After the discomforts of the first trimester, it is nice to have a babymoon on the second trimester, when the all-day-sickness subsides and you are feeling more positive and energetic.
A babymoon is like a honeymoon before the baby comes. It’s a great way for couples to celebrate the coming of a baby; to relax, connect and enjoy a romantic escape before the baby comes. We are lucky that my doctor allowed me to go on a babymoon after our recent scare.
For our babymoon, we went to Italy, specifically Tuscany, with no expectations but to gaze at beautiful gardens, eat like locals, sleep, try different gelato flavors and sunbathe under the Tuscan sun. As per doctor’s orders, because of my delicate pregnancy, there was to be nothing strenuous.
Each pregnant person has different needs and health conditions. These are the tips that I found helpful during our Babymoon. Please be sure to consult a health professional before following any tips.
Consult your doctors.
Whether you are in perfect health or a complicated pregnancy, ask your doctors if it’s okay for your to travel. Tell them where you are planning to babymoon, for how long and what activities you plan to do.
Also ask them what you should do in case there is an emergency and make sure there are adequate medical facilities there. You might also be adviced to get vaccinations for certain destinations.
She only approved of our Tuscan babymoon when I promised her not to do too much walking and get some real R&R (Rest and Relaxation).
Maximum 3-hour Plane Ride
My doctor advised me not to travel by plane more than 3 hours for the entire duration of my pregnancy, because the longer the plane flies, the higher up it goes up in the atmosphere, and the more cosmic radiation (from stars including our sun) we receive. I was surprised because I always thought the concern with flying was from the X rays or the air pressure up in the air. But no, it’s radiation. Read more about radiation you receive from flying in the CDC website here.
SEPTEMBER 2018 UPDATE: There is a Harvard Study that discovered that flight attendants are more likely to get cancer. You can read about it here. This is something that is interesting for us , because my hubby was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma last January 2018, and there are no know environmental causes for it except for radiation. As a diplomat’s son and diplomat himself, he has travelled extensively his whole life.
Plan for some real R&R.
Ideally pick a destination where you can truly get some R&R (rest and relaxation) but if you end up somewhere that has a lot of sightseeing and walking, try resist the urge to see everything and agree to focus on a few things.
For example, part of our babymoon was in Florence and it is a compact walking city with a lot of sights and museums. TD and I agreed that our trip was going to be more about living like a local and taking our time. We avoided lines, crowded tourist spots and museums and had a fun, stress-free time.
We also scheduled a few days in a countryside boutique hotel near Siena, where we did absolutely nothing but laze around and feel pampered. I’m going to feature it in one of my next posts.
Don’t worry about airport security scans.
I was assured by German airport security that in most airports, only magnetic scanners are used and these are safe for pregnant women.
Only the carry-on items and laptops, mobile phones, etc. go through the X-ray machines so there is no need to worry. Full-body backscatter X-ray systems used at some airports are also safe during pregnancy. source
You can always ask for a pat down if you are still not comfortable.
Budget for taxi rides.
TD and I love taking public transport and walking when we travel in Europe because it’s cheap, practical and you get a feel for how it is to live like a local. Expat tip: this is a great way to scout potential future posts!
But for our babymoon we agreed that once I am tired and need to rest my legs, we would just call for a cab. Believe it or not, it was hard to apply this tip because I used to be the type of person who thinks “I can still do this” and then power through. During our babymoon it was all about listening to my body.
Use wide rubber-soled wedged shoes.
Pregnant women’s feet easily get swollen and our feet expand as it gets warmer from walking and the day gets warmer. Shoes that were perfectly wide in the morning can become tight and uncomfortable as the day progresses. Cabin pressure on planes can also make your feet swell.
So far the only shoe brand that I found comfortable enough for my super wide, fat feet are Ecco Shoes. They are very sturdy, wider than other brands like Clark’s, etc. and they have styles that aren’t too dowdy.
According to my Orthopedic surgeon the worst thing for feet are:
- Flat shoes
- Narrow, pointy toed shoes
- Heels higher than 2 inches.
And the best support for healthy feet are:
- Rubber soles
- Wedged heels that are 1/2-2 inches higher in the back
- Rounded toed shoes
- Shoes that are wide enough for your feet
- Good instep insert to support your arch
In Europe I find it worthwhile to invest in high quality, sturdy shoes. From the experience of my guests from the Philippines, Berlin is a shoe-killer, what with all the walking and cobblestones. I’ve had guests who had the soles of their shoes literally fall off as they were walking and my Yosi Samra flats, which were perfectly fine in Jakarta, did not survive one day in Berlin.
So for preggy footwear when traveling, I recommend comfort and durability (that is hopefully still stylish), if you want to enjoy a stress- and pain-free vacation.
Wear your seatbelt correctly.
Keep your seatbelt on as much as possible whether you are in a car or plane. The fit should be snug but comfortable. The lap strap must be below your belly and flat on your thighs. Shoulder straps go in between the breasts and to the side of the belly (never across the stomach). More tips on seatbelt safety while pregnant here and here.
I always buy a big bottle of my favorite sparkling water before boarding the plane and take sips frequently throughout the duration of the flight. Airplane air is especially dry so it’s important for skin to be well-moisturized (to prevent moisture from escaping through your pores) and to replenish lost moisture with continuous drinking of water. Avoid diuretics like coffee, tea, etc.
It’s especially important to keep hydrated while pregnant because you’re building a tiny human in your belly and water is essential for:
- Forming amniotic fluid
- Producing extra blood volume
- Building new tissue
- Carrying nutrients
- Promote digestion and prevent constipation
- Flushing out your’s and baby’s wastes and toxins
- Softens skin (minimizing stretchmarks)
- Reducing risk of urinary tract infections
- Preventing pre-term labor
Keep you blood circulating.
Pregnant women are at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) because of the added pressure on their veins. Whether traveling by plane, train or car – get up (or stop the car) and walk around for a few minutes every hour to get your circulation going and prevent blood clots.
Going for a pee-break is the perfect way to do this. This is why the previous tip is great. When you drink lots of water, your bladder becomes you built-in alarm clock telling you to get up to use the toilet AND get your blood pumping. Reserve an aisle seat in advance for convenience.
Avoid crossing your legs. On the train, plane or while or while waiting, take a load of and put your feet up on your luggage.
Easy exercises you can do during long periods of travel:
Sitting or standing, stretch your leg out heel first and gently flex your foot to stretch your calf muscles. When you’re sitting, rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes. Roll your shoulders in both directions, and roll your neck by dropping ear to shoulder and slowly rolling your head back and forth. Repeat all exercises 10 times. – Baby Center UK
Smaller meals + pee breaks throughout the day.
Keep your blood sugar low, avoid getting HANGRY (hungry + angry) by eating lighter meals and snacking throughout the day. TD agrees that hungry hormonal pregnant lady must be avoided at all costs.
Aside from keeping ‘hanger’ (hunger + anger) at bay and being better for your metabolism, smaller meals and snacking throughout the day has a lot of perks for babymooners:
- You get to sample more restaurants and cafes.
- Avoid big meals that get you full and sleepy.
- Rest your feet at intervals and avoid getting overly tired.
- Regular use of toilet facilities to avoiding “leaks.”
P.S. My OB said I could eat cold cuts, etc, because I already had the antibodies, I was immune from whatever raw meat can possibly be contaminated with. I must have gotten whatever it was already in Jakarta. Silver linings coz I love cold cuts, especially in tuscany!
What other tips can you recommend for traveling while pregnant? I’d love to hear other tips!