Is the thought of having a “Babymoon” a totally American concept to you? More and more South Africans are following this international trend, and taking off a bit of time for one last holiday before baby arrives. From luxurious spas to secluded hideaways there are many options to give you some “me-time” before it becomes “we-time”. Use our tips below to make sure everything goes smoothly.
As you get closer to the end of your pregnancy all your emotions become a whirlwind, you really have no idea what to expect in terms of changes to your lifestyle. The last few months before baby are probably your last chance of some quality time with your partner before all the sleepless nights. Maybe the thought of a mini getaway with some pampering is in fact, just what the doctor ordered. We recommend leaving the high-energy activities for another time and focusing on relaxing and rejuvenating. A Babymoon should be about creating some time for yourself and partner.
Tip 1: Location, location, location
Make sure that you choose a setting that appeals to you and your partner for the perfect getaway. Maybe the thought of waddling around the beaches with your bump makes you cringe. Choose a setting that you feel comfortable, after all the idea is for you both to relax and bond.
Tip 2: Participants
Although the Babymoon term was coined as an extension of the Honeymoon as a final kid-free holiday, there is nothing stopping you creating a girls only vacation. The important thing is to create a stress-free and fun environment that you can enjoy. You can choose a girls weekend while your partner gets some “me-time” to go fishing with the boys. Or plan a low-key holiday with a group of friends to help you relax and enjoy. By creating memories of happy times together, experts have found that couples are able to get through the rough patches by reminiscing of good times.
Tip 3: Minimize travel time
Suffering through a 10 our car ride when you need to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes is no way to start a relaxing trip. Choose something painless for both of you. Although it can be safe to fly during your pregnancy discuss your plans with your Doctor or midwife. Most professionals recommend not flying after 36 weeks, and in some high-risk cases doctors recommend staying close to home throughout your pregnancy.
High risk cases include:
- are carrying twins or multiples.
- have diabetes or high blood pressure.
- have placental abnormalities or vaginal bleeding.
- are under observation for preterm labor.
- have a history of forming blood clots (including prior to pregnancy).
Tip 4: Timing
The perfect time for travelling will depend on you and how you are feeling during your pregnancy. By the second trimester the nausea should be a distant memory, and you are not quite as uncomfortable as you will be in your third trimester. Many Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend taking your trip from 18 to 24 weeks, this is safest for baby and most comfortable for you. To avoid any problems when boarding take a note from your Doctor that states your due date. Also remember to calculate how far along you will be for the return trip. Some doctors recommend carrying a record of your medical history including your due date, age, last menstrual cycle, risk factors and any other test results. If there is an emergency this will assist the healthcare professional in quickly assessing your case. Use this free contact sheet for pregnant travellers.
Hey if you miss the suggested window – why not have a mini holiday at a nearby location. The point is to getaway and relax so the location should be chosen to suit your needs. If you do travel close to your due date make sure that you have your hospital bag on-hand should you need to suddenly be whisked away by an early arrival.
Tip 5: Planning
Travelling while pregnant presents a whole new set of hurdles. The most important thing is safety, so consult your healthcare professional about your plans. Maybe you won’t be able to go bunji jumping or ride a jet ski like you did before, but there are many low risk activities that may be more suitable. Activities like yoga, walking and swimming are highly recommended. At this stage even just lazing on the beach with a good book can really help you feel calm before your big adventure really starts. Some resorts will offer services like prenatal massage so plan your trip with your interests in mind.
Although we don’t like to think of the worst, find out about the local healthcare services. Is there a local healthcare professional that you can visit in case you feel that something is wrong? Take all the numbers with you in case of an emergency along with the number of your OB. This also applies if you plan on going on a cruise, many smaller ships will not have the adequate services so do some research before you go.
Tip 6: Vaccinations
If you plan to travel overseas, find out if there are any vaccinations that you require and whether these are safe for baby. Choose a place that you won’t need to take any preventative treatments such as malaria tablets. Travelling often exposes people to germs and combined with the jetlag some people will get a case of the flu. Find out from your doctor if there are any special immune boosters or vitamins that you can take to avoid this.
Tip 7: Restrictions
Find out whether you will be able to fly before you book the tickets. Many airlines will let you fly up to 36 weeks, but check on the airline that you intend on flying with in case they have varying restrictions. Cruise liners have restrictions too, some as early as 24 weeks.
Tip 8: Eat Smart
Many destinations will be very safe in terms of food choices, but as an extra precaution try to only drink bottled or sterilized water. Use common sense when choosing food options for example if the buffet has been sitting in the sun all day it may not be a safe option to eat. Take care when choosing seafood options, check that it has been properly refrigerated. Many airlines will also create a special meal for pregnant women so be sure to let them know in advance. Sometimes it may be best to bring your own snacks where possible. Many airlines have strict policies regarding food so check with them as to what you would be allowed. Although holidays are synonymous with indulging, be safe, and opt for the non-alcoholic variety.
