The nursery is ready, you're stocked up on diapers, and you're ready to welcome your new addition. Before you pack your bag for your highly anticipated trip to the hospital, why not pack it for a babymoon?
A babymoon is a pre-baby vacation. It's your last bit of quiet time before your baby arrives. But whether it's to Hawaii, Timbuktu, or a bed and breakfast, vacationing while pregnant calls for some extra planning.
When to Go
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) says weeks 14 to 28 are the best times in your pregnancy to travel. In your second trimester you're past the morning sickness, and you haven't yet developed the ballooning belly, swollen ankles, and other discomforts of late pregnancy.
Traveling after your 36th week of pregnancy becomes much more challenging. If you want to go anywhere you'll have to drive. ACOG says flying after week 36 just isn't safe for pregnant women.
No matter when in your pregnancy you travel, call your doctor first to make sure you're healthy enough. You may also need your doctor to write a letter to the airline assuring them that it's safe for you to travel. Also ask whether you can schedule your trip around your prenatal visits so you don't miss any of them.
Where to Go
Your third trimester of pregnancy may not be the best time to book a trip to the jungles of Belize. Consider the practicality of your destination, as well as these factors, before you book:
- Will you be walking a lot? If so, will you feel up to it?
- Have there been any outbreaks of disease or foodborne illness at your destination? Avoid places where malaria, Zika, and other serious diseases are common.
- Will you need to be vaccinated before you go? Some live vaccinations (including measles, mumps, and rubella) may not be safe during pregnancy.
- What kind of medical care is available at your destination?
- How long is the flight or car trip? Sitting still for prolonged periods increases the risk for DVT.
- Will your health insurance cover pregnancy-related issues abroad?
- What is the altitude at your destination? The CDC recommends that all pregnant women avoid altitudes higher than 12,000 feet. Women with late-stage or high-risk pregnancies should stay below 8,200 feet.
What to Pack
Traveling while pregnant requires extra supplies. Here are some items you'll want to bring on your trip:
- Contact information for doctors and hospitals at your destination
- Non-perishable snacks such as almonds, protein bars, or high-fiber cereal
- Bottled water to help you stay hydrated on long car trips
- A supplemental travel insurance policy and prepaid medical evaluation insurance policy
- Prenatal vitamins
- Anti-nausea medication if you get airsick, seasick, or carsick (ask your doctor for a prescription)
- Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- A copy of your prenatal records if you've had any complications or risk factors
What to Discuss With Your Partner
You're not the only one on this baby adventure. Your partner should be part of the planning for any trip you take. This pre-baby vacation is a great time to bond with your partner and spend some quality time together.
Here are a few things to ask your mate and discuss together:
- Will you help with the planning and packing?
- Can I get some rest while we're away?
- If I get sick on the trip, can you help me get medical care?
- Will you drive?
- Can you carry the bags for me at the airport and hotel?
- Do you have my obstetrician's name and contact information?
- Do you have any other concerns about traveling while I'm pregnant?
Other Travel Tips
Here are a few extra tips to remember before you start your vacation:
- When you fly, get up and walk around every half an hour and flex your ankles often to prevent blood clots.
- When you drive, break each ride up into short increments. Try not to drive for more than five or six hours total each day. Keep your seat belt buckled under your belly. Flex your ankles often.
- Always travel with a companion -- someone who can help you as needed.
- Only drink bottled water if you're traveling to developing areas.
- Avoid salads and fruits that don't have an outer skin or rind.
- Make sure any meat you eat is cooked all the way through.
- Avoid scuba diving, skiing, bicycling, and any other high-impact activities.