July 26, 2008

A Pregnant Day at the Spa: Gentle, Nontoxic Treatments Ease the Stress of Expecting Clients

By Mandy Zajac, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

Jul. 26--Lindsey Wesolowski thinks the baby boy growing inside her tummy is a miracle. But that's not to say pregnancy itself is total bliss for the first-time momto-be, now almost eight months along.

"You're used to your body being one way, and then it starts to go through all these changes. It's worth it, but it can be overwhelming to see your body doing things that are out of your control," says the 28-yearold.

Pregnancy can unleash a host of changes on women, from stretch marks crisscrossing their expanding stomachs to acne flare-ups. Spider veins, extra hair growth and melasma -- brown patches on the face that are often called "the mask of pregnancy" -- are common problems, too. But a new spa says it can help expecting moms weather such conditions in a way that's completely safe for them and their babies.

"Pretty much the way it works is, after you're pregnant and everything goes wrong, we'll fix you," says Allison Mae, director of AMOMI Pregnancy Wellness Spa. The facility opened last month under the supervision of three female physicians who run an obstetrics practice in the building.

"We're the kind of women who like to use spas ourselves, and we wanted to create a place where women could feel safe with the procedures and the products being used and could trust that the staff is well-qualified," says Dr. Cathleen Harris, one of AMOMI's founders.

Pregnant women not only can feel out of sorts with their bodies, they're also not always certain about what they can do to mitigate the damage. That's because many services and products a woman normally wouldn't think twice about become off-limits once she's carrying a baby. Chemicals in lotions, face washes or nail care products must be scrutinized, and massages -- which a woman may feel she needs more than ever -- can be risky.

"A pregnant woman can't lie flat on her back. She can't get too hot. There are pressure points on a woman's body that can trigger labor," says Mae. "She can't be overstimulated in any way."

At AMOMI, treatments such as chemical peels, photo-facials and laser hair removal are certified pregnancy-safe by the doctors, who are available on site in case of questions or complications. Products are toxinfree. Spa staff is trained to recognize the comfort and safety needs of expecting clients. There are also thoughtful touches, such as wider-than-standard treatment beds, lotion warmers and pedicure chairs with swing-out doors that make getting in and out of the chair easier and more graceful.

Spa services are available for new moms who have already delivered their babies and for mothers, sisters and friends accompanying pregnant clients.

Wesolowski, a Scottsdale nurse, is on her third visit to the spa. Cloaked in a plush ecru robe and leafing through a magazine on a cushioned banquette covered in pillows, she's here for a facial and a massage. It's the massage she's most looking forward to, thanks to a special pillow that allows a woman to lie facedown without putting weight on her tummy.

"I'm a stomach sleeper, and I haven't been able to lie on my stomach in months!" she says. "It's a special treat to get pampered when you're pregnant. I won't have much time for it once he comes."

Sample menu

Here's a sample of the spa's services. Combination packages are available.

Mask of Pregnancy Facial: A blend of pregnancy-safe ingredients minimizes the melasma that 70 percent of women develop while pregnant, brightening the skin; $90 for a 60-minute treatment or $500 for five treatments.

Prenatal Massage: Targets discomfort associated with pregnancy, including sciatic nerve pain, leg cramping, back pain and headaches; $90 for 60 minutes or $135 for 90 minutes.

Belly Bliss: This aromatherapy-oil facial for growing tummies is designed to increase circulation, exfoliate and moisturize. Lower leg and foot massages are included; $120 for 45 minutes.

Relax & Lighten Up: Designed to comfort tired, swollen legs, this treatment reduces water retention, increases circulation and includes hand, lower leg and foot massages; $65 for 30 minutes.

Postpartum Massage: A combination of massage techniques and rejuvenating oils focus on healing, restoration and relaxation; $90 for 60 minutes or $135 for 90 minutes.

Manicures and pedicures: $22-$150, depending on options selected.

AMOMI Pregnancy Wellness Spa

What: Expecting moms, new moms and their friends can enjoy spa treatments and shop a boutique of pregnancy-safe products and gifts.

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: 6950 E. Chauncey Lane, Suite 150, Phoenix

Cost: Prices vary by treatment

Information: (480) 970-1998 or www.amomispa.com


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