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6.10 MB | 15:12 Min
Stacy Denney owns the Barefoot and Pregnant maternity wellness spas, which offer everything from babymoon getaway packages to world class, specialized pregnancy spa services.
Paul Eisenberg is a freelance travel expert for FoxNews.com and an editorial director at Fodor’s Travel and a father of three.
Welcome to your Pea in the Podcast, I’m Bonnie Petrie with everything you need to know about your body, your baby and the big changes ahead in your life in your journey to becoming a mommy.
This week, we’re taking you on your babymoon…
“A babymoon is basically the trip that you take right before the baby is born. It’s a turn on the phrase ‘honeymoon’.”
Who goes on a babymoon?
“There really is no certain social aspect or demographic to it, it really crosses the board in terms of expecting couples.”
And we talk to a travel expert about what kind of trip your babymoon should be…
“Look at all of those ordinary people on the street who look exhausted, and just think about you want to take a vacation that is just an utter break from the life you’re about to jump into.”
That travel expert from Fodor’s will help you plan your trip, and we’ll learn about a spa that is all about moms-to-be and their partners in this Pea in the Podcast.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt went to Namibia. Britney Spears and Kevin Federline went to Arizona. But babymoons aren’t just for the rich and famous. Wait, you’ve never even heard of a babymoon? Stacy Denney owns the Barefoot and Pregnant, a maternity spa.
“A babymoon is basically the trip that you take right before the baby is born. It’s a turn on the phrase ‘honeymoon’ and it was actually originally created as a trip that you would take as a celebration right after the baby came, but I think we realized that we really needed the time alone as a couple prior to baby arriving. Couples now really use that time as a dedicated time to not only bond with each other, but to really discuss issues and excitement and challenges and fears about the fact that they are about to become parents.”
Paul Eisenberg is a travel expert and editorial director at Fodor’s Travel, and he says celebrities may be making the idea of a babymoon seem trendy…
“But the idea of taking a break before the baby is born is ages old, probably going back to Egyptian times.”
So if it’s an old idea, it must be a good idea, right? And what pregnant woman doesn’t want to be pampered a little bit? After all, carrying around that baby on swollen feet after you’ve spent the first trimester locked in the bathroom, that calls for a little special treatment. And if you can relax and reconnect with your partner in a romantic getaway at the same time, perfect! Eisenberg thinks you should keep that in mind when planning your trip. This isn’t a last grab of excitement before baby makes three…
“I think you’re putting a little too much pressure on yourself if you try to make it both an experience of a lifetime and a chance to relax. I would advise, again it is not a medical opinion, it’s just my opinion based on the fact that I have 3 kids of my own and that I know how little energy I have at the end of the day, you just want to have a vacation where you can just kick back and shut your eyes and say, ‘you know what, this may be the last time I can do this for a while.’”
So an African safari may not be the best idea, but a resort may be perfect…
“You might take a babymoon at a place that you wouldn’t normally go to under other circumstances. You may not, for instance, love Bermuda, but Bermuda could be a practical place to go for a babymoon because the flight’s not that long and you’re not really looking for a lot of nightlife and you want some peace and quiet, plus there’s an English language factor, and I say that, you know, not to speak out against other countries, but if you’re pregnant and you have some medical needs, you want to be around people who speak the language, unless you are a master of the language where you are going.”
The Caribbean or Mexico might be nice, but Eisenberg again stresses short flights are best. And remember different airlines have different policies with regard to pregnant women traveling. Usually they only restrict travel late in pregnancy, well beyond the time you would take a babymoon, but it doesn’t hurt to check, and of course talk to your doctor. You shouldn’t be flying if you’re having anything but a normal, healthy pregnancy. And with regard to any travel, you need to keep your doctor in the loop.
Eisenberg says there are several other things to consider, as well.
“After you’ve cleared it with your doctor, found out about your medical needs, really you’re treating it in some respects like any other medical condition. You need to be prepared the same way that you would be for any trip. So that’s thing one. Thing two we mentioned before, which is you don’t really want to lock yourself in for a long flight. No one likes using the lavatory more than once, but of course it happens. I’m talking about in the air, of course. You really want to keep your flight time down, so that is a second key thing. Some doctors and some people might say to avoid exotic locations, meaning places that have questionable water sources. I think it’s hard to argue with that. That doesn’t mean that you should totally close yourself off from places that have a bit of exoticness to them, which is why Caribbean is fine, Mexico is fine. Just be careful about where you are going.”
If you are driving, plan the trip carefully, keeping in mind bathroom access and allowing mom many opportunities to get out of the car and walk around. But Eisenberg stresses any babymoon you plan must be relaxing, or you’ve defeated the purpose. That’s why he is a fan of resorts, where spoiling is the order of the day. Many have babymoon packages; although he stresses you can have a perfectly luxurious babymoon without a babymoon package. And there are place that cater exclusively to parents-to-be, like the one we mentioned earlier in this podcast, Barefoot and Pregnant.
“Barefoot and Pregnant is actually the first maternity spa that ever existed in the country, and we are now the only destination maternity spa that exists. We provide nurturing spa services, education and nformation to expecting mothers and expecting parents.”
Owner Stacy Denney says all kinds of parents-to-be enjoy babymoons.
“We have couples that come from across the country, and there really is no certain social aspect or demographic to it, it really crosses the board in terms of expecting couples, alternative parenting couples, partners that really just want to take that extra time to go away together and get educated and nurture themselves.”
And the goal of Barefoot and Pregnant is to make it a truly couples’ experience.
