With five months until baby’s arrival, you’ve got the nursery painted, the crib assembled and the pediatrician chosen. With all your energy focused on the baby, the only thing you’re likely forgetting is spending quality time with your significant other. This is where a babymoon comes in.
Jennifer Merritt

pregnant couple You may have heard the term “babymoon” before, even if you’ve never been on one. The trend — where a couple goes on a last-hurrah vacation before life becomes about all things baby — first became popular three years ago, and has ramped up popularity ever since.

“My husband and I have always been big travelers and we had gone through a lot to get pregnant and felt that we needed to get away before all these changes happened,” says Tracey Thibodeau Serebin, a family dynamics specialist in New Jersey and the proud parent of now-14-month-old son. Serebin also points out that babymoons have surged in popularity as couples wait until later in life to have children. “Younger couples usually don’t have much extra money to spend and people who have waited later in life to have children don’t know when they’ll have time to travel again with a new baby on the way,” she says.

Babymoon basics
In fact, studies show that 41 percent of couples report taking a pre-baby trip as a “last getaway,” while 43 percent are looking for rest and relaxation. Such trips are most often taken in the second trimester and average about four days. Most couples opt for beach-based babymoons, as they tend to be the least strenuous.

“It’s usually just a quick break before it all happens,” explains Mandy Chomat, vice president of sales and marketing for Karisma Hotels & Resorts, the worldwide representative of the adult-only El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and the family-friendly Azul Hotels peppered throughout the Riviera Maya. “It’s the stress-free environment that parents want,” he says. “We find that moms like to get massages outdoors and the husbands are involved simply by their wives enjoying the vacation.” For instance, with a personal butler and 24-hour room service available at all El Dorado resorts, “when there’s a craving for ice cream and a brownie, the husband doesn’t have to go fetch it,” Chomat laughingly notes.

Rejuvenating safely
When deciding on a babymoon, there are some important factors to consider to maintain the safety of the vacation. The second trimester is a popular time to travel not just because the bouts of morning sickness are over, but also because pregnant moms typically are advised not to fly in the third trimester. Many doctors also advise against women using Jacuzzis early in their pregnancies, believe that rising body temperatures are not good for babies.

And, relaxing as they are, not all massages are safe for moms. Ask for a masseuse with prenatal massage training; if one is not available, be sure to tell the massage therapist that you’re expecting, as putting pressure on certain body parts like the lower back and abdomen can trigger uterine contractions in some women. Also, some essential oils commonly used during massages, like arnica, clary sage, fennel, jasmine and juniper, are believed to stimulate contractions. Most therapists will happily agree to a fragrance-free massage experience.

Finally, “choose a hotel with close locality to medical services,” suggests Tammy Gold, a New Jersey-based psychotherapist, certified life coach, certified parent coach and founder of Gold Parent Coaching (www.goldparentcoaching.com).

Make it a communication vacation

Despite the relaxing nature of the trip, numerous experts advise that babymoons should be about so much more than R&R. “Couples should use the time to discuss the changes that will happen in their lives once the baby arrives,” says Serebin, who has authored two recently published books, “101 Questions for Expectant Parents” and “Searching for Inspiration on the Infertility Rollercoaster,” both published this March by RoseDog Books. As Serebin will tell you, even experts can forget how important such a discussion can be.

“I’m a communication specialist and I thought we had talked about everything before the baby came,” Serebin recounts. “But in the hospital, I unexpectedly had to do a C-section and when my husband came to pick us up, he asked if I wanted to stop at Cheesecake Factory and have lunch! I was thinking, ‘Are you crazy?’ but he was so used to being able to pick up and go.”

Gold says expectant couples should use a babymoon to put together a unified parent philosophy. She suggests asking such questions as, if the baby has sleeping issues, will we split up the night? Will our parents be able to help us? What type of babysitter do we need?

“Certainly make the trip relaxing and decadent and pampering,” she advises, “but also take time to think about life after the baby has arrived.”

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