A guide to planning your babymoon.

Babymoons have become a ‘thing’ in recent years. We live such hectic and busy lives that the chance to get time together before the little person arrives is very popular. In my mind, it’s a chance for a couple to relax and discuss their dreams now that they will very soon be parents. With the impending birth, there is the opportunity to reflect on your life before and how your lives will change.

There is also the odd horror story. The Australian couple who arrived in Hawaii to find themselves delivering a premature baby at 26 weeks and were left with a $1million bill. The health insurance will pay her care but the 3 months stay in hospital for the baby was not covered. With that said, what do you need to know for planning you babymoon?

What you need to know

The airline may even ask for a letter from your physician if you are flying after 28 weeks. Not only that pregnant ladies deserve clean toilets and hygiene. Long distant travel (above 5 hours) carries the risk of blood clots – deep vein thrombosis or DVT. If you have previously had this you will know how painful it is and because of daily injections a pain in the neck.

I flew during my first pregnancy often as it was part of my job. Its uncomfortable and tiring beyond what you can imagine. We went to Thailand early in my second trimester and the flight back was dreadful. The flight had no functioning air conditioning and blocked toilets.

I’d put on about 10cm in diameter in Thailand so couldn’t wear any of the clothes I’d packed home. It was the first time I could eat anything all day since I was pregnant, so after 16 weeks of vegemite sandwiches only it was welcome to be interested in fried rice and pad thai.

Packing when pregnant

Packing with ‘baby-brain’ could result in disaster. In this instance use one of Kids and Luggage’s packing list. Ensure your suitcase is easy to wheel, as backpacks and heavy bags are not suitable for pregnant ladies. Essentially don’t trust yourself to  remember to pack something – use the lists and tick it off as it goes in the bag.

 Pregnant travellers

If a woman is healthy, pregnancy should not be a barrier to travel. Travel in pressurized aircraft is unlikely to pose a danger to the growing child in the early stages of pregnancy. To avoid risk of deep vein thrombosis, book an aisle seat on the plane, wear compression stockings during long journeys.

Retrospectively I would not go to Asia pregnant. You must remember toilets and amenities at the resort or destination will be luxurious but during transit it was brutal. The long flight was horrible with the need for constant toilet stops. Jet lag is not something I usually experience but on this occasion, it was beyond my wildest imaginings. It took weeks to recover.

Travelling During Your First Trimester

You’ve recieved the results of a positive pregnancy test and you’re excited to announce to everyone (or perhaps you are dog tired) but do you know the rules about flying and/or travel at all in your first trimester?

Are you suffering from morning sickness and headaches and finding it hard to concentrate at work? A week(end) away in your first trimester could be just what the doctor ordered. The first trimester is absolutely a time for rest and lying around.

Doctors say it’s perfectly safe to travel in your first trimester, but if you have any concerns just make sure you choose somewhere close by so you can be in contact with your doctor should you need to. With some careful planning, it’s time to get the holidays in before two becomes three.

Where to go while pregnant?

Discuss the destination with your doctor before travel plans are finalised. Travel to malarious areas is not recommended during pregnancy. Malaria is more serious in pregnant women, and can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and even maternal death. Anti-malaria tablets are a problem in pregnancy.

A pregnant woman is twice as likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than her non-pregnant counterpart due to increased heat production and increased release of volatile substances from the skin surface.

Pregnant travellers visiting areas at altitudes of 3,000-4000m for more than two days, need to consult your doctor. Travel to high altitude areas above 4,000m is not recommended in pregnancy. Scuba diving, hot saunas, riding a camel or an elephant are to be avoided.

You need to consider the standard of local medical care as an important factor when determining where to travel. If complications of pregnancy develop, this could be disastrous if you are not in an area that is able to provide the right care.

Before You Go or make a Booking

Make an appointment with your doctor and discuss your travel plans and your activities. Remember I mentioned before you need to use a packing list to remember what to pack? Use that methodology for appointments with the doctor.

Here are some questions you should ask your doctor.

  • What destinations should be avoided and why? Be mindful different doctors will have different opinions so trust that you chose this doctor for a reason.
  • What activities should be avoided? I mentioned some above (sauna, camel riding and elephant riding)
  • What food and drink should be avoided? We all know the alcohol and coffee debates and we all decided what is best for us, but food in other countries can be vastly different. Cheeses and meat are something to be discussed.
  • Talk about vaccinations and should you have them OR if you need to have them do you need to consider avoiding this location? You need to make sure you have the vaccinations you need, but many are not safe when pregnant, so this is a ‘must discuss’ subject.
  • Discuss your vitamins and pregnancy symptoms medication – heartburn, constipation and back pain. Morning sickness remedies etc.
  • Exercise and surviving a long-haul flight. Perhaps a shorter flight will be recommended and that will define your location.
  • I would then ask the doctor if they would recommend an approach of who to contact and where to go if you thought you may be miscarrying. JUST a safety precaution, nothing more.

