How to Plan a Babymoon
More people seem to be embarking on babymoons, or trips that expectant parents take to relax before they have an extra carry-on in the form of a bundle of joy. Babymoons aren’t a growing trend in travel only for the Hollywood elite: Almost 60% of parents-to-be report taking a pre-baby trip, making for more than 2 million babymooners in the US each year, according to a survey by Liberty Travel and BabyCenter.com. Here are the top things to keep in mind when traveling while pregnant and planning your own child-free getaway.
1: Time it Right.
It’s best to plan your trip in your second trimester, between 14 and 28 weeks into your pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That’s because the morning sickness that typically strikes during your first trimester has hopefully subsided, and your baby bump isn’t so big yet that it gets in the way of your activities. You may feel too tired and uncomfortable to fully enjoy travel as your get into your final trimester.
2: Choose your destination.
Whether you want to chill out on the beach or have a cosmopolitan getaway before diaper runs and midnight feedings become the norm, pick a place that appeals to you both and that allows for ample R&R. It’s a good bet to cut down on travel time, since your pregnant body likely won’t do well on a trip that has three different layovers or a 10-hour car ride. Plus, you don’t want to be too far away from your doctor or modern medicine should you need medical attention.
3: Keep your doctor in the loop.
Get in touch with your doctor before you book any trip to make sure she thinks your itinerary is safe and to talk about any necessary precautions you might need to take, such as vaccines you might need (and whether they are safe during pregnancy) and foods you should avoid. If you’re flying, your doctor may recommend you get a flu shot, since pregnant women may be more susceptible to respiratory infections.
4: Be prepared.
It’s not fun to think about, but it’s a good idea to have the name, address and contact number for a hospital or medical center at your destination. If you’re traveling abroad, check out the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers for a worldwide directory of doctors. Also register with the American embassy or consulate once you reach your destination in case you should need extra help leaving the country in an emergency. Be sure to check your health insurance policy to see if you’re covered at your destination; if not, find supplemental travel insurance.
5: Fly the friendly skies.
Flying is considered safe as long as you have a healthy pregnancy, but discuss it with your doctor beforehand. Carry a medical letter confirming that it’s OK for you to fly, as well as your prenatal chart, just in case you have any issues at check-in. Ask your airline about travel restrictions for pregnant women (most let you fly until 35 weeks, but the cutoff point is sooner for international flights). Booking an aisle seat is key so you can easily get up to use the bathroom and move around. Bring snacks, stay hydrated, and skip foods that make you gassy (air in your stomach expands at altitude). Though the Transportation Security Administration says that metal detectors and backscatter X-ray machines are safe for pregnant women, you might want to be extra cautious by skipping them altogether and asking for a pat-down instead when going through security.
6: Hit the road.
Road trips can be good bets for babymooners because you’ll save money on a flight and will have the peace of mind of being relatively close to home should you need to return on a dime. Try not to drive more than five or six hours, take frequent breaks to boost your blood flow, and pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks. Also, wear your seat belt low, with the shoulder strap across your collar bone, and move your seat as far back as possible to create more distance between your baby bump and the steering wheel or dashboard, just in case you (God forbid!) get in a fender bender.
7: Go cruising.
Before you book, ask about the cruise line’s policies for pregnant women (many don’t allow you on board after 25 weeks). Cruises may be the ultimate in R&R, but you might want to avoid them during pregnancy if you know that you’re prone to seasickness. Ask your doctor about what seasickness medicines are safe to take, make sure there is a medical professional on board, and check the ports of call in advance to ensure you’ll have access to modern medical facilities should you need them.
8: Speak up about your babymoon.
Honeymooners have been known to get free upgrades for their once-in-a-lifetime getaway, so it can’t hurt to let everyone know that you’re on a babymoon. You might get a seat or room upgrade or a special gift basket in your room upon check-in. But even if you don’t, talking to others about your impending arrival can boost your bonding experience and make your trip feel all the more special before baby makes three.
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