“So we’re not sending the husband off golfing and the mother into her spa treatments, or partner. So we, in our babymoons, we really cater to keeping people together. We have spa services for both the mother and father. We do catered romantic picnics, we have dinners together, we actually even have a package where we have a certified nurse-midwife and nurse practitioner that comes and spends two hours of dedicated time with the couple, really going through kind of the childbirth process and answering any questions that they have. And as you know, these days your time with your obstetrician or your provider tends to be very limited, so we found that couples really enjoy the having the dedicated time with a medical professional to really answer their fears and questions around their impending parenthood.”
And if you’re swollen and uncomfortable, if your back is hurting and your hips are hurting and your feet are hurting and you can’t sleep, you may really appreciate spa services that are designed with the pregnant woman in mind.
“Our most popular is obviously a prenatal massage, our total relaxation, and that caters week-to-week throughout your pregnancy as to what the physical and even emotional changes are that a pregnant woman is going through. We also have facials that cater to each differing skin challenge that comes along, whether it is the mask of pregnancy — the discoloration and patchiness that you can get on your face — dryness and dehydration, which is very common amongst pregnant women, acne. So we have different products and different services that address each different stage of pregnancy.”
Babymoons may seem like something that only the well off can enjoy, but travel expert Paul Eisenberg says that’s not true. You may not be flying to Bermuda, but you can have your babymoon.
“You may be going an hour from your house, you may be taking a train ride; you may not be flying. You have to think of it in terms as an escape that easy to manage that is not going to put a burden on your pregnant spouse or on the pregnant person, and if it’s not relaxing, then it is not really a babymoon.”
Eisenberg says a bed and breakfast not too far away from home can always provide a relaxing getaway.
“It’s also nice to find a place that’s off season. I think under any circumstance that’s my favorite time to go anywhere, especially a B&B (”bed and breakfast”, like my aunt’s here. Yeah, I’m shameless. ) because you can have that kind of property to yourself more often than not. So definitely when you’re at the planning stage, look for those destinations that are not too far from home, but may not be so popular right now.”
Stacy Denney at Barefoot and Pregnant says you can find spas with options for pregnant women that offer short getaways.
“Absolutely. We have a lot of couples that come locally, that live right around the area, that just pick one night to getaway or, you know, in the case of a mother, even come just for the day just to get away and relax a little bit.”
So in the midst of preparing for baby, redoing your house, planning a shower, visiting your doctor or midwife, taking your childbirth classes, keeping up on your exercise and working, how do you fit in planning a babymoon? Eisenberg says in his opinion planning is the most difficult part of taking a vacation, and it starts with scheduling.
“I think the main thing to keep in mind is to talk to your doctor. Obviously determine what kind of pregnancy you have, meaning whether it is a high-risk pregnancy or normal pregnancy and, again this is not a medical opinion, this is just something I would advise based on experience. It is generally accepted, again talk to your doctor, you want to travel during the second trimester so obviously you want to sort of work backward from your second trimester and leave enough planning time so you can sort of hit that window and go on the trip then. That’s your main practical consideration.”
And then consider using a travel agent.
“You don’t want to put the burden of planning on the person who is pregnant, that is really my personal opinion. Of course, if you’re doing a one-click resort trip maybe the planning isn’t hard at all. But you might want to talk to a travel agent in part because especially if you are trying to hit a particular window, like your second trimester, it is probably a good time to get some advice from travel agents because they do know where some of their clients have gone. They probably have clients who have gone on babymoons, even if they don’t know them by that name, and they will probably have some good suggestions.”
No matter where you go and no matter what you do, if you do it right, a babymoon may be just the break you need to connect with your coming baby, connect with your spouse and connect with yourself before your baby turns your life beautifully upside down. Denney says there are many benefits to a babymoon.
“The number one thing, specifically for an expecting mother, is stress relief and pain relief. I’ve actually received gifts from clients, which is pretty amazing in a spa experience, women that have come and said it was the first time they have been pain free in months. So I would say really stress relief, pain relief and bonding, I think that, you know, especially if you’re going into a spa that doesn’t specialize in maternity there’s, you kind of lack the emotional bonding and overall experience. And a lot of women, especially in that first trimester when you’re having a little bit more difficulty really connecting with the fact that you are pregnant because you just feel bad all the time, you’re not showing, people don’t necessarily know you’re pregnant and it really gives you an opportunity to come in and connect with your pregnancy and really embrace it. And in terms of the babymoon again the biggest thing I think is the stress relief, the being able to focus and talk through any issues that they have and really relax one last time before their lives change forever.”
And she says it isn’t just for first time parents-to-be.
“Probably the largest majority are first-time couples, but a lot of second and third time couples as they start to realize that is really when they need time away tend to do it. We also offer, we offer a family babymoon that allows you to come when you are pregnant with your second or third and actually bring your first along with you to make a more family oriented process of welcoming the new baby.”
Denney says sometimes moms-to-be feel a little guilty about taking this time to focus on pampering themselves. She says, don’t.
“We spend our entire lives taking care of our children, and we really try to stress the fact that, especially during pregnancy, it’s a time when you can really nurture yourself and let other people nurture you for a change.”
Because soon your life will be all about nurturing that tiny person you and your partner made. It is the greatest joy you could imagine and also the greatest strain.
Enjoy your babymoon, mommy. You’ve earned it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Pea in the Podcast: Babymoons. Please visit our website PeaInThePodcast.com for more information about our experts, to find links and transcripts and to register to get tailored week-by-week shows for each week and stage of your pregnancy. It’s everything you need to know about your body, your baby and the big changes ahead in your life in your journey to becoming a mommy. For Pea in the Podcast, I’m Bonnie Petrie. Thanks for listening.