at home within their own comfort level but, when there is pressure applied to the back while in this position during a massage, there is increased strain on pelvic joints and the ligaments supporting the uterus. If moms are working with an experienced, trained therapist, the side-lying or semi-reclining experience should be comparable to—or even better than—a prone position. Many clients continue to receive side-lying massages well after the birth of their babies!
What to Focus on During Prenatal Visits
Each mother-to-be should talk to the therapist about her specific needs or issues.
- The spa should take a thorough history for each prenatal client. Information gathered should include how pregnant the client is, any allergies, sensitivities, physical discomforts, or complications. Beyond this, the therapist or esthetician should ask questions that address the pregnancy, such as specific issues, needs, and expectations.
Encourage the expecting client to ask questions and speak up!
- When visiting a spa, some clients are uncomfortable voicing their needs. It’s important to keep in mind that repeat and word-of-mouth business is generated by happy moms-to-be. The client should be encouraged to speak up if she is not comfortable. Every woman’s experience is different. If she is experiencing a normal pregnancy, the best guideline is to listen to her body. But many may be resistant to “complain.” Be sure to encourage them to use the restroom before the service begins, and check in on potential bathroom breaks or other discomforts more often than you would a non-pregnant client.
Services Expecting Moms Should Avoid
Facial peels and microdermabrasion
- Facials feel great and can only enhance the glow of pregnancy. However, many women are affected by skin sensitivity and hyperpigmentation during pregnancy, so facial peels and microdermabrasion are not recommended. Facials designed to treat these conditions should be part of the spa menu and products used should support these changes.
Steam rooms, whirlpools, and wraps—oh my!
- Although taking a relaxing, warm bath at home may be a treat for mom, the temperature of spa and other commercial whirlpools can often be too hot. If mom gets too warm, blood vessels dilate to bring more blood to the skin surface for cooling. This could make mom light-headed and uncomfortable, and could cause dehydration or even fainting. Body wraps constrict movement and can also cause a client to get too warm. However, wraps make a wonderful post-partum treatment!
- It is suggested that pregnant women use essential oils derived from flowers, rather than herbs during pregnancy, and that “calming” oils, such as lavender, are preferable to “stimulating” oils, such as camphor.
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