Getting Belly Friendly for Labor Day and Biggest Birth Day

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New spa education and recognition program sweeps the nation just in time for Labor Day and Biggest Birth Day!

"With more than 16,000 pregnant moms entering the market each day, it’s surprising that most spas – even those with prenatal training – still aren’t comfortable working on expecting women,” says Denney.

Appropriately, Labor Day, September 3, 2012 is one of the first days of the month known as “the biggest birth month”. With Labor Day and the Biggest Birth Month quickly approaching, the timing is ideal to focus on health and well-being for expecting moms. A new spa education and recognition program Belly Friendly aims to raise the bar for the prenatal service experience. Since launching earlier this year, 19 spas nationwide – in California (10), Colorado (1), Texas (5) and New York (3) – have become Belly Friendly, and more are joining the movement each week. Spas who participate in the Belly Friendly program can be found at in the ‘Find a Spa’ section (see below for current locations).

According to the American Pregnancy Association (, studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. While massage can provide enormous relief, pregnant moms are encouraged to select their spas and therapists carefully. Spas and therapists should be certified and experienced in providing services to expecting moms. Belly Friendly spas are recognized as having therapists with prenatal training in addition to the enhanced Belly Friendly education for all staff.

Stacy Denney (, author, columnist and founder of the country’s first prenatal spa Barefoot & Pregnant, has been providing maternity spa services for nearly a decade. With Belly Friendly, Denney encapsulates the rewarding Barefoot & Pregnant spa experience and makes it available to moms across the country. Moms know they are getting the best when they visit a spa proudly displaying the Belly Friendly seal.

“By offering supplementary education to the spa staff, Belly Friendly has a direct positive impact on mom’s experience," says Denney. "Through our program, moms can identify spas that have taken extra steps to create a pregnancy friendly environment and services.”

The backbone of the Belly Friendly program is education. All spa personnel – from front desk staff and management to therapists – go through an online Belly Friendly education program. The program focuses on safety and the emotional and physical aspects of pregnancy, and raises awareness for everything the client is experiencing. The front desk staff benefits from details on the common myths, etiquette and faux pas of pregnancy, while therapists delve even deeper to explore safety and positioning as well as the aches and pains associated with hormonal and physical changes by trimester.

A Barefoot & Pregnant survey* reinforces what spa owners and managers already know. An increasing number of pregnant women are visiting spas, and they expect the best when it comes to prenatal service. Nearly all moms (95%) surveyed said they would be more likely to visit a spa with specialized prenatal training over another spa. More than 60% of respondents received prenatal spa treatments during pregnancy; 38% booked two to three spa services throughout their pregnancy; and 28% booked four or more services!

Over the past decade, award-winning Barefoot & Pregnant has developed a reputation as one of the most respected and trusted names for information, wellness services and innovation among expecting women and their circle of influence. Through Belly Friendly, the quality services Barefoot & Pregnant has become known for are more accessible to moms across the country. Belly Friendly partners include Bellies & Babies (Houston, Texas); Blooming Pregnancy (Austin, Texas); Body by Brooklyn (Brooklyn, NY); Carrollton Square Salon & Spa (Carrollton, Texas); Elixir Mind Body Massage (Denver, Colo.); Guerlain Spa @ Waldorf Astoria (New York, NY); Hotel Healdsburg & Spa (Sonoma County, Calif.); La Bella Belly (Rockwall, Texas); Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary (Sonoma County, Calif.); Skinsational (Carlsbad, Calif.); Studio Cie (Lakewood, Calif.); Total Woman (six locations in Southern California); Valencia Day Spa (Frisco, Texas); and YeloSpa (New York, NY). Many more are joining every day. Consumers and spas seeking Belly Friendly information can visit their website at or call (415) 388-1777.


*Survey conducted online May-June 2011 by Barefoot & Pregnant and Mama Mio. Survey results are available upon request.

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Kim Pierce

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