Making a baby is hard work, and during the 40 or so weeks it takes, even the most aggressive go-getter finds the need to slow down. Even then, she may find it hard to relax. Each trimester brings with it a new batch of challenges: fatigue, nausea, achy joints, swollen ankles, acne and lack of sleep are just a few. As the euphoria of the first trimester begins to wane and the body starts to swell, it’s easy to feel a little lost and more than a little uncomfortable. Thankfully, pre-natal services are now a fixture at most spas. And their attention to using baby-safe ingredients in beauty elixirs means moms-to-be don’t need to feel guilty about spending some time and money on themselves before the big day.
If money is no object, spend a weekend in the mountains of Asheville, N.C., at the historic Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa ($200-$400/night). The subterranean spa has its own wing where women can enjoy a Maternity Massage ($140 for 50 minutes; $200 for 80 minutes) that focuses on alleviating leg, hip and lower-back pressure. The extended massage also has an exfoliation component that comes with a gift: A dry brush for home use. A 60-minute Mother-to-Be Pedicure ($100) also is available. After blissing out, moms can soak or do mini-laps in one of two mineral pools. Grove Park’s waterfall and heated pools are off-limits for now, but worth making a return trip for the next time there is something to celebrate. In the evening, grab a seat in a rocking chair by one of the mammoth fireplaces in the lobby, or toast the sun’s disappearance from the Sunset Terrace restaurant, which has stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shoppers may want to take a trip to downtown Asheville, which has plenty of funky bookstores, boutiques, galleries and specialty chocolate shops. Dreamers may prefer visiting the Biltmore House and Gardens ($55)— one of the most glamorous private estates in the world.
A more affordable and close-to-home option is at Château Élan in Braselton, which is less than an hour from downtown Atlanta. Their Babymoon Package ($1,465) is an all-inclusive weekend that includes two nights’ accommodation in a private spa suite and three meals a day. Fun treats for the budding mother include a warm milk and rose petals pedicure and pre-natal massage. Papa gets treats, too — a warm towel treatment and massage. Other amenities include two robes, a commemorative bottle of wine and a gift for baby. If time is of the essence, a 50-minute Château Pregnancy Massage may be purchased à la carte ($90 Monday-Thursday; $100 Friday-Sunday).
Mom’s don’t have to leave town to get pampered, however. There are some great spa options here in Atlanta. Feel the tension melting away from the minute you enter the Sandy Springs/Park Place Spa Sydell, thanks to its serenity-enhancing mini-waterfalls. The Pre-natal Massage ($95 for 60 minutes; $125 for 90 minutes) also is beneficial for women recuperating from C-sections. A discount is available if purchased in a series of three ($256.60 for 60 minutes; $337.50 for 90 minutes). New moms self-conscious of their in-between bodies may enjoy the Thai on the Table massage ($95 for 60 minutes), which does not require them to disrobe (they wear a baggy cotton “stretch outfit”) or get slathered with lotions. The treatment helps realign the body and unkink the knots moms get from doing everything one-handed, by stretching muscles and hitting pressure points rather than kneading muscles. Other Spa Sydell locations are found in Alpharetta, Buckhead Plaza, Forum at Peachtree Parkway, Midtown at Brookwood Plaza and Roswell Corners.
It’s not just the body that gets stressed out during pregnancy. The face and feet take a beating as well. At Natural Body, rebalance out-of-whack, hormonally challenged skin with a Corrective ($105 for 60 minutes) or Signature Facial ($85 for 60 minutes). Beauty technicians can adjust the materials used to ensure nothing that’s bad for baby goes on mama’s skin and recommend skin products that will help her glow, if she’s not already. The facials include a stress-relieving hand, shoulders and décolleté massage, which is a really nice touch. Soothe those swollen ankles and calves with one of the best pedicures in the city ($55 for 50 minutes). Thanks to the comfy recliners, scented eye sachets and leg massage, ladies may also be able to catch some much needed sleep. Manicure/pedicure combos are $80 for 75 minutes, and pregnancy massages also are available ($85 for 60 minutes; $115 for 90 minutes). Natural Body spas are in Morningside, Decatur, Downtown, Smyrna, Cumming, Marietta, Snellville, Alpharetta, Brookhaven and Buckhead.