A Pregnant Pause

Are spa therapies for moms-to-be much-needed coddling, or expensive hocus-pocus? Donna Garlough investigates — for two.

Illustration by Kirsten Ulve

Illustration by Kirsten Ulve

I wasn’t looking to get spoiled. Really.

I just happened to notice that almost every local spa now offers treatments geared toward pregnant women. Huh, I thought, rubbing my distended belly. Someone oughta try those out.

Plum assignment procured, I headed first to Newbury Street’s newly relocated G2O Spa + Salon, which features unconventional services like the Mommy Facial and the Tummy Hydrator ($85 each) — because apparently procreation makes me susceptible to conditions such as “pregnancy mask” and a chapped gut. There, aesthetician Sasha slathered my face with a combination of organic and baby-safe Suki and Yonka products, then moisturized my hands and feet. The tummy add-on consisted of a creamy exfoliant followed by a rich moisturizer — nice, but not much more intensive than anything I’d do at home.

Speaking of DIY grooming, I opted for it rather than Salon Marc Harris’s Maillot Special Maman ($85). Despite the French-ish name, it’s essentially a bikini wax tailored to pregnant ladies — one that promises to make you “ready for the big day.” While I was aware that everyone in the Beth Israel maternity ward was about to see me in my altogether, I decided I’d rather subject them to my awkward attempts at self-grooming than frighten anyone with the aftermath of a wax gone wrong.

My next stop: Edamame in Natick, a spa-within-a-store devoted entirely to the knocked-up. I went for the basic Mom-to-Be Massage ($110). The fancy creams — and therapist Amy’s strong, even strokes — proved lovely, but nothing topped the pillow with a big cutout in the center, which allowed me to lie face down on the massage table. (Most prenatal massages are performed in a side-lying position, which isn’t nearly as enjoyable.) It was wonderful therapy for sore hips and an achy spine, and the best spa treatment I’d received yet.

That is, until I arrived at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for an 80-minute Mother-to-Be spa procedure ($195–$210). Part one, a body scrub, was bliss — who knew that all I really needed was a good back scratching? Then came the full-body massage. In the dim, candlelit room, therapist Thipawan lubed me up with an impossibly rich Aromatherapy Associates cream and swaddled me in thick, warm towels. It was peaceful, comforting…rather womblike, actually. Which may the best reason to book any of the maternity treatments: for the chance to feel mothered yourself.