When Kelly Kockos, 38, drove by Barefoot and Pregnant, a maternity spa in Sausalito, Calif., she knew it would be the perfect gift for her newly pregnant girlfriend. What she didn't know was that she, too, would soon be enjoying the maternity spa.
Once Kockos became pregnant a few months later, she headed back to Barefoot and Pregnant for a facial and a belly massage. She returned during her second pregnancy as well.
"It was wonderful," she says. "They laid me on my side with all these pillows, and it was probably the most comfortable I'd been in nine months. They know where to put the pillows and where to put the pressure, and it was so relieving and nice to have time to myself and to be pampered."
Kockos is among a growing number of moms-to-be who are spending their pregnancies -- or part of them, anyway -- in the lap of luxury. Whether for pregnancy massages, facials, private yoga sessions, or the more traditional "mani-pedi" (manicure-pedicure) combo, women around the country are indulging in maternity spa treatments. Prices range from $15 -$75 for waxings to $195 for a "belly cast" -- a mold of your pregnant stomach. Belly massages start at about $70 in most spas.
"When you're pregnant, there are all these weird changes going on with your body, so massage gives you a chance to celebrate it," Kockos says."It's something everyone should do."
The Need for Maternity Spas
Stacy Denney, chief executive officer of Barefoot and Pregnant and author of Spa Mama: Pampering for the Mother to Be, says that maternity spas are increasingly viewed as a necessity, not a luxury.
"A lot of people look at it as pampering," she says. "But we're not in our mother's time. We're a different society and a different environment. We're older and we're working 40 and 50 hours a week -- both before and after the baby is born."
According to the CDC, the average age of mothers has steadily increased in the past 30 years. In 1970, the average age of all new mothers was 24.6. By 2002, the number was 27 -- an all-time high for the nation.
"The trend in delayed childbirth is universal -- observed nationwide and among all groups in the population," concluded the 2002 report.
Because older women tend to have careers, which means more disposable income, they're more apt to go to a maternity spa.
In suburban Cincinnati, women can enjoy the recently opened Becoming Mom, a maternity spa devoted to pampering soon-to-be and new mothers. In New York City, expectant mothers head to Edamame Spa for a full range of maternity treatments. The company has now expanded into several locations, including neighboring New Jersey and Massachusetts, as well as Charlotte, N.C.