By Shelby Jones, Public Relations Manager, ISPA

The ISPA office is currently experiencing a wave of baby fever. Symptoms include overusing the words cute, precious and darling; debating the current celebrity baby name de jour (Harper Seven Beckham anyone?) and looking through gift registries that include items like Diaper Genies and Nap Nannies. If you’re experiencing a similar situation, then consider getting the mom-to-be a gift that will help her relax in preparation for Junior. A prenatal massage is the perfect way to help her prepare (you have to admit it sounds much better than a breast pump).

Pregnancy massage is widely offered at spas around the world. In the U.S. alone, 91 percent of spas offer a pregnancy massage. And, of the 80 percent of spas that offer special packages, 42 percent of those are pregnancy packages (ISPA 2010 U.S. Spa Industry Study).

Check out one of our bloggers’ Pregnancy Massage videos

Some pregnant ladies are leery of a massage, but we’re here to put those fears aside. According to the American Pregnancy Association, studies indicate massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.

Massage therapists can be certified in prenatal massage, so it’s best to call your favorite spa and ask about a therapist’s certification before booking a treatment. During the massage, some therapists use a pregnancy massage table, which is a table designed to accommodate a woman’s pregnant belly. Others use specially designed pillows called bolsters to help position a woman comfortably on her side. Pregnancy massage experts adapt their techniques to address the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. Some massage therapists avoid massaging the abdomen and if they do, they use very light strokes.

Post-partum? Check out facials to avoid when breastfeeding, and what is safe.

If you want to learn more about different spa treatments visit ISPA’s spa glossary at experienceispa.com.

Shelby Jones is based in Lexington, KY at the ISPA headquarters, Spa Week’s exclusive trade partner. She has worked as ISPA’s Public Relations Manager for five years where she connects with top media outlets to promote ISPA members and the spa lifestyle. To get in touch with Shelby please visit experienceispa.comemail her or follow @ISPADoYou on Twitter.