Tip 9: Safety factors
If you plan on having a small road trip, wear your seatbelt with the shoulder portion across your collarbone and the lap portion under your bump as low as possible on your hips. This way should the horror of an accident occur you will still be harnessed in and won’t hit the dashboard. Another tip is to move your seat back as far as possible and even tilting your seat slightly into recline mode. This way you minimise the distance between you and the dashboard.
Purchasing travel insurance can be advisable to cover any unexpected medical bills during your trip. Most policies even cover cancellation of prepaid travel and accommodation if your plans happen to change and your doctor recommends that you should not fly. These policies don’t always cover the birth, so make sure that you are home with plenty of time in case baby decides to surprise you early.
If you plan on flying the pressurised cabin of a commercial plan should be no problem if you are having a healthy pregnancy. You also won’t need to worry about the X-ray scanners at the airport, your unlikely to exceed the exposure limits unless you are a frequent flyer.
Another tip is that you will be more susceptible to sun exposure while pregnant, so opt for shady poolside locations and reapply baby-safe sunscreen generously.
Tip 10: Keep your blood pumping
No matter what your travel plans include, make sure that you move around every few hours to increase circulation. Walking around will reduce your risk of getting blood clots. You can also opt for maternity support panty hose to keep blood flowing. Keep you feet elevated to help minimise swelling and foot cramps and don’t cross your legs. If you are flying request a seat in the middle of the plan or over the wing for the least turbulence, or a bulkhead seat for the most leg-room to be able to stretch. An aisle seat offers the freedom to walk around and go to the bathroom without having to disturb other passengers. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, remembering that caffeine is a diuretic so often best to avoid.
If all the precautions and restrictions have you a bit nervous, why not consider a “stay-cation”. Sometimes the stress of planning a trip is not worth the frazzle. Plan some special time for you at home with your significant other. Arrange for massages at home, takeout from your favourite restaurant, your movie essentials or try things that you wouldn’t normally have time to do. Activities such as a cooking class can be a lot of fun. The most important tip here is to unplug and focus on yourself and each other. Take time off work and turn off all work related calls and email so that you can properly decompress.
Baby-moon.eu created this amazing list of airline restrictions, please use this as a guideline and check with your particular airline in case any policies have changed.
|Airline||Pregnant Travel Policy|
|Air Canada||Travel is permitted up to and including the 36th week pending no previous history of premature labor.|
|Air France||Medical clearance is not required, but advised for all pregnant fliers.|
|AirTran Airways||Passengers within 30 days of delivery are not permitted to fly, unless a doctor’s certification of fitness to travel has been obtained.|
|ANA All Nippon Airways||Passengers no more than 28 days from delivery may fly, as long as a medical certificate has been obtained.|
|American Airlines||Travel is not permitted for seven days before or after the delivery date on domestic flights, and international travel is not allowed within 30 days of the due date, unless special approval from the airline has been given.|
|British Airways||Medical certification confirming delivery date and no complications is required for travelers who are beyond 28 weeks pregnant, while travel is allowed up to the 36th week for single pregnancies, and 38 weeks for twins.|
|Cathay Pacific||Medical clearance is required for passengers beyond their 28th week of pregnancy; passengers may not fly past their 36th week.|
|Continental Airlines||There are no time limits beyond a requirement of a physician’s confirmation of due date within seven days.|
|Delta Air Lines||There are no restrictions on flying, and no medical certifications are required.|
|Emirates||A medical certificate attesting to a healthy pregnancy is required for those who are beyond their 29th week of pregnancy.|
|Japan Airlines||A medical consent form signed by a physician must be obtained for pregnancies at or beyond the 36th week.|
|JetBlue Airways||Passengers with delivery dates seven days from the date of travel are prohibited, and a medical certificate signed by a doctor is required.|
|Lufthansa||No medical certificate is required until the 36th week of pregnancy.|
|Qantas||Pregnant fliers are allowed up until the 36th week for single pregnancies and 32 weeks for twins, while medical clearance is required for all non-routine pregnancies.|
|Singapore Airlines||Health certificates are required for fliers between the 29th and 36th weeks of pregnancy, with travel beyond the 36th week not permitted.|
|Southwest Airlines||A doctor’s permission is recommended for all pregnant fliers; those who are at or beyond their 38th week of pregnancy are discouraged from flying.|
|United Airlines||A certificate must be obtained between 24 and 72 hours before the flight for passengers in their ninth month of pregnancy or later.|
|US Airways||Travel is allowed for pregnant passengers until seven days before the expected delivery; after that, medical permission is required.|
|Virgin Atlantic||No special permission is needed before the 28th week; after that, a doctor’s permission is required.|