My husband and I had two weddings—the first was a tiny ceremony with 15 guests in upstate New York. The second, almost eight months later, was a big affair in Brooklyn. For the second one, I was almost five months pregnant. When I got pregnant, we lived in Vienna, Austria, but we’d always planned to have our wedding in New York City, where I’d lived for over a decade. I missed my friends horribly and wanted as many people to come as possible. So we traveled to our own wedding—and spent almost a month in town. The result wasn’t exactly a traditional babymoon, but it was exactly what we needed: time to reconnect with old friends, visit my old haunts, and have time together outside the stress of our new life abroad. This is all to say: A babymoon can be anything, as long as it’s time set aside for the two of you before the madness of parenting sets in. You can tailor it to your needs and desires. Consider it a Last Supper à deux.
Why take a babymoon?
Why not? is the real question. If you can afford it, it’s totally worth it. “I definitely think it’s important to connect just with your partner right before the madness and complete loss of privacy begins,” says Isaac Butler, dad of one in New York City, who traveled with his wife to Montreal before their daughter arrived. [pullquote align=”center”]“It’s a time for the couple to focus on themselves and their partnership before another being will enter their world. Since this will change the dyad forever, they can recall the connection they felt during babymoon when having difficult times.” —Vanessa Katz, PhD, clinical psychologist[/pullquote] The destination is not the most important factor. Yes, it can be a chance to go to that place you’ve long dreamed of visiting and you know will be a pain with kids—Paris! London! Venice!—but it can also just be a weekend staycation where you can be tourists in your own city or town. What’s important are the moments spent together: “It’s a time for the couple to focus on themselves and their partnership before another being will enter their world,” explains Vanessa Katz, PhD, clinical psychologist in L.A. “Since this will change the dyad forever, they can recall the connection they felt during babymoon when having difficult times.”
When to Take a Babymoon
Most couples take off during the second trimester when nausea has (usually) abated and before travel becomes impossible. The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics states that traveling after 36 weeks is no longer safe.
Babymoon Planning Guidelines
Make it simple.
“It was important that the logistics be easy: wake up, get on train, get off train, you are there,” says Julie Dawson, who traveled from Vienna, Austria, to Venice, Italy, with her husband during her second trimester. “It needed to be a place where you could plan or not plan and there was always plenty to see; a place where you could eat excellent food and drink fizzy wine (for the papa) all the time. We love looking at the photos today—also I remember thinking it would be a horrible place to visit with a stroller—too many bridges with stairs—so figured we wouldn’t be back for a long time, which seems to be coming true.”
Make it romantic.
While romance might be the last thing on your pregnant-mama mind, leaning into the intimacy of a vacation with your partner before baby is a great way to connect, while it’s still just the two of you. Think back to what you enjoyed when you first started dating, and recreate that on your babymoon. “It needs to feel like a real getaway [that] offers stuff you love. For us it was eating, relaxation, and nature,” says babymoon-goer Jessica Latiff.
Consider bringing friends—really!
A babymoon doesn’t have to be full of one-on-one romance, though. It can also be a time to just enjoy life—kidless. A great way to do that is to spend time with your closest pals—who won’t mind if you head to bed at 8 p.m. “We went to Guerneville [in Sonoma County, California] and rented a cabin,” says Molly Benson, who decided to extend her babymoon invites beyond just her partner. “Some friends came for a few days too. We rented a boat and paddled for four hours and took our dog on the boat. It was ridiculous and fantastic.”
How to Babymoon Safely
Don’t travel too far.
This is by no means a rule, but most pregnant women are not eager to sit on a plane for 10 hours. (That said, many are keen to use their passports for the last time in a while!)
Keep it moving.
Whether you’re on a plane, train, or car, make sure you get up to move your body. This is especially important on planes where you can get blood clots. Consider wearing compression socks.
Keep your OB in the loop.
It’s not a bad idea to have your OB weigh in on travel plans—or at least let her know you will be away and where you plan to go.
Check out medical facilities in your chosen destination.
Obviously this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re going to a big city, but this is worth looking into if you’re going on an adventure or abroad. If your OB gives the okay, well, you’re probably okay, but it’s best to be prepared.
Do you have travel health insurance?
Insurance companies can be really nasty when it comes to maternity coverage while traveling. Check in with your insurance provider, and consider buying additional travel health insurance.
Babymoon Destinations: Where to Go (and Where to Avoid)
Where you go is, of course, entirely dependent on you! Here are a few tried and true suggestions. [pullquote align=center]You won’t vacation like this for a while, so enjoy it.[/pullquote]
Babymoon in a City
Montreal, New York, Nashville, L.A., Paris, Venice, Rome, Buenos Aires, Rio—you choose. The point of going to a city is that you’ll have ample opportunities for all the things that will become difficult with kids: long, leisurely brunches; wandering (quietly!) through museums; sightseeing; concerts; plays. You get the picture. None of this is particularly kid-friendly, and it’s great.
Babymoon in the Country
Fresh air, peace and quiet, no distraction? Bliss. “We went to upstate New York because it was within driving distance. I was high risk,” says Kelly Smith. “My only requirement was that it had to have a pool. I stood or floated in that damn pool for like, five or six hours a day for four days. It was glorious.”
Babymoon at a Resort
Who doesn’t want to just lie around at the beach and/or a spa? From the beaches of Florida to the quiet of Stowe, Vermont, to the cliffs of Big Sur, all the way to the Turks and Caicos, hitting an all-inclusive is a true way to indulge. True, you can’t partake in the limitless alcohol, but the constant array of delicious food and spa treatments is heaven for a mama-to-be.
Don’t want to plan anything? No worries! Plenty of companies now offer babymoon packages, mostly at resorts. The advantages? Some include early check-in, massages, room service, and other upgrades on the cheap(er).
A Word of Warning
Don’t go anywhere where there is a threat of Zika. Zika is carried by mosquitoes and can cause serious birth defects. You can check the Centers for Disease Control for up-to-date travel advisory warnings.
Babymoon Tips and Tricks
Get travel insurance.
What if the nausea doesn’t abate by week 14? You might not want to travel across the world.
Don’t go on a cheese tour if you won’t be able to eat 99 percent of the cheeses. Same goes for a wine tour.
Once you’ve booked it, don’t worry about the cost.
Don’t ruin your last chance in a while to indulge yourself by obsessing about the money you’re spending. You won’t vacation like this for a while, so enjoy it.
Stay on top of your symptoms.
Chances are you’ll have the time of your life, but it’s important to be mindful of how your body is feeling. Check in with your OB if you feel like anything is awry.
Turn off that phone.
This is a time for you and your love! Set social media aside and enjoy the sweet time together.