Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

With so many babies on the horizon, I’d thought I’d revisit a topic from my first pregnancy. (A handful of you may have seen a version of this on my old site, Baby Mine.)

Being fortunate enough to take a sort of “last-hurrah” vacation as an expectant couple should be enough, right? You should already count yourself lucky (especially if somebody else is nice enough to watch your older child or children while you’re gone).

So let me preface this by saying that I realize this is not a real problem and that I fear that this will sound ridiculous. But some of you might be realizing that choosing a good destination when you’re expecting is a challenge!

And it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one out there who has Googled “traveling while pregnant” for destination ideas to find that the only links returned are articles on getting up and walking during long plane flights. In the end, I can only offer that (1) these are some of the factors you might consider, (2) you will get to travel again once the baby arrives (and the real challenges begin), and (3) you’ll have a great time regardless. Think of it less as a last hurrah and more of a chance to celebrate what’s to come.

In our case, the first getaway during my first pregnancy was to Montreal, to celebrate an anniversary. Aron worried about the long car ride, and I feared that a romantic getaway to the “Paris of the North” (in the winter) wouldn’t be the same without foie gras; stinky, unpasteurized cheeses; dips in a steamy, hot jacuzzi; or copious glasses of wine.

Obviously, we got over it.

The next vacation we got to plan was for a February escape to warmer climes (and hopefully a sun-drenched beach). We’d taken a trip to India the previous April (with the push being that we should seize the opportunity to see a place I’d always dreamed of visiting before having a baby might keep us away for a while), and we actually considered a repeat trip while our visas were still valid. But it seemed unnecessarily risky: Aron had gotten sick briefly on our last visit, and the fear of food-borne illness–potentially devastating to a fetus–loomed large. We also thought about all of the bug repellent we had applied (instead of taking anti-malarials), and knowing that I would now neither feel comfortable using Deet nor taking anti-malarials placed the destination firmly in the no-go category. We had really hoped to go somewhere that could prove challenging with a baby or small child (as opposed to a kid-friendly, domestic spot like Florida), but found that most places that are warm in February are in the tropics and posed similar problems.

I think it was around the time that I reminded my husband that I also couldn’t scuba dive that he was ready to give up on warm weather altogether, suggesting instead that we head for snowy mountains and embrace the winter. But I quickly vetoed the thought of a non-skiing, non-hot-tubbing, non-hot-toddy drinking week in the snow. Picky, picky.

In the end, we got very lucky: my parents (probably tired of my indecision) came to the rescue with a gift of a Caribbean cruise and we had an amazing time! We also snuck off to Napa for a few days of couple-time and laughed at ourselves for booking a trip to the wine region at five months pregnant.

Since then, over two pregnancies, I’ve traveled a lot in the expectant state and my conclusion? (Hint: It’s the same with all questions of travel.) Go!

Yes, there will be heartburn. No, you can’t toss back margaritas. Yes, you will probably spend far too much time agonizing over a maternity bathing suit. But not as much time as you’ll spend agonizing over the first postpartum one.

I’d vote the best time is late in the second trimester or early in the third, when you’re unlikely to be sick, likely to look pregnant, likely able to stay up past 9pm, and unlikely to be in early labor or any sort of stressed-out nesting mode.


P.S. More encouragement: Trips we took while I was pregnant with Hudson or Skyler to Cape CodCalistogaHawaiiGrand CaymanYosemite and Lake Tahoe.

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