Once upon a time, a babymoon was born. The term was coined in 1991 by British childbirth educator Sheila Kitzinger to refer to the time parents spent bonding at home with their newborn babies. But oh, how far we’ve come. The 2000s, with a generous dollop of help from Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have flipped that word right onto its tiny, hairless head. No longer post-baby, a modern babymoon is the last-hurrah trip taken by expectant parents before they welcome their child into the world. It’s a chance for the couple to spend some quality time together—after all, there might be precious little of that after the baby comes.
Babymoons are a great way to say both hello and goodbye to the different stages of your life, and an even better excuse to travel! But how should you do it? When should you go, and to where? What considerations should you take into account? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!
Why take a babymoon?
Life can be rough. The daily grind can take a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. A babymoon lets you relax and recharge your mind and body before you’ve got diapers to change and hard surfaces to repeatedly disinfect. It also gives you the chance to spend quality time with your partner so you can head into parenthood feeling like a team.
When should you go?
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the safest time to travel is 18 to 24 weeks into your pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage is higher in the first trimester, and the risk of early labor is higher in the third. In the sweet spot of the second trimester, though, your morning sickness will (hopefully!) be over and you’ll have a lot more energy. Keep in mind that airlines and cruise lines have varying restrictions on traveling while pregnant. While most physicians say you’re safe to travel up to 36 weeks into your pregnancy, cruise lines generally restrict travel after 24-27 weeks and many airlines won’t allow you onboard if you’re within 30 days of your due date.
Where should you go?
Wherever you want! Many expectant mothers can’t get enough sun, sand, and relaxation, but others want the freedom to explore before their baby is born. Make it a trip you can enjoy while pregnant. Wherever you and your partner choose, be sure it’s safe and has been approved by your doctor or gynecologist. Keep in mind that while a remote tropical island vacation may sound relaxing, being stranded in the middle of the ocean during a medical emergency does not. Consider destinations with good roads and access to medical facilities.
What should you pack?
If you’re flying:
- Flip flops or slip-ons (your feet will thank you!)
- Compression socks
- A letter from your doctor confirming that you are safe to fly. Some airlines require this, but it’s good to have with you regardless. This letter should be dated no more than 10 days prior to your departure and include your current week of pregnancy, estimated due date, and an assurance that you are fit to travel.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Prenatal charts and medical notes
- Emergency contact information for your doctor or gynecologist
- Prenatal vitamins/medications. If you’re flying, keep these in your purse in case you’re separated from your luggage.
- A water bottle
Tips for your trip:
- Your babymoon doesn’t need to be some grand international extravaganza, and there’s certainly no set length of time. This is a chance for you and your partner to spend time together, so make it exactly what you want.
- Plan ahead! Don’t wait until you’re eight months pregnant to maybe possibly start thinking about that trip to Tahiti.
- Check travel restrictions and vaccine requirements before you go. The Centers for Disease Control issue travel advisories that alert you to health risks like Zika outbreaks. If you choose a country that requires vaccinations, check with your doctor to make sure they’re safe for you.
- Pack light so you don’t have to lug around heavy suitcases.
- Choose a centrally located hotel so you can walk to all the major sites.
- If you fly, request an aisle seat close to the bathroom. Doctors recommend that expectant mothers stretch their legs every hour or so, even if that’s only a quick walk up and down the aisle. Plus you might be needing the bathroom once…or twelve times.
- Familiarize yourself with the locations of the nearest hospitals wherever you’re staying. Hopefully you won’t need them, but it will give you peace of mind to know where they are in case of an emergency.
- Listen to your body. Be willing to spend a day lounging around on the beach or by the hotel pool if you feel your energy draining.
- Don’t apologize or feel guilty for doing exactly what you want to do. This is your babymoon. Don’t spend an entire day wandering the Louvre just because you’re in Paris and that’s what people do when they’re in Paris. If you want to kick back at the pool, go for it!
- Limit car rides to four hours, and make sure to stop every hour to stretch your legs.
- Pack plenty of snacks. Granola bars and fiber-rich fruits are always a good idea.
- Ask your hotel for extra pillows to help you sleep more comfortably. If you’re traveling by car, bring extras from home.
- Pregnancy can make you feel overheated, so make sure that your hotel room (and rental car, if that’s how you’re traveling) are equipped with air conditioning.
- Research and purchase travel insurance. Be sure to read the fine print, as some companies won’t cover expectant mothers, and many of the ones that do will only cover you up to eight weeks before your due date. Note that while your pregnancy as a condition is likely covered, your unborn baby is not.
- Check with your airline/cruise line to verify that they’ll allow you to travel.
- If you’ll be on a boat for any part of your trip, make sure there is a health care professional onboard. Many smaller ships (fewer than 100 passengers) won’t have one.
- Consider booking a babymoon package. A growing number of hotels, especially resorts, offer inclusions like early check-in, nonalcoholic cocktails, and prenatal spa treatments. When you talk to your go-today travel consultant, be sure to tell them you’re expecting so they can advise the hotel—especially if you’d like a ground-floor room or have any other special requests.
- Consult your doctor/gynecologist/midwife before you go. Keep them informed of your itinerary and all other travel plans and listen to their advice. Be prepared for the possibility that your doctor wants you to stay closer to home than you were hoping. The health of you and your baby is the most important consideration.
However you choose to babymoon, be smart and safe—and have an amazing time!
Need some trip-planning inspiration? Consider one of these life-changing go-today packages.