As the founder of the Babymoon Experience, I'm an understandably proud proponent of the babymoon getaway. But between Zika and any number of obstacles to getting out of town, I understand why many mamas and papas-to-be may decide to stay put. Nonetheless, I think expectant parents deserve to treat themselves, which is why I want to help them put together a “Stay-bymoon” -- a mini pre-baby staycation dedicated to nourishing body and mind in preparation for the birth of your child. Based on the components that make the perfect babymoon, here are 6 essentials to creating your own private stay-bymoon experience.
Movement. Attend a prenatal yoga class in your neighborhood. Prenatal yoga classes offer an amazing way to prepare your body and mind to give birth. Exercises are safe for pregnancy and help you cultivate the strength, flexibility and stamina needed for birth. I always coach my doula clients to hold a challenging yoga pose and practice whatever breathing or relaxation techniques they hope to use during labor while feeling the burn of the pose they are in. These classes are also a great way to make friends who are also going through pregnancy. The support of sharing experiences should not be underestimated.
Nourishment. Meet up with your partner or a friend after class for a nourishing meal. The body often craves the foods we need to best nourish ourselves, and women are especially intuitive during pregnancy and childbirth. Ask yourself what kind of food would feel most nourishing and satisfying right now? Let that be your restaurant guide. With the company of a loved one, the nourishment can seep in on multiple levels.
Pampering. Schedule a prenatal massage! Go there alone or ask your partner or a friend to join you. Pregnant bodies often reveal newfound tensions as a growing belly and baby can put a strain on your back, hips, and feet. That’s why a good massage can prove therapeutic. Even if you’re fortunate enough to be feeling great during your pregnancy, a relaxing massage will calm your nervous system and enhance blood circulation to benefit both you and baby.
Nature. Stroll through the park on your way to class or lunch, or go somewhere you can get a view of the river. If the weather is nice, find a grassy patch, take off your shoes and feel the ground beneath your feet. If that’s too crunchy granola for you, keep your shoes on, and simply enjoy the view and the sun shining on your face. Either way, connecting with nature is often grounding for people -- a way to decompress and take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Additionally, you may consider that nature themes like ocean waves can often provide calming imagery for birth.
Education. Time for birth preparation. Maybe you’ll decide to curl up on the couch or at a cafe to read a chapter of a birth book you’ve been meaning to get to? If you’ve hired a doula, perhaps you’ll plan your prenatal visit. If you haven’t yet chosen a childbirth class, talk with your partner about signing up for one. Any step in the direction of educating and preparing yourself for the day you’ll meet your little one will feel great!
Connection. Do any or all of these activities with your partner. Spending quality time talking about what lies ahead will help you both feel connected. And when it comes time for birth, being affectionate and loving with each other will actually boost your natural oxytocin levels, the hormone of bonding that moves labor smoothly along.
Though I hope you’ll do them all, even if you choose just one of these experiences, enjoy giving yourself and your partner the kind of attention that will surely support you on the road to parenthood.
Yiska Obadia is a birth doula, acupuncturist and massage therapist practicing in NYC. She also teaches comforting touch for birth. To learn more visit www.yiskaobadia.com.