Morning sickness and how to survive.

Morning sickness is something I excel at. Having thrown up for nine months with each kid, I tried everything and with the first was basically issued the same drug they give cancer patients to stop them from feeling nausea. Not feeling well enough to educate myself on the effects of something that strong and if it was harmless to  a developing a brain into a human, but they tell me it was perfectly safe.

To understand it a little better, morning sickness (or in my case all-day sickness) is caused from a combination of high estrogen levels and a drop in your blood sugar. Smells and motion will set you off. Here are a few remedies

Morning Exercise.

Start the day with relaxing exercise. If you are travelling to a resort, get up and have a gentle swim in the pool. The only thing that would settle my first was a swim -so I swam morning and lunch DAILY. I know you are tired but you will be tired regardless. Get up at normal time and have a mid-morning nap or a siesta in the afternoon.

Daily exercise

I was boxing right up until about 36 weeks with my first one. I was riding the exercise bike until I needed to spread my legs at an angle that was just ridiculous so I stopped. Exercise helped my nausea. You may not be into crazy stuff like I was but gentle exercise and movement is good. If you are booking a resort make sure they have a gentle yoga class. Advise the instructor you are pregnant at the beginning of the class and they will guide you through. It’s fabulous stretching and you will appreciate the pressure off your back.

Alternatively map out some gentle walks. Sightseeing is great at a slow pace. You can do hills if you are used to doing them but take it easy. I don’t think you need to get up a Greek mountainside by foot –  although the donkey is not an alternative – make sure you book and island that has transport from top to bottom that has wheels.

Ginger.

In Australia, we have a ginger beer – it’s similar to a ginger ale but way better. It can help. But dry ginger biscuits, just snack on small pieces at a time or the candied sweets are helpful.

TIP

you may want to make the ginger beer flat before you drink it – the bubbles can wreak havoc.

HeartBurn

You may not get this early on in your pregnancy but boy did I need this towards the end as I had two huge feet shoved in my ribs. Rennie will also help settle a stomach so useful in first trimester too. Throw a packet in your handbag and leave them there. If you have never had heart burn before – you would be right in thinking you may be constipated but higher! Similar feeling.

Pack that water bottle

A stainless-steel water bottle may seem like a painful thing to pack. You will appreciate this later. Make sure your day bag allows the water bottle to fit and you can carry around all day. We spent close to $400 at Disneyland on one trip just on water. Sure, there were bubblers and we could buy from Seven Eleven but the heat was against us. We had to buy it to keep it cool. The re-fills were hot by the time you got to the end of the line.

The hotel will have clean water you can use. Don’t use tap water unless you have been assured It is okay. Sip all day long. Download this app – it will help you with your regular toilet stops! You need to stay hydrated so make sure you don’t swap drink less for fewer toilet stops.

Wining and dining

You want to celebrate before your little bundle arrives. Enjoy a few meals. I found sitting upright hard for the duration of a meal in the later stages. Perhaps have entrée and main in the restaurant and ask to move to the bar area for dessert. There may even be the possibility to eat by the pool on the lounges – depends where you are. A city break may mean you can have an evening stroll and grab a gelato after your meal.

My first pregnancy, my doctor said if you can drive you can drink. I couldn’t think of anything more putrid than alcohol so I wasn’t even interested, but should you feel okay, you can allow yourself one glass with your meal. Coffee was forbidden.

My second pregnancy wine was strictly forbidden even in small amount and one cup of coffee was allowed – especially milk like I have. Thank god for that! Boy did I make a ritual of that coffee. That was all I drank or ate some days as I felt so sick. Make it a good one. (unless the rules have changed again)

Avoid smells

Be conscious of bins on the street and noxious smells. You could have your head in the gutter if you don’t. Having said that, some old duck will walk past covered in Poison and you will be in the gutter anyway. You will learn to breath out at these points.

Clothing

Dress for comfort. That doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable. Pack loose fitting and flowing clothing – nothing too structured or tight. You will be susceptible to the heat, so try to stay out of the sun for long periods. Your skin can burn more easily when pregnant. Weird I know. If I could be pregnant for the rest of my life, my nails would be amazing!

If you are travelling for a few weeks ensure you are packing for some growth. I dead set had two growth spurts with my first. One in Thaliand! Cover ups for the pool will help sensitive skin with the sun. elastic is your friend and stretchy fabrics are the best!

