Before the stork arrives and you enter the world of sleepless nights and diaper genies, you may want to consider a last hurrah as a “free” couple. It’s called a “babymoon,” and you can think of it as a celebration of your life together up to this point, a spirited launch into your new life as parents, or just a chance to spend some relatively worry-free vacation time together. Call it what you like, but take it while you can!
Types of Getaways
The choices are numerous and varied - everything from one-day outings to 5-star excursions abroad. You don’t have to travel far - just spending a quiet weekend at a hotel in your own town can be thoroughly relaxing and rejuvenating. Consider going to your favorite restaurant and having a special meal created just for you - if you tell the chef that you’re expecting, oftentimes he or she will know exactly what to prepare.
Many day spas offer special prenatal packages that include massages, whirlpools, facials, mother-to-be baskets, and pampering for dads-to-be, as well.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there are a number of fine hotels all over the world that offer special babymoon packages, including prenatal massages, spa treatments for expecting mothers, and all the other trappings of a luxury vacation. The Excelsior Palace Hotel on the Italian Portofino Coast, for example, offers prenatal and postnatal weekend packages.
BabyMoon is a European website that features luxury getaways to destinations including the U.S., Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Mexico.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) states that women can fly safely up to 36 weeks into their pregnancies. Keep in mind that every person and every pregnancy is different, so it is best to consult with your doctor regarding any safety concerns you might have.
If you do plan on flying, check to see that your airline has no restrictions concerning flying while pregnant. Some carriers require a doctor’s note stating that it is safe for you to fly. Try to avoid gas-producing food or drinks before flying as gas will expand at higher altitudes and cause greater discomfort.
If you decide to travel internationally, talk with your doctor and evaluate the quality of medical care available in that region as well as any vaccines that may be necessary. Some countries require immunizations - which are not a problem to get when pregnant as long as the vaccines are not live, such as those for measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and yellow fever.
Altitude is another consideration because of decreased oxygen levels. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women avoid altitudes greater than 12,000 feet, and those in the high-risk group should stay below 8,200 feet.
When to Babymoon
Just because it’s technically safe to travel through your 36th week doesn’t mean waiting until the end will be the most comfortable time. The ACOG advises the safest window of opportunity is during the second trimester (18-24 weeks). The first few weeks of pregnancy are when most women feel the most nauseated, making it not the ideal time to travel; and the beginning of the third trimester is the time when most women start to feel less mobile.
Also, plan your getaway around your prenatal visits to the doctor and be sure you can stay in touch while away.
What to Pack
Leave your favorite shoes at home – you probably won’t fit into them after a little ankle swelling – and be sure to focus on comfort. This is not a fashion show! When my wife packed for our trip to Maui, I don’t think I’ve ever seen us walk out of the house with such streamlined luggage. It was beautiful.
Bring a list of all your medical contacts. Make copies – this is good information to share and one less thing for you to worry about.
Things to Remember
Water. Drink loads of it during travel and sightseeing. Your body and your baby’s developing body will need more hydration than normal.
Don’t plan a crazy itinerary. This is a chance for you to relax as a couple. Save the trek to Machu Picchu or the biking trip through China for when you’re not carrying around an extra passenger.
This may the last time you get to relax and savor some extended downtime for a while, so make the most of it, and enjoy your time together.
- Many fine hotels and websites offer special babymoon packages.
- Traveling by plane? Pregnant women can fly safely up to 36 weeks, but…
- The safest window to travel is during the second trimester (18-24 weeks).
– Adam Grossman