MASON, OH (FOX19) - Any woman that has ever given birth can speak to the aches and pains of pregnancy, but one spa in Mason, Ohio has built their business around making expectant mothers comfortable.
It is one of the few spas in the country that cater to only expectant mothers, and while they provide all the typical spa services you might expect, they also provide women with a very personal introduction to their unborn child.
When you are days away from giving birth, sometimes just a simple pedicure can make your day.
"They know how to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy. They specialize in it, so when I got my massage last week, it was really nice. I wish I could have gotten one every day," said Kristen Leavitt.
After receiving a massage at Becoming Mom just a week before the birth of her third child, Leavitt said she came back for a pedicure.
"There are tons of places out there for babies and very little out there for moms," explained owner of Becoming Mom, Dawn Bierschwal.
With two children of her own, Bierschwal said she wanted to create a place just for expectant mothers.
"Pregnant women feel very uncomfortable in a typical spa. There are a lot of people that are in shape around them or thin, and they are feeling, they are not feeling comfortable in their bodies and they know that here that is all we deal with," Bierschwal said.
But it's not just for massages and pedicures. In a private room with friends and family, you can see your unborn child up close and personal.
"Typically, people come in for a gender determination ultrasound maybe around 16-17 weeks and then they will come back for a 3D, 4D ultrasound maybe once or twice, sometimes even 3 or 4 times during their pregnancy," she said.
Ultrasounds in 3D and 4D provide a detailed image of an expectant mother's unborn child. Using this technology, Becoming Mom offers gender determinations with a money back guarantee. If they cannot see the child's gender because of the positioning of the baby, they will invite you back for a second ultrasound at no extra charge. Bierschwal says this service is frequently offered at her spa weeks before a doctor will perform them.
"We are providing a service that is not what the doctor is focused on. The doctor is focused on a healthy baby, he or she should be. But if someone wants to know the gender, they can come here. That is what we are focused on so we take the time to do that," Bierschwal explained.
But is it safe? Dr. David Schwartz has helped deliver Cincinnati babies for more than twenty years.
"I don't think it is harmful. On the other hand, she should alert her physician that she is having this done so he or she knows about it and knows what to expect," said Dr. Schwartz.
While ultrasounds themselves are extremely safe, the doctor tells FOX19 it's important to know who is performing them.
"The primary care taker is not actually doing that ultrasound and not actually having hands on with the patient and things could be missed," Dr. Schwartz added.
At Becoming Mom, Bierschwal says every sonographer is trained and RDMS certified. Many of them have previous experience in hospitals and doctor offices. She says her staff knows exactly what they are looking at and how to handle it if something is wrong.
"We are not a replacement for a woman's OB. We are a supplement to it. We work in close relationship with the doctors. We send reports to the doctors after we do the scans. But we will not see a woman if she is not under the care of an OB or a midwife," said Bierschwal.
As part of their services, expectant mothers can get prints of their child's image and hold small parties with family and friends at the spa while viewing their child's image on a flat screen television. The cost ranges from $99-$350 and is not covered by insurance.
"You can tell what the baby is going to look like when the baby is born. You can tell who it looks like, mom or dad. It's fascinating. It's exciting to see the baby like that," she added.
According to the law in Ohio, there are no requirements for a person to be trained or certified to perform an ultrasound. Unfortunately, Dr. Schwartz says some elective ultrasound centers do hire non-certified sonographers.
He recommends keeping your doctor informed of every service you have while you are pregnant.
Read additional information about Becoming Mom: www.becomingmomspa.com.