Babymoon is a funny word. While a honeymoon is something that you take after the wedding with your honey, a babymoon is something that you take before the baby with your honey. It’s also just a fancy name for a trip taken during your second trimester, which the best time for pregnant women to travel because any first trimester morning sickness should be over but you don’t yet have the physical discomfort of the third trimester. When I was 25/26 weeks pregnant, I went to England and Scotland (that’s Loch Leven pictured above) with my husband and it was the perfect trip — relaxing, beautiful scenery and mild weather (60s F). But no matter what kind of babymoon you want, here are four things every pregnant traveler should consider.
The Flight: Economy seats are uncomfortable enough as it is — do you really want to commit to a long flight while pregnant? I was a little worried, but not enough to keep me from flying NYC-Manchester roundtrip. At 25/26 weeks pregnant, I find the flight was that much worse than usual, which I think speaks mostly to how uncomfortable coach is no matter what your condition. Make sure to get an aisle seat because not only will you have to go to the bathroom more frequently, but most doctors recommend that you get up to walk around at least once an hour to keep up your circulation and guard against blood clots. And yes, that’s true even on an overnight flight, so forget about sleeping all night (if you’re one of those lucky people who can actually sleep on red-eyes).
The Weather: I loved how cool it was in England and Scotland in August. Temperatures in the mid-60s were perfect break from a record-breaking hot summer in New York City. When you’re pregnant, your tolerance for hot weather decreases dramatically. As you consider various destinations for potential babymoons, be sure to research how hot they’ll be. For example, I think that Barcelona or Lisbon would be fantastic for a babymoon — but not in August! And if you’re headed to the beach, make sure it’s one with a nice breeze, shade or umbrellas.
Access to Medical Care: Whenever you travel, there’s always the risk of developing health problems. But when you’re pregnant, the what-ifs are firmly planted in your mind. I bought a membership to MedjetAssist, a medical evacuation service that will arrange a transfer for you from any hospital in the world to the hospital of your choice, which could be the hospital in your hometown. Thankfully, I did not have any cause to test out their services. But I was very happy to have this additional peace of mind!
Food and Drink: When you’re pregnant, you need to be doing a lot of eating and a lot of drinking — water, that is. Personally, I would feel very uncomfortable traveling somewhere pregnant that I couldn’t drink the water and have ice cubes, or where I would have to worry about how salad and fruit were washed. But if that’s within your comfort level and you’re super-careful, then you should be OK as people do it all the time (but do consult your doctor).
Beyond safety concerns, there are indulgence concerns. Will you be crushed if you have to turn down soft cheese in France, smoked ham in Spain and wine in Italy? If you think that saying “no thank you” too often will make you wish that you had taken the trip after the baby, then those are not the babymoon destinations for you. But my advice would be to go anyway, and just eat a lot of ice cream to make up for whatever dishes/glasses you need to decline.
For more advice on traveling while pregnant, check out Four Reasons Why Pregnant Women Should Take a Cruise.