It can be a wonderfully weird and exciting time when you’re expecting! Once you find out you’re due to become parents, your mind starts racing with all the things you have to get done before the baby arrives, as well as making sure mom-to-be stays healthy in the run-up to the big day. With so many thoughts to overwhelm you, it can be tempting to take a breather from it all and go on a mini-vacation.
In recent years, expectant moms and dads have chosen to celebrate their upcoming addition to the family in different ways, with things like baby showers and push parties (thrown shortly before the due date) and among these pre-birth rituals is one that has grown in popularity like no other – the well-earned vacation for moms before they give birth, otherwise known quite cutely as a ‘Babymoon’.
Amidst all the tumultuousness of planning for your little one’s arrival, things can get hectic. Add in morning sickness, discomfort and a ban on your usual vices (like a relaxing glass of wine), and pregnancy can be pretty rough, which is why it’s so important to take a step back and indulge in a little quality time with your partner. A Babymoon may be a little out of your budget, but the benefits of a chilled, pampering break could be just what’s needed before the birth. If you’re considering one last vacation as a child-free couple, check out the following tips on how to plan for an incredible (and safe) Babymoon.
20 Do - Inform Your Doctor
First things first before you get carried away planning your pre-baby vacation – let your doctor know about your intentions to travel. Depending on how far along you are in your term, your personal physician may give you the go-ahead. Just as long as you bear in mind the health and safety conditions that go along with it.
Everyone experiences their pregnancy differently and some mothers may be permitted to travel late in their pregnancy whilst other high-risk cases (like women carrying triplets) may not be allowed to travel at all. Your OB will let you know whether traveling is in your best interest for the welfare of your baby. Don’t be discouraged if you’re told to stay put. A post Babymoon can always be on the cards!
19 Don’t - Travel Too Early In Your Pregnancy
Your doctor will be able to make the best observation as to how soon is 'too soon' for you to travel, with your unique health history and the type of pregnancy you’re experiencing (i.e. twins, triplets, quadruplets). Even if you’re given the go-ahead by a medical professional though, you then need to ask yourself how you feel about the idea of traveling.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than half of pregnant women experience morning sickness which usually occurs in the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12).
So if you’re only a month or so into your term, you may want to hold off from booking a place if you know there’s a chance you’ll be battling nausea the entire time.
18 Don’t - Travel Too Late, Either!
There have been stories of pregnant women flying at barely a week away from their due date! This is thankfully a pretty rare occurrence. Not only will many airline companies prohibit women from traveling at such a late stage in their pregnancy, but
doctors will strongly advise against traveling after 25 weeks (when women are approaching their third trimester).
Traveling beyond 25 weeks can put women at greater risk of developing blood clots or going into premature labor. The best time to travel is usually slap bang in the middle of your pregnancy term – somewhere between 18 to 24 weeks within your second trimester. This is the Goldilocks spot where nausea has ebbed but you’re not too heavy and fatigued to enjoy yourself.
17 Do - Consider Keeping A Pregnancy Travel Journal
Being pregnant is no fun sometimes and there may be days when your discomfort and general fatigue gets in the way of you enjoying the moment. A nice way to reconnect with your bundle of joy and take more pleasure in the holiday itself is to consider keeping a pregnancy travel journal.
Documenting your Babymoon travels will not only help to put you in a better state of mind but recording what you did on vacation with photos and journaling will be a future treasure trove for your little one. Getting your thoughts on paper and creating memories – it’s a win-win!
16 Do - Plan Breakfast... Well
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and once you’re pregnant, it’s even more vital that you get what you (and your little one) needs before starting the day. Keeping to a breakfast routine may be simple at home but traveling can throw things out of whack, so it’s good to know what you can expect from the breakfast at your destination ahead of traveling.
Research the local cafes and restaurants to see what’s what (they may even serve that particular food you’ve been craving non-stop!). If all else fails, you could always opt for room service. Or better still, find accommodation that has great breakfast in bed rates. Lazy mornings in fluffy dressing gowns and slippers could be just what you need.
15 Don’t - Overcomplicate Things
There are more or less 2 kinds of travelers in the world: the free spirits who go where the wind takes them on vacation and those who have every day planned out to make sure they squeeze in all the sightseeing they can. As a pregnant traveler, it’s good to be somewhere in between these two and make things simpler.
