Expectant Parents Turn to the Babymoon for Vacation


What’s new in the world of travel? Babymoons.
A babymoon is a vacation expectant parents take to cherish what might be their final getaway together without children. It’s a kind of pre-reward for all the sleepless nights and worries they expect to befall them after the baby comes.

Sheila Kitzinger, a British author and childbirth educator, coined the phrase “babymoon,” defining it as the important time a family spends alone during a baby’s first few days of life.

The idea was that the parents and baby would have a special uninterrupted time to bond. But, driven by marketing forces, the term morphed into a pre-birth time when expectant parents could focus on themselves. The new definition has stuck.

Vacation destinations jumped right into the fray, offering “specials” for expectant parents – many of them quite lavish. Hotels and bed-and-breakfasts offer spa treatments (massages, pedicures, whirlpool baths), luxurious bedding (complete with pregnancy pillows), breakfasts in bed and plentiful buffets replete with pickles and ice cream.

Granted, a pregnant woman does not relax the same way a nonpregnant woman might. The revised rules include no alcohol, no strenuous exercise (skydiving, horseback riding or water-skiing), no hot tubs and not too much sun because the skin changes during pregnancy. But, it’s a great chance for relaxing with alcohol-free cocktails, lots of fresh fruit, room service and a float in the pool.

Of course, Future Dad can partake of whatever activities he wants, and for some pregnant women, being left alone to read or take a nap while their hubby scuba dives might be a different type of vacation treat.

Upscale luxury is the byword for babymoons. Part of the “package” might be a fashionable diaper bag filled with spa and baby products. Urban destinations sometimes offer transportation to local baby/toy stores. One hotel even includes a post card addressed to them that parents send after the baby is born.

The getaways, parenting experts say, are as much about rekindling romances doused by morning sickness as they are last-ditch celebrations of lives that are worry- (and spit-up) free.

Pregnant women should consult with their doctors before planning this type of trip. Generally, the second trimester is the preferred time for travel, since this is usually when pregnant women feel their best.

To plan a pre-birth vacation, simply type “Babymoon” into Google and you’ll get pages of articles and vacation offers. Hotels describe their packages and special rates. Web sites like BabyZone and BabyCenter offer stories and advice. Even Frommers, the travel expert, addresses the issue on its Web site and makes suggestions to help you plan.

Elaine Heitman is the executive editor of Charlotte Parent, a sister publication of Piedmont Parent.

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