Moms-to-be have major to-do lists, but one thing on the docket may serve as a welcome reprieve from the rest: The babymoon. "Babymoons are of the hottest trends in the travel industry right now," Destinations in Florida Travel travel agent Siera Duiser says. "These couples are looking for one last hurrah before they welcome their new child." The numbers prove it: Up to 53 percent of expectant parents invested in a pre-baby getaway last year, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker.
Although you may have reservations about traveling while pregnant, there are plenty of ways to plan a safe, relaxing getaway. Here, 7 things to know to plan your best babymoon ...
- Choose an ideal location: "Take your time to pick a spot that might not be as easy for you to get to in this next wonderful year with baby," certified doula and board certified lactation consultant Brandi Jordan, MSW, IBCLC advises. At the same time, you'll want to take into consideration whether it's a destination where you could potentially get medical care easily and quickly.
- Stay close to home if that's easiest: It's totally normal to feel more comfortable staying within driving distance to home. And there are benefits to it, too. "Traveling by car allows for easier access to emergency care and more frequent stops for restroom breaks, stretching and nausea," says Gary Stoner, M.D., OB/GYN at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. You could just take a few days off of work to go to a nearby beach, lake, or mountain getaway. Or just spend a weekend "sightseeing" your own city or going out for a nice dinner. The whole point of a babymoon is to just take a break from baby prep and spending relaxing, quality time with your partner, so as long as you're doing that, it counts!
- Get the timing right: The biggest concern health care providers have about babymoons revolves around when you choose to go on them. "The best time to travel while pregnant is between 14-28 weeks, because most OB emergencies occur during the first and third trimesters," explains Draion "Dr. Drai" Burch, M.D., OB/GYN at Magee-Womens Hospital of The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You'll also do well to shoot for that window of opportunity when you're not experiencing morning sickness or intense fatigue.
- Fill in your doctor: Most experts recommend women talk to their health care provider about their plans. Jordan recommends taking it one step further, if you are traveling by air: "Check with your doctor to ensure you are able to fly, and get a written letter of approval to fly from your doctor, and carry it with you at all time," she says. "Some airlines will want verification of your ability to fly, and it's better to be safe than sorry!" To be extra-safe, both you and your partner should carry a copy of the letter, as well as your prenatal records.
- Avoid small airplanes: Even if you are able to fly, you'll do well to avoid flying in small, unpressurized planes, notes Jordan. "It makes the body work too hard to deliver the correct amounts of oxygen to your entire body and baby," she says.
- Get insured: This is usually of concern if you are doing an international trip, but it doesn't hurt to see what your coverage would be out of state, either. "Ensure that your health insurance covers your trip," Jordan advises. "If not, it would be wise to look into a travel insurance policy that best fits your needs." (Sites like TravelGuard.com let you compare quotes from different companies.)
- Stay hydrated: While traveling, and even on a beach where you've planted yourself and don't plan on doing much of anything at all, be sure you still drink up. Water, that is. "Pregnant women tend to become dehydrated more quickly than normal," says Dr. Stoner. "The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women drink eight to 12 glasses of water a day to ensure their amniotic fluid is renewed and breast milk production on track."
Finally, when in doubt about how to spend your time while you're away, do whatever it is that chills you out the most. You don't need to push yourself to try to accomplish biggies on your bucket list. The key is to get some well-deserved R&R and enjoy activities that ultimately bring you closer to your mate. "Treasure this time with your partner," advises Jordan. "That [way], you return refreshed and ready to tackle labor, delivery, and life as a party of three head-on!"
What would your ultimate babymoon be like?
Images via ccordova/Flickr & via © Kris Ubach and Quim Roser/Corbis