Pampering boosts your mood, as seven-months-pregnant Samantha Wood discovers…
I’m not enjoying this pregnancy. With three miscarriages behind me and a catalogue of problems, my bump is officially high risk. And my current weekly rendezvous with a speculum means I’m finding it difficult to relax. In a bid to find my inner calm, I’ve tried pregnancy yoga (not for me). I bought a hypnotherapy CD but I’m just not comfortable begging my perineum to get stretchy. So I’ve treated myself to a ‘top to toe’ prenatal spa day at a Champneys Resort.
I should be excited but I’m dreading stripping to my swimming costume when I can’t even see what’s going on down there, let alone tidy it up. And, with my tick-list of pregnancy ailments including leg cramps, water retention, sore breasts and Kim Kardashian-style cankles, I’m feeling less than beautiful.
“My day starts at 10am with a Beautiful Bump package, which consists of four massages”
My day starts at 10am with a Beautiful Bump package, which consists of four massages. These are done with grapeseed oil, which I’m assured is totally safe and won’t get into my bloodstream and whizz straight to my baby, like some essential oils could.
First up: a neck, shoulder and back massage. I’m sitting upright, which I’m initially a little sad about as I’d hoped to lie with my stomach through a special padded portal. But the massage is amazing. Next, the oiling of my bump. I’m a bit dubious about this as I’ve become funny about people touching my belly. I agree to try it when the therapist tells me it will help beat stretchmarks. And I soon find I’m enjoying it. The offer of the same for my bust is declined (only one person is let near that and even he’s not getting a look-in just now). Instead we move on to legs and feet, which is the highlight of my day. The therapist assures me that my ankles are nowhere near as swollen as some she’s seen. She tells me that massaging helps reduce water retention and aids circulation. After she finishes off with cooling gel, my feet look less elephant-like.
“The therapist tells me that massaging helps reduce water retention and aids circulation”
Rounding off the morning is a scalp massage, again with grapeseed oil. I choose to leave the oil in for extra nourishment but regret my decision when I have to shampoo my hair three times the following day.
A non-natal spa day normally includes use of all the resort facilities. But when pregnant, hydro pools, saunas and steam rooms are out of bounds. So, I head to the relaxation room, which is a dark space with beds, blankets and a log-fireplace DVD on loop. I dig out my hypnotherapy CD from my bag and listen to it.
For the first time, I slip under and absorb the entire session.
The afternoon brings a facial and a pedicure. By the end of the day I’m feeling pretty spoilt. As you’ve probably guessed, all of this doesn’t come cheap. But as is generally the case with luxuries, people are bending over backwards to be nice to me. And at seven months pregnant and liable to burst into tears at any given moment, that really does help.
“So would I recommend a prenatal spa day? Absolutely. Hang the cost – you’re growing a baby and you deserve a break.”
So would I recommend a prenatal spa day? Absolutely. Hang the cost – you’re growing a baby and you deserve a break. I slept better that night than I have done in months. And apparently better than I’m ever likely to again after my baby arrives, so people keep telling me.
Which spa treatments should you choose?
- Maternity massage: A tailored massage targets areas of tension, reduces fatigue and improves skin elasticity (stretchmarks be gone!).
- Facial: Pregnancy hormones can cause breakouts and dry skin. A deep facial cleanse and moisturise helps re-balance natural oils. Rose-hip oil is a favourite as it aids cellular development.
- Reflexology: The ancient Chinese technique of applying pressure to the feet helps with a range of ailments, including morning sickness. It can also aid sleep and boosts energy levels.
- Indian head massage: This helps circulation, relaxation and is a favourite in pregnancy as it can be done sitting up. It won’t induce labour, despite the old wives’ tale.
- Pedicure and manicure: Your nails will grow faster during pregnancy so a pedicure will stop toenails digging into swollen feet. It’s safe to use polish but don’t have tips and avoid acrylics because of the chemicals used.