Vacations change drastically once baby makes his or her entrance. So it's no wonder many couples opt for a babymoon—one last getaway before two become three. While babymooning can be romantic and relaxing, keep these things in mind before booking your dream trip.
1. Has my doctor given me the OK to travel?
Maybe your pregnancy is going great and you haven't had any complications—that's awesome! But that doesn't necessarily mean you're fit to travel. Before you start planning the perfect romantic adventure, speak with your ob-gyn. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. You'll need the OK from your doctor before heading anywhere.
2. When will I feel best on a trip?
Nausea and fatigue make up most of the first trimester, and the weight and size of your baby can wear you down at the end. So the second trimester is usually the most comfortable time to travel on a babymoon, provided that you have received the green light from your OBGYN. It's also the safest time for travel: According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), most pregnancy emergencies occur during the first and third trimesters.
3. Would I need any vaccines that are unsafe for pregnant women?
Before traveling to any destination, you should verify which vaccines are recommended for that area. While many vaccines are safe during pregnancy, some vaccines, like Zostavax, MMR, and HPV for example, are not. Visit the CDC website for a list of recommended vaccines for each destination you're thinking of visiting. Then be sure to run the list by your ob-gyn before making an appointment at your local travel clinic.
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4. Does my destination have any confirmed Zika cases?
In the last year, the Zika virus—which can cause birth defects like microcephaly in unborn babies—has made its way to many countries, including some popular vacation destinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas affected with the virus. Before booking your babymoon, visit the CDC's website for the most up-to-date list of countries that have reported cases of Zika virus.
5. How can I break up or minimize travel time?
The main concern with sitting for too long during pregnancy is the risk of blood clots. For your safety and comfort, it's best to break up your travel time or minimize it so you won't be sitting for too long. The American Pregnancy Association recommends keeping travel time to six hours or less per day, and it also advises pregnant women to wear compression socks to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on long-haul flights. If you can't avoid traveling longer than six hours straight, be sure to get up frequently in the airplane (or pull over, if you're driving) and walk around.
6. What are my airline's rules for pregnant travel?
Most airlines will require a doctor's note confirming you are fit to travel if you are in your last trimester. But many can still refuse a passenger if they think she does not appear fit to travel at that time—with or without a note from your ob-gyn! (Virgin Atlantic, for example, has strict guidelines for flying after 36 weeks.) It's your responsibility to read the fine print first, so you may not necessarily be refunded for your fare if you are refused at the gate. Do your homework before you book.
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7. Is my hormonal skin going to suffer in the sun?
Relaxing in a sunny tropical paradise may sound heavenly, but understand that pregnancy hormones bring with them a UV-ray worry beyond the usual sun damage. Even with sunscreen on, your skin runs the risk of developing discolored patches, known as chloasma, or the "mask of pregnancy." While chloasma isn't always caused by sun exposure, it's a condition that can be worsened by it. So you may not want to pick a destination solely based on your desire to frolick in the sun if you'll only end up anxious about staying covered up.
8. Where is the closest medical help?
While it's understandable to dream of a babymoon getaway to a remote island where you and your partner can connect in complete privacy, just make sure not to stray too far from things like hospitals or clinics. If you're ever feeling unwell during your pregnancy, it's best to be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. ACOG recommends locating the nearest medical centers before you arrive and also suggests bringing along a language dictionary if you're headed to a destination where the locals may not be fluent in English.
9. Will the heat be bearable?
A vacation on the beach in Hawaii might sound like the most romantic adventure you can go on with your partner. But when you're six months pregnant, the hot temperatures may feel less exotic and more unbearable. Your body is already feeling hot and swollen all day long so a trip to the tropics may not be as fun as you think. Plus, it's important not to overheat during pregnancy. Pick a destination with a more moderate climate or one with more indoor activities to keep you occupied just in case you find it impossible to stay outdoors too long.
10. Who will the other vacationers be?
Your lives are about to get family-friendly 24/7 for what will seem like the next 100 years, so a resort geared for families is probably best saved for post-baby. Take advantage while you can and appreciate the silence at an adult-only resort. No yelling, no fighting, no crying, no tantrums. That peaceful time will soon be nothing more than a distant memory. Enjoy it while you can!