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Seven of the best London spa treatments for pregnant women

Carine Seitz
09 January 2014

Carine Seitz and bump test out some of London's top beauty treatments for expectant mothers, all for under £100

A note: if you're planning on indulging yourself with a few beauty treatments while pregnant, you had better like the smell of wild rose. With many aromatherapy oils unsafe for use during pregnancy, wild rose is very much the fragrance of choice for most spas. Do be aware that others, such as chamomile, are safe so, if rose isn't your thing, do ask for alternatives. Another thing to bear in mind is that some places prefer to wait until you've entered your second trimester before administering treatments, but ask on booking.

1. Sofitel SO Spa's Yummy Tummy Treatment
Focus tummy
If you're not a fan of having your bump touched, this is clearly not the treatment for you but, for those who want a little attention paid to taut and uncomfortable skin, it's well worth it. Whilst the focus of the treatment is the tummy, the experience as a whole is so much more than that. Great care is taken to ensure you're happy with every detail, from the sweet lavender tea served on arrival to a choice of temperature and lighting in the treatment room, the music played and the pressure adopted by your therapist. These little touches ensure that you're very much in control. I'm laid on my back, but the bed is contoured so that my legs are slightly bent and my back propped up enough so that there is no undue pressure on any major arteries. My whole body is given a good firm massage (as requested) using Aromatherapy Associates Wild Rose oil before my therapist spends time focusing on my bump. The treatment ends with a head massage, and then I'm taken to a relaxation room to chill out before reluctantly venturing back out into the real world. 
Price £90 for 60 minutes.
Where?SO Spa at Sofitel London St James Hotel, 6 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AN (+44 (0)207 747 2204; sofitelstjames.com/sospa)

2. Elemis Day Spa's Nurturing Massage for Mother-To-Be
Focus top to toe
This boutique spa is generally cited as one of the most popular destinations for pregnancy treatments in the capital, and it's easy to see why. My therapist is extremely reassuring and knowledgeable about pregnancy and immediately puts me at ease. I'm positioned on my side on an enormous beanbag specifically designed for pregnancy massage, which moulds perfectly and comfortably around the contours of my body. She starts by cleansing my feet and then face, before massaging my back, arms and legs with Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil. Made with active plant extracts and free from parabens, mineral oils and other artificial nasties, it has a mild fragrance and feels lovely on the skin (so much so that I have continued to use it throughout my pregnancy and, with two weeks to go, I remain stretch mark-free). The treatment finishes with a face and scalp massage and I'm invited to take my time over a herbal tea before I leave. Should I find myself expecting another baby in the future, this will be my first port of call. 
Price £95 for 75 minutes
Where? Elemis Day Spa, 2 Lancashire Court, Mayfair, London W1S 1EX (+44 (0)207 499 4995; elemis.com/dayspa

3. The Sanctuary's Mum-To-Be Massage 
Focus shoulders/back
This massage promises to relieve tension, as well as reduce the appearance of stretch marks and heaviness in the legs. Sounds good to me. I lie on my side, my bump resting comfortably on a pillow. Lights dimmed and generic spa music on a loop, the therapist starts with my back and shoulders, kneading out the knots quickly and efficiently using The Sanctuary's Mum-to-Be Stretch Mark Oil, followed by a Collagen Boosting Body Butter (all the maternity products here are sodium lauryl sulphate- and paraben-free). She's more than generous in her application of the potions and I can feel them quenching my dry, tired skin. She also gets the pressure spot on. Before I turn over, my legs and arms are given some pleasant attention, before the treatment finishes with a satisfying neck and head massage. I feel not so much relaxed as rejuvenated, my shoulders and back looser, and my skin thoroughly moisturised.
Price £75 for 55 minutes
Where? The Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden, 12 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DH (+44 (0)870 770 3350; sanctuary.com)

4. Aromatherapy Associates' Ultimate Rose Pregnancy Massage
Focus mind
Pregnancy can be a stressful time with lots to think about, so it's not just our bodies that might need a little TLC. Aromatherapy Associates essential oils have a well-deserved reputation for leading the way; their formulations eschew any unnatural additives and have never been tested on animals. Essential oils can help to transform moods and move us from one state of mind to another — and as it's so important to avoid stress in pregnancy, their 'ultimate' massage sounds like a pretty good way to spend an hour. After establishing how I'd like to feel after my treatment, my therapist takes me though three fragrances, and without telling me what they are, asks me to choose which I like best. My olfactory senses are then treated to a calming journey as my back, shoulders, scalp and face are given a pressure-point massage, not forgetting my legs, which are left feeling light and soothed.
Price £90 for 60 minutes
Where? Aromatherapy Associates Boutique & Treatment Rooms, 5 Montpelier Street, London SW7 1EX (+44 (0)207 838 1117; aromatherapyassociates.com)

5. K Spa's Real Nurturing Experience for Mother-To-Be
Focus skin
I've felt a need to nourish my skin as much as possible during pregnancy, and K Spa's nurturing treatment takes this to another level. The therapist uses exfoliation followed by the layering of Aromatherapy Associates wild rose products to deeply nourish and moisturise your skin. My whole body is exfoliated section by section, and carefully sponged off, my therapist ensuring that I'm covered with warm towels at all times to keep me comfortable. She then massages my body with rose oil, followed by the rich moisturising lotion. She finishes with a rejuvenating scalp and facial massage, and my skin is left feeling softer and more conditioned nourished than it has done since pre-pregnancy.
Price £85 for 55 minutes
Where? K-West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX, (+44 (0)208 008 6600; k-west.co.uk/k-spa)

6. The Sanderson's Agua Mother Nature Massage
Focus legs
An oasis of peaceful white, Agua Spa at The Sanderson makes you feel calmer simply for walking through the door. I lie on my back, this time on a contoured bed on which are placed warm water pillows to support my whole body. It's a little disconcerting at first, but the gentle movement provided by the water soon soothes and relaxes me as my therapist gets to work. I don't need to move at all throughout my treatment, as she is able to access my back by sliding her hands between my body and the water pillows, my weight providing the pressure for the massage. My legs are given particular focus, leaving them feeling lighter and energised. A welcome antidote to the uncomfortable, heavy, tired feeling all mums-to-be will be familiar with. 
Price £85 for 55 minutes
Where? Agua Spa at The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, London W1T 3NG (+44 (0)207 300 1400; morganshotelgroup.com)

7. Margaret Dabbs' Medical Pedicure, Manicure and Reflexology
Focus feet
Whilst a massage is always a lovely treat, one of the most frustrating things for a pregnancy beauty routine, practically speaking, is the inability to reach your feet. This is where Margaret Dabbs comes in — this is THE place to go for the very best in foot care. I'm booked in for the trademark Medical Pedicure, which is carried out by a professional podiatrist. She works on dry feet using electric tools (but with no pain at all) and finishes by buffing my nails to a high shine and moisturising with intensive foot oil. I'm treated to a manicure while my feet are being dealt with, which leaves my shamefully-neglected fingernails beautifully shaped and buffed. Next up is a reflexology session which feels like a heavenly foot massage with the bonus of my therapist being able to pinpoint a couple of ailments elsewhere in my body simply through touching my feet. 
Price Medical Pedicure from £80 for 45 minutes; Total Manicure £35 for 35 minutes; Reflexology, £65 for 60 minutes
Where? Margaret Dabbs Foot Clinic and Nail Spa, 7 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 8UU (+44 (0)207 487 5510; margaretdabbs.co.uk)

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