How to plan a safe and fun babymoon

By Lisa Evans on October 07, 2014

 

It’s a commonly held belief that newlyweds need some alone time after saying “I do”, but now more and more expectant parents are also seeking a getaway before being swept away into the land of diaper changes and sleepless nights.

That’s exactly what Susan Shapiro of Toronto thought when she and her husband Ryan van Maurik planned their babymoon when Susan was 31 weeks pregnant. Married just before the arrival of their now seven-month old son, Ethan, Susan and Ryan wanted to celebrate the new stage of their life. After consulting with her doctor, Susan felt the risks were minimal. “My pregnancy had been really great. There were no indications that anything would happen,” she says.

On the last day of her Mexican vacation, Susan experienced terrible stomach pains and was taken to a private hospital. The doctor’s first thought was contractions, but it was later assumed her pains were caused by food poisoning. After two days in the hospital, Susan was given permission to fly home. Even though Susan’s food poisoning wasn’t related to her pregnancy, her hospital bill wasn’t covered by insurance (a common scenario as most insurance companies won’t provide travel health insurance after 31 weeks gestation), leaving her to foot the $2000 hospital bill plus their missed flight home.

Dr. Gideon Koren, Director of Motherisk Programs at the Hospital for Sick Children, says travel up to 36 weeks of pregnancy is typically safe for women who have had normal pregnancies and even argues a babymoon can be a great idea to relieve stress and give expectant moms the right energy to get through the rest of the pregnancy and labour.

Planning a safe getaway means taking a few precautions

  • Speak with your doctor. Consult with your care provider before embarking on a trip with baby on board and avoid travel if your pregnancy caries any risks including a history of premature labour. Dr. Suni Boraston, Medical Director, Vancouver Coastal Health Travel Clinic says air travel during the final month of pregnancy is generally prohibited by airlines and advises pregnant travellers to obtain a letter from their obstetrician indicating the baby’s due date as officials may request it.
  • Keep moving. Blood clots are a common concern, especially when travelling overseas. “If you’re travelling for more than one to two hours, do some exercise to extend your legs [and encourage blood flow],” says Dr. Koren. You’ll appreciate the additional leg room and comfortable chairs of business class.
  • Consider scheduling your babymoon during the second trimester. “It’s safer to travel during the second trimester (weeks 14 to 28) as pregnancy-related emergencies occur less often during this time,” says Dr. Boraston.
  • Research medical assistance. Before you go, investigate nearby medical services and note the contact information of a couple of doctors or hospitals in the event of an emergency.
  • Avoid high-risk areas. While there are some vaccines that can be given to pregnant women, others, such as yellow fever and typhoid fever, cannot be administered. Dr. Boraston advises pregnant travellers to avoid areas known to have these diseases. Pregnancy can also make you more vulnerable to stomach bugs caused by tainted water. Although some drugs can be taken for traveller’s diarrhea, Dr. Koren notes severe diarrhea can induce labor contractions, so it’s wise to avoid eating on the street and only drink bottled water.
  • Examine your insurance policies. Be sure that medical coverage still applies during your pregnant months.

 

Originally published in ParentsCanada Best Wishes, Fall 2014.


By Lisa Evans| October 07, 2014

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