As your belly expands, your desire for one last pre-baby vacation may grow too. Enter the increasingly trendy concept of the “babymoon.”
What is a Babymoon?
A relaxing vacation taken by couples who are expecting a child.
Pregnant women and their partners who choose to take a “babymoon” may want to put their feet up somewhere warm and sunny before baby comes. They usually travel around weeks 14-28 of their pregnancy. That’s when they tend to be feeling good and the risk for having the baby too early is lower. If mom and baby are both healthy, travel is usually safe until about 36 weeks. Be sure to read the fine print before you book. For example, many cruise lines won’t let you travel after a certain point in your pregnancy (often around the 24th week). See these FAQs from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for more information on travel during pregnancy.
Thinking of Traveling Somewhere? Check for Travel Warnings First!
If your idea of relaxing means clear blue water and sand between your toes, think carefully about where to go on your babymoon. Many warm spots have mosquitoes that carry Zika virus and other diseases.
Zika is a virus that can be very harmful during pregnancy, because it can cause serious problems for your unborn baby. Pregnant women should not travel to an area with Zika any time during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps an up-to-date list of all countries and areas with a risk of Zika. This list includes many popular babymoon destinations. It’s also a good idea to check for any other travel warnings at your destination.
Tips for Planning a Zika-Free Babymoon:
You can still get away safely and enjoy some down time with your partner before baby arrives—just find a Zika-free spot.
- Look close to home. Much of the United States is Zika-free (meaning there aren’t mosquitoes actively passing the virus). Beautiful beaches abound along both coasts, National Parks await, and hip cities beckon. Never been to Vegas? Now’s your chance. Dreaming of dipping your toes in the Pacific? Head to California. The possibilities are plentiful.
- Look even closer (hint: staycation). Even trendier than the idea of the babymoon is the staycation—a vacation in your hometown or a nearby city. Take some time to enjoy your home with your partner before your family expands.
- Head north. Wherever you live in the United States, your Zika risk decreases if you travel north (think Canada). Northern destinations are cooler as well. Find a nice cool spot to unwind where you can be both worry-free and Zika-free.
Other Tips for Pregnant Travelers:
- Even if you travel somewhere Zika-free, take precautions! Stay indoors whenever possible. When outside, use insect repellant and consider wearing long sleeves and pants. Mosquitoes can carry other illnesses, and preventing bites is best.
- Check Zika-related and other travel advisories before and after booking any vacation—the warnings can change. Consider travel insurance or research the cancellation policies whenever you book a trip. You don’t want to worry about losing money if you experience preterm labor or your doctor tells you stay put for your health—or the health of your baby.
- If you stay home but your partner travels to an area with Zika, take steps to protect your baby! You can get Zika by having sex without a condom with an infected sexual partner. Consistently use condoms for the duration of your pregnancy, or consider abstaining from sex.
- If you’re trying to get pregnant, and you or your partner have been to an area with Zika:
- Use condoms or don’t have sex. Use condoms every time you have sex to prevent the spread of Zika:For at least 8 weeks after travel if only the female partner traveled, even if she has no symptoms
- For at least 6 months after travel if the male partner traveled, even if he has no symptoms. Why are the times different? The virus lives longer in a male body.
- Continue to use insect repellent for 3 weeks after you come home. This is to protect others, just in case you did get infected but did not get sick.