Trend: Postpartum Retreats Are Really Taking Off 

If Asia has long had a tradition of destinations that provide rest, recovery and wellness for moms right after birth, now far more postpartum retreats are opening westwardfrom the US to Dubai  

Following childbirth, new moms, particularly outside Asia, find themselves in a care “desert.” They’re quickly kicked out of the hospital, and all attention is focused on the baby. While giving birth is a huge physical event, and often entails serious mental health challenges (one in five mothers will experience postpartum depression), postpartum care has been criminally ignored. Our 2024 trend, “The Rise of Postpartum Wellness,” goes in-depth on how change is here, from femtech startups solving for the spectrum of postpartum physical and mental issues, to more governments underwriting postpartum care, to the rise of postnatal retreats for mom and baby at dedicated centers that deliver a period of rest, healing and wellness.

Cultures around the world have long had at-home postpartum care traditions: across Asia, a month of rest and recovery provided by family is standard, and Latin American countries have the cuarentena, 40 days of supported postpartum recuperation. In recent years, with more people living away from family, postpartum retreats are becoming destinations created in high-end hotels or residences, where mom and baby can go to straight from the hospital, for precious days or weeks of 24/7 care. They have nurses who tend to the baby so mom can sleep, they provide healthy meals, baby-care and lactation education—and increasingly, far more “modern wellness” offerings like massages, therapeutic bathing, yoga, Pilates, physical therapy, and even aesthetic treatments.  

Since the mid-90s, postpartum retreats (called sanhujoriwons) have exploded in Korea. There are currently around 500, with a range of prices from $100 to $2,000 a night, and 80% of new mothers now use them. There are so many postpartum retreats opening in Asia, from Singapore’s Saint Bella, a brand so successful that they may have an IPO this year, to Little Precious Postnatal Care in Kuala Lumpur, with its team of obstetricians, TCM doctors, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and lactation consultants. Postpartum retreats are a huge, multibillion dollar business in Asia.  

What’s striking is how, just in the few weeks since we wrote the trend, so many postpartum retreats are opening beyond Asia—whether in the US, Canada or Dubai. They certainly fill a massive postpartum care gap there.   

They certainly fill a uniquely bad postpartum care gap in the US, where maternal illness and deaths are rising. The US is also the only high-income country that fails to guarantee parental leave for new moms. The first US postpartum retreat was Boram, at the Langham Hotel in Manhattan, which opened in 2022 ($2,700 for a three-night stay). Since then, many others have followed. Sanu Postnatal Retreat launched recently at The Watermark Hotel in Tysons, Virginia, with its 24-hour nursery staffed with medically-accredited caregivers and chef-prepared meals ($1,045/night). San Diego’s new Post Pamper at the Noble House Hotel features doulas, an overnight nursery, postpartum-tailored meals and spa treatments, newborn education, in-room pelvic floor therapy and mental health support. There’s the brand-new Utah Postpartum Retreat, and Yuzi will open in Seattle in May (see below); Ahma & Co. just opened at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort in California, with a team of doulas, therapists and newborn specialists ($1,650/night)—and they say 4,000 people are on its waitlist. Asia’s Saint Bella is slated to launch in the US this year. Canada just got its first postpartum retreat, Alma Care, at the Kimpton Hotel in Toronto; and the UAE got its first one as well: Blissful Beginnings, at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai and Park Hyatt Dubai (from $950/night). Because the model is solidifying around operating retreats at wellness-focused hotels and resorts, it’s an interesting new opportunity for the wellness industry.  

Moving beyond exclusivity: We list the prices of some of these new retreats to emphasize how unaffordable they are for most people. All new parents need the rest, support and baby education offered at these postpartum sanctuaries, but it’s going to take government and employer policy change to get there. We see some action in a few US states: California, Massachusetts and New York just started covering at-home post-partum doula visits. In the recent Bloomberg article on the surge in postpartum retreats in the US, the operators hope that the industry will eventually resemble Korea’s, where budget and luxury options (and everything in between) are offered everywhere, and the government subsidizes some (or all) of the cost. In that article, Yuzi’s founder, Stephiney Foley, likens the current postpartum care moment to where fertility treatments were a decade ago: very few companies or governments covered them. But now more do. Foley sees a future where the cost (whether for postpartum retreats or doulas) is shared among employers, employees, and government assistance programs. As birthrates plummet across North America, Europe and Asia, you can bet there will be more public investment in giving new moms and parents a more sane, supported, and human postnatal experience.  

Discover the 10 Trends Shaking Up the Wellness Industry in 2024 Here

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