You don’t want to make the mistake of booking somewhere that requires two train rides to get anywhere. Pay a little extra for the convenience of having all the amenities on your doorstep and you’ll never need to rely on public transport to scout out sights and decent eateries. A simple holiday can be the best when you’re carrying a bundle!
14 Don’t - Plan A Foodie Vacation
Pregnancy can do all sorts of things with your appetite and sense of smell. Even long after the morning sickness phase, all the cravings and heightened sensations where food is concerned tend to make your taste buds a little unpredictable during this time, which is why it’s so important to keep this in mind when you’re traveling.
Sorry to all the food-lovers out there, but a big no-no when traveling pregnant is to plan your holiday around some kind of culinary fest.
Trying new food can be great, but if there’s a chance that unfamiliar tastes and smells will overwhelm you to the point of nausea, then the vacay could be a bust from the start. You know your own body, so try to play things by ear.
13 Do - Avoid Traveling In Peak Season
Navigating your way through bustling streets and crowds on the beach may not have bothered you so much when it was just the two of you on vacation. Now it’s the three of you (kind of) and suddenly, sharing your precious last weeks of freedom with a sea of tourists at every turn doesn’t seem so appealing.
You could be spending a lot on your Babymoon together, so if this is the one chance for a bit of quality time you’ll have together in a long time, you’ll want to make it the best time ever. Traveling off-season means fewer crowds, more welcoming and attentive staff, but best of all – that feeling that you have the whole island/city/town to yourself!
12 Don’t - Be Apologetic About It
Carrying a child is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever do and can strengthen you and your partner’s bond like you never imagined. But since you’re the one carrying your little bundle of joy and facing all the discomfort and distress that comes with it, you’re totally within your rights to be a Babymoon boss!
If you’re more of a beach bunny than your partner or more inclined to stroll through museums and galleries than ticking landmarks off your list, then this is the vacation where you’re entitled to have things go your way!
A comfortable and happy mom-to-be makes for a happy Babymoon and if your partner is patient and loving, we’re sure they’ll see it this way too.
11 Do - Consider A Local Vacation
While planning the kind of Babymoon you want is important, it’s always worth communicating with your partner about where you’d like to go together. At the end of the day, a pre-baby holiday is an extra expense on top of your looming and very expensive bundle of joy! So don’t be afraid to compromise. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity for that trip you had planned for years? Or perhaps you want to revisit the place you first met?
An amazing pre-baby vacation could still be had a little closer to home, so if you’re looking to Babymoon on a tighter budget, a little getaway within the country (or even your own state) could still make for a relaxing and unforgettable break.
10 Don’t - Go On A Cruise Without Medical Assistance On Board
Did you know that some smaller cruise line ships (those with fewer than 100 passengers) don’t always have medical professionals on their staff? This is a pretty scary thought. Some passengers may be content with riding out an upset stomach or similar complaint without the need for medical assistance, but a pregnant lady on the high seas is a different matter, not least since she could end up giving birth halfway across the Pacific!
Always tell your cruise-liner and staff members on board that you are pregnant, including how far along you are, too. The vast majority of cruise ship companies will do anything they can to accommodate travelers with a specific health condition, so don’t get on board before you know you’re in good hands.
9 Do - Check Pregnancy Travel Health Risks
It goes without saying that traveling to some parts of the world can come with some health and safety risks, and as a pregnant woman, it’s absolutely vital that you find out everything you need to know about your destination in terms of the risk it may pose to you and your unborn.
Things like the Zika virus is still prevalent in some countries, which can pass on severe birth defects to the unborn baby. To take extra care before traveling, be sure to check health control advisory boards to see where certain diseases or infections can be found. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allows you to search by country and lists in detail the infected areas and a three-tier alert level if you are discouraged from traveling.
8 Do - Whatever You Can To Reduce Travel Time
Being stuck on an extra long car ride or plane journey is not much fun for most people, but when you’re flying for two, things can get extra tedious and extra tiring pretty quickly. To ensure you keep as comfortable as possible on your travels, do whatever you can to break your journey up a bit.
If you’re flying long haul, try and opt for connecting flights rather than direct ones if you can. Splitting the journey into many legs can sometimes save you money, so shop around for the best deals.
