With all the excitement of pregnancy and prepping for your little one, it can be hard to shift the focus from your tiny human to you and your partner. But now is the perfect time for you two to do so.
So how about a special trip—big or small, near or far, inexpensive or luxurious—to recharge your batteries and intentionally set up quality couple time before you become a trio?
Here’s what you need to know about planning a trip before your baby arrives.
1. When to go
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), between weeks 14 and 28 is typically the safest and most comfortable time to travel. During your second trimester you tend to gain some of your energy back, and you’re not yet at the can’t-move-too-big stage, so the timing should be perfect. ?
2. How to get to your destination
Before you even pick where you want to go, you should decide whether you’d prefer to drive, fly or take the train. If you’re driving, ACOG suggests that six hours should be the max amount of time spent in the car at once, and you should “plan to make frequent stops to move around and stretch your legs.”
If you’re taking the train, you’ll be able to get up whenever you’d like—for example, to use the bathroom for the millionth time or to get another snack.
If you’re planning to fly, it’s important to understand each airline’s policies for flying while pregnant. Some restrict flying at 36 weeks or require a medical note. According to ACOG, “With international flights, the cutoff point for traveling is often earlier.”
Our Birth Editor (and midwife), Diana Spalding, says, “When traveling by plane, pregnant women are at an increased risk for blood clot,” so be sure to get up and walk around at least once an hour.
Pro tip: Try to book nonstop flights, and snag an aisle seat.
Maybe you don’t need to drive or fly anywhere. A staycation might be where it’s at for you time-wise and energy-wise, and you know what? They can be pretty amazing. Hunker down with your honey for a weekend and stay in bed watching movies with face masks on (don’t forget the popcorn!). Or hire a personal chef to come cook you a gourmet meal. #TreatYoSelf.
Pro tip: Hire a massage therapist with the Soothe app. Massage therapists who are background checked and certified/insured arrive at your home in one hour.
3. Where to go
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to get to your destination, you need to decide where exactly you’ll be vacationing. Check out the BabyMoon Guide to figure out which type of vacation you’d like best—beach, city, spa or a staycation.
It could be fun to visit that romantic B&B in Maine, take a tropical getaway or maybe go abroad to Paris. Many hotels and B&B’s offer babymoon packages these days, so check out Fodor’s Travel for the 10 best resorts for a babymoon vacation to start brainstorming.
Be sure to educate yourself on the Zika virus so that you can choose a safe, Zika-free destination for your trip. Check out the CDC’s website to plug in your destination and check off that you’re pregnant, and it’ll tell you if it’s Zika free or not. It’ll also give you the 411 on anything else you should be aware of.
Pro tip: Loop in your caregiver on your babymoon plans. Our resident OB-GYN, Dr. Sarah Bjorkman, says that letting your OB-GYN or midwife know you are planning a trip will provide a sense of security. “This way, you won’t be on your own in terms of figuring out vaccinations you might need, if your travel destination is a safe spot and specific suggestions and resources for traveling while pregnant.”
4. What to do
Other than relax? Hmm... sleep late, take a nap, lounge on the beach, read a book, kiss, laugh, eat delicious food and dream aloud about what your baby is going to look like. Now is not exactly the time for extreme adventures—but if you don’t want to just relax, there are options for you other than pool lounging and prenatal massages. Visit a city and take in a show or check out a museum. Whatever you decide on, don’t forget to document this momentous time in your life.
Pro tip: Don’t be shy! Let people know this is your last trip before your baby arrives... you never know what kind of upgrade you could get. ?
5. What to pack
Your clothing will greatly depend upon where you are going, so we’ll leave that up to you! But do remember to dress comfortably in the car or on the plane—we’re envisioning leggings, a cute top and flats. (Check out comfy and chic options in our maternity clothes kit.)
Don’t forget things like a water bottle, book or e-reader, magazines, camera, chargers, slippers and a robe (unless your hotel has those for you!).
Pro tip: Bring your favorite pregnancy body pillow if you’re driving and can stuff it in the trunk.
6. How to take proper health care precautions
“If you are traveling in the United States, locate the nearest hospital or medical clinic in the place you are visiting. Be sure that one of the nearby hospitals has a labor and delivery unit as well as a NICU.
“If you are traveling internationally, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) has a worldwide directory of doctors. The doctors in the country you are visiting may not speak English, so bring a dictionary of the language spoken with you.
“Another tip is to register with an American embassy or consulate after you arrive at your destination. These agencies may be helpful if you need to leave the country because of an emergency.”
Pro tip: Our Birth Editor, Diana, reminds us to drink plenty of water while traveling—bottled, if necessary. She says, “It’s so easy to get dehydrated when you’re pregnant, and even more so on planes, hot places, etc.” So be sure to keep yourself and your baby hydrated.
Wondering where to go? Here are some destinations beloved by Motherly’s mamas:
“We are going to Montreal soon. I felt so sick during the first trimester that I feel like I need a reward for making it this far!”
“We went to Southern California because my husband had a business trip and I tagged along. It was perfect to get away for a little.”
“We had a wedding to go to in Vermont and then extended our trip. It was lovely!”
“We went to New Orleans and loved it. We used to live there, so we know the city well—we stayed at a great B&B and spent a lot of time visiting our old favorite spots.”
“We went to London and Edinburgh for 10 days. I’m glad we took a babymoon because we didn’t start traveling again for a while!”
“We were living in Boston at the time and so we went to Cape Cod. It was May and not quite the warm beach adventure we had planned, but it was time together and that was wonderful.”
“We went to Nashville for a long weekend. We saw fantastic live music, visited the Grand Ole Opry and ate amazing food. It’s so nice to have that special memory to look back on.”