For those unacquainted with the term, a babymoon is the last romantic child-free holiday a couple take before becoming parents – at least that’s my interpretation! As someone who travels A LOT and is slowly realising that for the next year at least she will NOT, babymoon is the general term I’m applying to all the trips I plan to squeeze in during pregnancy. (Before I become a mum and travel becomes a little more – shall we say – complicated.)
I took the first of these trips this month when I joined Justin in Vegas – a spectacularly last minute babymoon that was booked because I finally started to feel like myself after several challenging months of morning sickness. As Vegas is a 17 hour flight and 17 hour time difference from Australia this was a wildly ambitious babymoon that taught me a lot about travelling while pregnant.
So, for any expectant parents who will be planning their babymoon with a little more sensibility, here are my top tips for nailing it.
Top Babymoon Tips
Time it right
Although you can technically travel in the first trimester many resources suggest you avoid this period when nausea and exhaustion are at its peak. (See exhibit A.) In the third trimester you may not be feeling as portable and flying after 28 weeks requires a certificate from your doctor. So that leaves the magic window of weeks 13 to 27 of pregnancy as the best time for a babymoon. BUT if your first trimester was anything like mine you might want to hold off booking anything until the last minute. My morning sickness lingered well into week 16 so if I’d booked a babymoon too early I’d have been travelling at a time when I wasn’t ready.
Don’t forget: Super obvious tip but you may want to lock in all the essential scans and hospital appointments before booking a babymoon. Here in Australia I arranged all my appointments myself and the weeks I had scans varied according to the policy of the sonographer. My 12 week NT scan actually took place at 13 weeks and I’ve been told I can’t have the 20 week anomaly scan (usually done around 18 to 20 weeks) until I’m at least 19 ½ weeks.
Scale the activities way back
As someone who is used to doing ALL THE THINGS on her holidays it was a challenge for me to scale back some of those activities on our Vegas babymoon. Even though I thought I had spread out the outings and shows quite evenly I was surprised by how much I struggled with even semi-taxing things like shopping.
If you like to stay busy on your hols I recommend researching things to do but don’t lock too much in until you arrive and get a sense of how much energy you’ll have each day.
Schedule lies ins and naps
Speaking of energy, oh how quickly that runs out when pregnant. The jet lag, not unexpectedly, hit me harder than usual on this babymoon and I spent most of the first morning in bed, munching crackers and watching the Kardashians until it felt safe to leave the room without puking or fainting.
After that I needed to work my day around an afternoon nap – bearing in mind how long it would take me to get back to the room to do so. (Vegas hotels, hey.)
Pack the comfiest shoes you own
Thankfully the high grade flight socks I’d bought for the way over did their job and my feet weren’t massively swollen from the long haul flight. They did soon expand from the heat and walking though and even the most sensible looking of sandals became a beast to my feet.
I recommend packing only your utmost comfy and trustworthy shoes and if no such thing exists invest in some before heading away. You’ll thank me later.
Go heavy on sunscreen
Did you know your skin can burn more easily in pregnancy? Me neither, but apparently it’s a thing – just like sore nips, aching hips, excess hair and all those other sexy side effects.
Pack a high factor sunscreen with UVA filter to protect your sensitive skin. Find more tips for buying and applying the right sunscreen here.
Make sure you’re covered by travel insurance
If you have an annual policy like me, you’ll need to dig into the fine print of your travel insurance to make sure you are covered for pregnancy. I discovered my policy covered me for pregnancy related complications up to 23 weeks but wouldn’t cover the cost of giving birth overseas.
If you’re buying a new policy be aware that some insurers treat pregnancy as a pre-existing medical condition that requires additional cover, particularly if you’ve had complications or are carrying twins.
In short, read the fine print and if anything is unclear call the travel insurance company directly for clarity on what is and isn’t covered.
Don’t forget: To pack a copy of your maternity notes and/or latest scans in case you have any problems.
Be aware of risks
My doctor didn’t have any concerns about my travelling to the US while pregnant but areas where you’re at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika are a whole other ballgame. For Aussie residents, the Smart Traveller website is a great resource for information on staying safe in different regions.
If you’re unsure, check with your doctor before booking your trip and remember to ask about any vaccinations that may be needed – if you’re allowed them!
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