New year, new you, and a little one, too. Nesting is an instinctual component of baby preparation, but have you considered a babymoon? Wait. What exactly is a babymoon? Think about it as a two to three-day trip for you and your partner to reconnect before a new baby arrives. And Kemi Wells, the founder of Vancouver-based Wells Luxury Travel, says babymoons aren’t just for couples. “[A babymoon] can be remixed for a mom-to-be to travel with a few best friends,” Wells tells ESSENCE. And it’s an amendment she fully supports. “Often, our best friends can be like family, and who better to have a final child-free break with lots of laughs and support from your besties.”
Now that you have babymoons on your radar, we’ve also connected with two OB-GYNs—Heather Irobunda, MD, FACOG, and Nicole A. Sparks, M.D.—to outline health precautions to consider before traveling to keep you and your growing bundle safe.
Consider Your Due Date and Invest in Travel Insurance
So when is it safe to travel? Heather Irobunda, NYC-based board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, says traveling before the 36-week mark is recommended. However, this timetable will ebb and flow depending on restrictions set by your medical practitioner. Why is 36 weeks the sweet spot?
“The reason we recommend traveling before you hit 36 weeks is there is more of a chance of you going into labor on that flight or on that road trip,” Irobunda shares. [This] can make it hard to get adequate medical care, should you need it.”
Before making plans, check in with your doctor to see what’s best for you. You should invest in health travel insurance if your travel plans take you abroad. Contact your insurance company to see if coverage is available. If not, Irobunda says to secure travel health coverage and budget for additional medical expenses.
Be Mindful of Your Destination
When babymoon planning, Wells says, four essentials should be on the list: great weather, beaches, quality restaurants, and a fantastic spa. However, Irobunda says to be mindful of infectious diseases from insects like Zika, malaria, and typhoid that can affect pregnancies when selecting a destination. “It’s important to know what infectious diseases you could be exposed to and take precautions to decrease the chance of contacting them [with] good bug spray, long sleeves at dusk, mosquito nets, etc.”
Additionally, she tells us that COVID-19 is still a factor. “COVID is still going around and causes more serious infections in pregnant people and the pregnancy,” she tells ESSENCE, adding that serious infections can mean a higher likelihood of needing a ventilator or getting seriously ill than non-pregnant people and a higher chance of preterm birth.
Don’t Be Afraid to Add Bucket-List Destinations to Your List
Don’t count out bucket-list locations. Obstetrician-gynecologist Nicole A. Sparks, M.D., says occasional air travel can be safe. But there are some things to consider. “Research has shown that any travel lasting more than four hours, whether by car or plane, doubles the risk of a DVT,” she explains. “A DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a blood clot which forms in the veins (usually the legs). Pregnancy increases the risk of DVT even more than baseline.”
Because of this research, Sparks recommends shelving a lengthy transatlantic flight if you have pregnancy complications. However, if your pregnancy is normal, she says you can share a future trip with your doctor to discuss flight precautions. For example, chatting about if you need to wear compression stockings to help maintain blood flow and reduce leg swelling. Additionally, she says to walk around, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid tight-fitting clothing on your flight.
If you choose to take an international flight, there is a travel upgrade that could be beneficial. “For those with the budget or loyalty points, an upgrade to premium economy or business class is usually well worth it for more comfortability for the mama-to-be, especially on longer flights,” Wells shares. Business class fares can be hefty, but premium economy seats on airlines like Delta, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, and Emirates offer a bridge between classes with more legroom, elevated service, and priority boarding.
See six ESSENCE-approved babymoon destinations to add to your travel wishlist.
Mauna Lani by Auberge Resorts Collection on the Big Island, Hawaii
Wells recommends this recently renovated 334-room, an oceanfront resort nestled on the Kohala Coast for cultural immersion and relaxation. The resort is about a 35-minute drive from Kona airport and offers fewer crowds and five-star service. When booking here, don’t forget to ask about the Hapai pregnancy massage tailor-made for moms-to-be in their second trimester to reduce swelling and water retention while increasing circulation.
The Spectator Hotel, South Carolina
There are plenty of recharging experiences a road trip away. With hundreds of five-star reviews and a babymoon package that includes rose petal turndown service, a five-foot body pillow to use during your stay, and a curated gift basket with local goodies to nourish your pregnancy craving, we say this Charleston-based property is an excellent option that doesn’t require a passport.
Palmaia – House of AiA in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Wells shares that this all-inclusive resort boasting 234 oceanfront suites should be on your babymoon wishlist as it centers wellness with ocean views, plant-based fare, and an opportunity to recenter with yoga classes, prehispanic cleansing rituals, and much more.
Miraval- Tucson, Arizona
Located just outside Tucson, Arizona, this 440-acre digital device-free resort with the Santa Catalina Mountains as the backdrop is a wellness staple. Many mom-to-be-focused options are about re-centering and grounding, from prenatal acupuncture (for those in their second and third trimesters) to prenatal reiki. And the all-inclusive resort offers packages that include daily hotel credits, all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, and many wellness activities, including guided meditation, yoga, and hiking.
Canaves Oia Hotel
“Santorini is perfect for those seeking an idyllic break with a chill vibe and killer views,” Wells tells us. And the newly renovated hotel suites at Canaves Oia are swoon-worthy. The 18-room property offers guests private verandas, infinity pools, wellness treatments, al fresco dining, and picturesque views of the Caldera and the Aegean Sea.
The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort in the Bahamas
Located on a five-mile stretch of natural, white-sand beach on Paradise Island, this resort offers three pools (one that is adults-only), 24-hour butler service, well-appointed suites and bungalows, and spa services that include a peaceful pregnancy massage. And most flights from the east coast take just under four hours. For example, a flight from Atlanta is about two hours and thirty minutes. In comparison, a flight from NYC is just over three hours.