For shoes, some people get the joy of swelling, pack a pair of sandals for this instance and I would be wearing trainers or comfort shoes throughout the day. I couldn’t wear heels as I was too clumsy but knock yourself out if you can!

Motion Sickness Tips for plane travellers

Sit in and aisle seat

Access to the bathroom will be critical if you feel the need to throw up. You don’t want to be too close as the smell could set you off.

Be a girl scout

Make sure you have your nausea medication at hand. Ginger lollies, heart burn and other medication should be accessible in your carry-on luggage.

Dress for comfort

If there was ever a time when your tracksuit pants are okay outside of the house, this is possible it! Exercise gear and its appropriateness aside, wear something that is not tight, not going to allow you to feel a chill or get too hot. Layers and elastic are the ideal solution. Pack a poncho (cashmere for extra comfort) – it’s is the best on the plane and you won’t need to smell the chemicals used on the airline blankets.

Seat allocation

Be organised when booking and assign yourself a seat at the front of the plane for a smoother flight. Unfortunately, when there is turbulence you will feel it throughout the plane so whilst it is smoother it is not going to eliminate it.

Motion sickness tips for car travellers

Take breaks:

Regular stops to stretch and get some fresh air will do wonders for queasiness. The bonus of frequent movement is to keep your blood circulation going.

Sit in the front

Looking at the road and not sitting over the suspension will all help reduce the motion sickness.

Down goes the window

Have some fresh air on your face. I find it more beneficial to get out and gulp fresh air rather than continue to drive, but that is not always possible.

No screens/ no books

We tend to use the screen as a babysitting service these days and when on an 8 hour car journey it is tempting. Playing eye spy or punch buggy can be a great time for the family to ‘bond’ or reaching for a drink when you arrive!

Keep it cool

Try to stay cool – when you are feeling nauseous, a cool washer on the forehead will do wonders for making you feel better.

Motion sickness tips for boat or cruise travellers

Take it easy – sea legs will come:

Staring out at sea can help to alleviate seasickness. Your balance will acclimatize if you look at the horizon. When sitting try to sit facing forward as this will help. The lower part of the ship will be where the least movement is. Go low if you are having a hard time.

Buffet meals

Take it easy. You may think you are so hungry but you are better to eat small amounts when pregnant to avoid feeling queasy. Perhaps consider taking something from buffet for a snack later. I know you thought only oldies did that, join the club.

 

Where should you travel to when pregnant?

It would be advantageous to avoid regions with high travel warnings from the government, or those which carry a high risk of illness and disease. Many immunisations are not suitable for pregnant women so check with your doctor before making any destination decisions.

Regarding where you should go, you can go anywhere you just need to pull back on the pace. If you like exploring cities and museums, then book a trip to do just that but recognise that you will need to rest and get off your feet for a period. My doctor told me I could do anything I used to do before I was pregnant.

So, given those instructions I was possibly 7-8 months pregnant at boxing classes before I thought perhaps this is not great. The point is you don’t have to wrap yourself in cotton wool but just be careful and kind to yourself.

When you are pregnant you are usually hotter than when you are not. I am mad for socks and scarves in winter but pregnant I barely needed a jumper. Consider that before heading off to somewhere hot, or at the very least ensure you have access to be submerged in water for large periods of time.

The number one thing I would take into consideration is what are you into? If your travels previously have been all about adventure and you are concerned that you can’t do those activities when pregnant, why not book a bike tour?

If you are fit and healthy, book an easy bike tour. Shoudl the thought of sitting by a pool for 5 days think you are going to go crazy, why not book a destination like Bali where there is pool time and shopping and sight seeing. Plenty to keep you interested.

When you are pregnant you will not be able to scuba dive but you will be able to snorkel. Zipping around on a moped may not be possible but you can use a taxi. Rustic toilets in Asia or Central America may not be too good for nausea, so perhaps the creature comforts of a resort are better in this instance. With careful consideration, you will find a numbe rof detainations to choose from.

Babymoon’ yes or no?

My answer is yes. Any excuse for a holiday, right? But more than that we need to create memories in our busy lives and make time for cherishing. Those sweet moments of hope and the life ahead of you whilst you await baby’s arrival, it’s hard to take all that in when you are busy finishing up and work and planning for baby’s arrival.

A babymoon also allows you and your partner the time to discuss what you dream of for the future of your child. If you haven’t already had these discussions, when you are relaxed and free to just laze around all day, is the ideal opportunity for these chats.

The only photos of me pregnant are on my babymoon. I had my head in a bucket for the entirety of the rest of my pregnancies so lucky we took a break huh? You don’t need a three-week trip, just a quick break for the two of you to be two before you are then three or four? There is always the possibility of you are tagging alongside your partner on a business trip for 3 weeks! Relax and enjoy.

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