You’re about to welcome a child! Congrats! Whatever your path to motherhood, you’re about to embark on a wild, joyous, and exhausting ride of your life. No wonder many mamas-to-be are planning babymoons as a last hoorah before sleep becomes a sweet memory. Babymoons are essentially honeymoon-like vacations where you and a partner can relax and connect with each other before you hear the pitter patter of little feet (and, of course, those bleary-eyed round-the-clock feedings). Before you book, though, there are some things you need to consider as you plan the babymoon of your dreams.
When can you travel for a babymoon?
As long as you’re healthy and without any complications, you’re free to travel at all times, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Even so, the best time to travel might be during the second trimester since in most cases you’re no longer suffering from morning sickness and you’re not quite as tired as you will be during your third. When it comes to air travel, while most airlines will allow pregnant women to fly in their eighth month of pregnancy, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the International Air Travel Association suggest those with uncomplicated pregnancies avoid travel from the 37th week of pregnancy through birth. Your best bet? Somewhere between the vomit and the raging hemorrhoids is your dream window but consult with your OB-GYN before you book those plane tickets.
What destination is best for you?
“Consider when you’re going during your pregnancy before planning activities,” Amanda Emmerling, creator of the Traveling Toddler, tells Scary Mommy. “If you babymoon during the second trimester, you’re more likely to want to walk around and do activities. During the third trimester, you may just want to relax.”
Amanda Thurman, who runs Hot Mama Travel, has taken three babymoons for all three of her pregnancies and says it’s important to consider what kind of experience you’re looking for in a babymoon. “Is it to have some alone time with your spouse before you become a family? Is it to relax or is it to whoop it up one last time before you are homebound with baby?” These are key questions to ask before you decide on your destination. For her part, Thurman recommends Las Vegas “because it has everything. There are pools and spas for relaxing, romantic restaurants for couples and of course fun shows, attractions, and nightlife for having a little pre-mama fun.”
Don’t forget about Zika
The Zika virus is an important thing to consider when traveling, especially as a pregnant woman as it can spread to your fetus and cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There currently isn’t a vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika, which is why it’s essential to do your due diligence when it comes to selecting your destination.
Make sure you’re insured
Hey, stuff happens, especially when you’re pregnant. Which is why Emmerling recommends insuring your trip in the event that you’re having a tough pregnancy or something happens, and you’re unable to travel. Obtaining additional health travel insurance is always a good idea anyway. Make sure you understand the risks when it comes to traveling while pregnant and ask questions about your coverage.
Your babymoon doesn’t have to include your partner
Writer Rachel Sklar was single and 41 when she got pregnant and subsequently decided to do her babymoon in Palm Springs with her parents. “I loved doing this with my parents. It was so special and loving and wonderful. I wouldn’t change a thing,” she tells Scary Mommy, adding that asking your friends and family to join you, with or without your partner, is another great option. “Go with family or friends if you can — your ability to jet off on a trip is about to be massively curtailed, and it’s also a lovely way to spend quality time together with people who care about you and your baby, and will be stakeholders in your happiness and stability. Talk about the baby and also about things besides the baby. Have fun. Feel good.”
Take all the photos
Don’t shy away from Instagram and the camera — show off your baby belly proudly. “Take all the photos,” recommends Sklar. “As soon as baby comes you’ll forget all about pregnancy photos, but after the fog clears you will enjoy having them. Don’t worry about how you look, take the photos and if you never use them, fine. Just have them.” It’s a vacation of a lifetime, and you’ll one day thank yourself for keeping those pics.
Consider bringing your own snacks…and antacid
Whether you’re dealing with a slew of food aversions or you know your blood sugar — and appetite — requires regular snacking, it’s a good idea to take your own stash of preferred goodies with you. Mama’s gotta eat!
And if acid reflux is burning all the way down to your soul, pop your calcium-chew-of-choice into your bag just in case.
Don’t be afraid to make it about you
After all, you’re about to welcome a baby. Treat yourself to a prenatal massage. Let yourself off the hook and just enjoy. Eat when you want. Wake up late. These are things that you won’t be able to do once the baby comes, so soak it up.
You don’t have to travel far to have a meaningful experience
Sometimes our budgets don’t allow a big extravagant vacation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t create a babymoon of your own. “It does not have to be an elaborate, expensive, planned trip, it can be whatever you want,” says Sklar. “It becomes a babymoon by virtue of you doing something for yourself while carrying and sustaining a living human in your body. A staycation can be a babymoon, too. You get to define it.”