By now you have likely heard of the popular trend of pregnant couples taking a babymoon. Moms and Dads seek that one last get-a-way before baby makes 3. Some couples also take these vacations, focused on relaxation, when they already have a child at home with another on the way. The point is to be pampered and to reconnect with your spouse, away from the chaos of everyday life.
According to a survey conducted by Liberty Travel and Babycenter.com, 59% of new parents from the U.S have taken a babymoon vacation. That’s more than 2 million babymoons a year. The length and style of each babymoon varies, just like the couples themselves.
Freshly back from our babymoon, I’ve put together some tips and information to help plan your perfect escape.
When is the best time during your pregnancy to go?
It seems that the medical consensus belief is that in healthy pregnancies you can fly until 32 weeks. Many people have strong nausea and vomiting until weeks 12-15, so traveling may not be fun in the first trimester. The second trimester is ideal. You usually still have bountiful energy and aren’t totally uncomfortable. Plus, from week 20 on you probably have a cute bump for photos.
I’ve read that some women bring along notes from their doctor stating that travel is safe. I think the policy of having to show a doctor’s note varies by airline. We flew U.S Airways (now part of American Airlines) and no one asked to see any medical paperwork. The Transportation Safety Administration put together this useful video with tips for pregnant flyers.
Another important factor to check is the seasonal weather for the destination you plan to visit. You will want to avoid any times of especially high humidity or heat. We didn’t realize just how hot and sticky it would be in Cabo San Lucas when we planned our babymoon. As a result, we were always either in the pool or an air conditioned room. Luckily, the tourist resorts in Mexico have that infrastructure built in. As a side note, if you plan to go to Cabo San Lucas, July, August and September are uncomfortably HOT. We had more humidity than normal because there was a tropical storm hovering in the Sea of Cortez.
Make sure to do your research if you are vacationing in places like Europe or Central America where air conditioning isn’t always a given. While heat and humidly are never fun, they are even more uncomfortable when you are pregnant and swollen. Keep in mind that a cause of pre-term labor is dehydration. For that reason, drink plenty of water. The last thing you want is to go into early labor away from home.
Where are popular babymoon destinations?
Babymoons aren’t action packed, as mama can’t jump on a jet ski or go zip lining. Since relaxation is the goal, destinations that cater to wonderful food and wellness are the most popular choices.
A key consideration is how long transportation will take from where you live. Mexico, Sedona and Hawaii are popular destinations for those on the West Coast. Florida, Jamaica and the Bahamas are more popular for families from the East Coast.
Pregnant women aren’t notorious for wanting to sit on an airplane for hours. Don’t forget to check layover times before you book your flight. Make sure to get up and walk the aisles at least every two hours. The likelihood of blood clots are much higher while pregnant and you will want to make sure you get plenty of circulation.
Fodors wrote a great article about their top 10 picks for resorts that offer babymoon packages. They all look fabulous! See the link here.
What activities should we plan?
It may sound funny to get on an airplane, fly thousands of miles and then sleep? The number one activity recommended for babymoons is to catch up on your sleep! Go ahead and splurge for that king sized bed and make sure the hotel has plenty of pillows to wedge around the growing belly. Frequently, pregnant women have trouble sleeping, so make sure you have everything you need to get a good night’s rest. Don’t forget about afternoon naps too. Sleep in and do a late breakfast (or room service in bed.) In a matter of a few short months you will think about the leisure time and wish you could transport back to that land of slumber.
Light strolling and exploring are both great options while on your babymoon. Pregnant women are advised to walk everyday, although many don’t feel up to taking strenuous hikes. Plan on visiting somewhere you can go out and walk around, like interesting markets and plazas. We didn’t want to leave the resort very much during the day because of the heat. We were happy to get out and explore old town San Jose del Cabo in the evening.
Most babymoon packages include a trip to the day spa. Many parents enjoy indulging in a couples massage. It also feels great for Mom to get a pedicure or facial. Make sure to check the temperature of the jacuzzi at the spa to ensure it’s safe to submerge a pregnant belly. Our doctor said no hot tubs over 98 degrees. We were really impressed at the Desert Spa at the Villa del Palmar because in addition to the hot spas, they also had a 95 degree pool safe for mama.
Does Dad like to golf? Does Mom like to golf? This is one outdoor activity that is low impact enough that even pregnant women can head to the greens and spend the day putting through 18 holes. Golf is also a great pastime for Dad if he isn’t the type that likes to go to the spa. Mom can go get pampered while Dad spends a quiet day on the course.
What should we eat and drink?
All inclusive resorts tend to be popular for babymoon destinations for many reasons. Mom is generally always hungry and Dad has bottomless access to the pool bars. Moms, don’t despair. There are many drinks you can indulge in without alcohol. There are the typical go-to drinks like pina coladas, daiquiris or margaritas which can all easily be blended up booze-free. Or, get creative. A skilled bartender can modify just about any drink to produce something tasty and refreshing for both parents. Check out this Bob Marley frozen drink created for us at the Tortugsa Sports Bar at Villa del Palmar in Cabo. They were able to do one with rum for Ryan and a tasty baby-safe smoothie for mom.
While we were at the sports bar Ryan ordered their Yankeerinha, which contains Bacardi lemon, sprite and a splash of orange. The bartender graciously made one for me, which was a fancy version of the drink with no alcohol. He basically mixed an Arnold Palmer (to keep the sports theme) with lime rinds and a splash of orange. How pretty did that turn out? Mine is the big one. It’s really not a trip to Mexico without the “super burrito” which we happily shared.
There are a few things pregnant Moms need to make sure they avoid. Many couples babymoon in tropical locales that have fabulous fresh seafood. The Washington State Department of Health made this handy chart about mercury levels in fish and the frequency in with you should consume them. This is actually good information for anyone, but especially important for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
There are a few other foods to avoid that you may not think about. The biggest items to triple check while traveling are to make sure your milk and cheese are pasteurized, avoid pate and make sure your fruits and vegetables are washed with potable water. Some of the cheese popular in Mexico is unpasteurized, like the tasty cotija and queso fresco. For a full list of foods to avoid click the American Pregnancy Association’s site here.
If you choose to do the all inclusive option, call ahead to see what type of cuisine is available. We were really impressed by how much fresh fish, veggies, fruit and other healthy and light choices were at the hotel buffets. We have done other all inclusive packages in the past that were more pizza and burger type spreads. Since it’s vital that baby gets nutritious food, it’s important to know what you’re getting into.
There are countless reasons to volunteer. When you finish you leave feeling like you were productive in a way that helped somebody or something. I have found this to be exponentially better when you share the experience with your spouse. Volunteering all over the world has brought Ryan and I closer than I would have ever imagined. It helps us keep perspective about any of the challenges we face in our everyday life. The day before we flew home we walked dogs at the Los Cabos Humane Society. So fun! They are in desperate need over the summer because most of their volunteers leave the area when it gets hot.
If dogs aren’t your speed you can use google or trip advisor to easily find short volunteer opportunities in the area you choose to vacation.
Here are a few last resources for you to look at while you plan your babymoon.
Villa del Palmar in Cabo San Lucas – This is where we stayed in Cabo. It has both all-inclusive and non food/drink options. We had a kitchenette which made it easy to whip up a meal whenever we wanted.
BabymoonFinder.com – This site is exclusively dedicated to babymoon deals.
#Babymoon – Follow along with conversations and photos about babymoons on Twitter.