Oh Baby!

Pampering Mom for a happy birth day

Pick up any recent issue of Us magazine and it's easy to spot what Britney Spears, Heidi Klum, Holly Hunter, and Jennifers Garner and Beals all have in common: big bellies. Pregnancy is suddenly one of the latest trends to come out of Hollywood. And since we don't like to fall behind when it comes to what's in—no, we're not getting knocked up—we decided to find out what's available to keep women feeling beautiful even with morning sickness, mood swings, swelling limbs, achy legs, and all the other symptoms of pregnancy. After all, the millions of mommies giving birth in the United Stages each year need to be pampered before actually buying Pampers.

Stretch marks can often develop as the belly and breasts start to swell. The key to deter them is to keep your body hydrated. A few great options: Carol's Daughter makes Beautiful Belly ($7), a vitamin-rich massage cream for the stomach and hip-area; Bliss' Naked Body Butter ($32), a fragrance-free shea butter cream perfect for moisturizing without irritating sensitive noses; and California Baby's Intensive Oil ($20), an all-natural nourishing oil, just right for massaging into the belly. Each of these products is non-greasy and can help alleviate stretch marks and keep the skin supple.

Expectant mothers who are retaining water often suffer from an achy back and swollen legs. Erbaviva's Pregnancy Gift Set ($60) (which includes Mommy-to-be Milk Bath for a de-swelling soak, Stretch Mark Oil, and Back Rub Oil) is an ideal first-aid kit for sore muscles and the perfect excuse for a hands-on massage from your honey.

Baby on board
photo: Courtesy of Carol's Daughter
Baby on board

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The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians by Rachel Pepper (Cleis Press, $17 available in October) provides helpful information on self-esteem, fertility, sperm banks, and donors; Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-Be by Rebecca Eckler (Villard, $14) is a party-girl's chronicle of her transition from boozing to babies; and finally, because we feel men should not be left out of the pregnancy fun, The Blokes Guide to Pregnancy by Jon Smith (Hay House, $14), which tackles important male concerns like "Will her breasts remain that large?" and explains "Why hemorrhoids are NOT funny," is the perfect gift for the dad-to-be.

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Increased hormones can wreak havoc on skin, but you can beat breakouts safely. The entire Mario Badescu Skin Care line of products are suitable for use during all stages of pregnancy and Kelly Barrett, skin specialist at Mario Badescu, points out that although pimples during pregnancy are caused by a fluctuation in hormones, it is not the same as teenage acne and should not be treated as such. Kelly recommends Mario Badescu's Calma Mask ($12) or Mario Badescu's Healing and Soothing Mask ($20) to banish breakouts and blotchiness. After the first trimester, the Clove Oil by Enessa ($23) can be applied topically to kill acne-causing bacteria. Remember, avoid products that contain Retin-A, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide, which are harmful to the baby.

Want someone to take care of you before you become a caretaker? Most spas offer services designed specifically for mothers-to-be. Silk Day Spa has a special massage called "Mommy Marvel" ($110 for 60 minutes) to help relieve stress and improve circulation—a quick fix for swollen legs. Allure Day Spa offers the "Mommy to Be Day of Relaxation," which includes an aromatherapy prenatal massage, facial, spa manicure and pedicure, and a healthy lunch (package $270) to spoil you before the big day. Oasis Day Spa's "Mom-to-Be Package" features a prenatal massage, soothing lavender Dead Sea salt scrub, and a customized mini-facial (package $200) to baby your body. Can't get to the spa to relax but still need spa-style pampering? Spa Mama by Stacy Denney (Chronicle, $13) offers nine months of DIY beauty treatments and recipes for at-home indulgence.

But keep in mind that while these products and services may be safe for most pregnancies, always consult with your doctor first.

As we have discovered, you don't need celebrity money or status to feel like a star during pregnancy. Now, if you could only get someone to give up a seat on the train.

 
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