Adding many legs to your journey may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but having the option to stretch your legs and use more bathroom breaks than usual is certainly a plus once you’re preggers!
7 Don’t - Dismiss Holiday Mocktails
If your idea of a blissful day on vacation was sipping sangria by the pool, don’t be disheartened by the fact that you need to lay off the booze for the duration. Being the only sober one at the party needn’t be a drag once you open your eyes (and taste buds!) to all the amazing holiday mocktails that bars serve nowadays.
Holiday drinks come in all shapes and sizes and just because they’re alcohol-free, they shouldn't automatically translate as boring – far from it! Relaxing by the pool or beach with a mocktail in hand can make you feel just as festive if it’s ice cold, deliciously fruity and best of all when it still has that little umbrella popped in!
6 Do - Let People Know You’re Pregnant On Your Flight
Ever wanted to try your luck at a travel upgrade? Being pregnant can give you that golden opportunity and it’s always worth asking if it makes the journey more comfortable for you.
No matter how far along you are or how subtle your baby bump, don’t forget to inform staff members on your flight or even your train journey that you’re with child.
Be sure to inform your airline that you’re pregnant when you book the flights. Given enough advance, the flight crew may be able to offer you the best seat (or sometimes empty row of seats!) on the plane. You could also pre-order a custom in-flight meal to satisfy a particular craving at 30,000ft.
5 Don’t - Forget To Take Advantage Of Pools
Lounging in the pool is most people’s idea of relaxing on holiday, but when you’re pregnant, a gentle swim can be doubly soothing – even if you’re just chilling back and floating. You could consider getting a specialized pregnancy pool float that allows you and your bump to lounge comfortably in the pool.
Taking things easy in the pool can be a good time to practice mindfulness when you're having a particularly stressed or uncomfortable day. Focusing on the feel of the cool water and the lapping sounds can be more therapeutic to a pregnant woman than you know. You could also drop hints to your partner about booking you a poolside massage or spa treatment for added bliss!
4 Don’t - Expect A Completely Romantic Trip
Pre-baby vacations can have the potential for romance as you and your partner enjoy the quality time before chaos ensues, but let’s be real, being pregnant isn't always a walk in the park. It’s good to go into things with an open mind that this may not turn out to be exactly like your honeymoon!
You may even want to take a short Babymoon trip with your closest friends instead of your partner. The key thing is that it’s a break for you and your body before every element of your life changes forever, so go with who you love, do what makes you happy and relax in the only way you know how!
3 Do - Research The Medical Facilities Nearby
Nothing will ruin your well-earned vacay more than feeling dangerously unprepared for an emergency situation, like say, going into early labor in an unfamiliar country! Traveling in any circumstances needs a fair amount of careful planning, but when you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t leave anything up to chance – least of all where the nearest medical facility is.
If you’re headed to a city location or well-populated town area, then hopefully finding quality medical assistance shouldn’t be a problem. But perhaps your health needs could benefit from specialty medical help. If this is the case, it may be wise to book the vacation around the best hospital facilities in the area and continue planning from there.
2 Don’t - Forget Your Comfort Measures
“I feel so comfortable this week!” said no pregnant woman ever. From nausea to tired aching muscles, comfort is a hard thing to sustain in pregnancy, but as long as you listen to your body and be extra kind to yourself, there’s no reason why your pre-baby getaway shouldn’t be a joyful experience.
First off, opt for casual, breezy clothes on vacation. If it’s a struggle to get in, don’t suffer for fashion – it’ll still be in your wardrobe next year. As well as feeling physically comfortable, go ahead and do things that boost your self-esteem. Get that spa treatment or new hairstyle before you hop on the plane. Anything to make you feel fresh and beautiful is fair game during pregnancy.
1 Do - Keep Active On A Fight/Train
Anyone flying long haul is usually advised to get up from their seat every now and again to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing to avoid blood clots. Since pregnant women are at particularly high risk of developing blood clots,
keeping active throughout a long flight or train journey is absolutely essential to the health of mom and baby.
When booking your plane or train seats, be sure to pick an aisle seat. This will make it so much easier to get up as often as you can during a long journey without disturbing your neighbor to get up. You’ll also be within quicker reach of the toilets on board – another great excuse to do a little walking up and down the aisle before returning to your seat!