Pregnancy and Travel
Some of the weirdest advice I got while pregnant surrounded travel -- a fair number of well-meaning people told me not to do it, citing warnings about everything from blood clots to discomfort to miscarriage. A (slightly) increased risk of blood clots and discomfort are real considerations (we’ll get there in a minute), but unless you have a more serious complication, most travel through most of your pregnancy shouldn’t pose a problem.
There are only a few hard and fast official rules around air travel while pregnant: most airlines let you fly up to 36 weeks without doctor’s permission, and most practitioners similarly cite this as the cut-off point for flying, save for emergencies. And if there is an emergency, recommends our Clinical Director Anne Willits, bring your medical records with you, as there is some chance you’ll be delivering away from your home hospital.
Around month eight, you might want to stash a doctor’s note in your carry-on gear, just in case you’re questioned. That note might also score you a better seat with more legroom (helpful when your bigger belly makes cramped seats painful) and better bathroom access (choose an aisle seat if you can).
Pregnant women do have a slightly higher risk of blood clots, which can be exacerbated during air travel. If you have a history of blood clots, your practitioner will no doubt have some tailored advice. For everyone else, Willits recommends getting up and moving around every hour or so, or spelling out the ABCs with your feet.
As for discomfort, flying with morning sickness can be trying -- though it’s normally manageable -- and weird aches and pains get real sometime during the third trimester, though exactly when differs for everyone. I’d have struggled on a trans-Atlantic flight after 32 weeks unless I was flying in lie-flat first class (wishful thinking).
Cruise lines are a little stricter -- most won’t let pregnant women on board after 24 weeks. So if you were hoping for a late second trimester babymoon on a boat, you’ll need to look at other options.
Other travel considerations are mostly regional -- avoid Zika outbreak zones, and take special care to prevent mosquito bites in areas with a history of the virus. Check the CDC website for the most recent information. Most doctors will steer you clear of zones with tropical diseases like malaria, too; if there’s an essential reason to go there, work with a tropical disease expert for prevention measures that are safe during pregnancy.
You’ll find that many adventure excursion providers exclude pregnant women without exception -- so you might want to hold off on destinations that are heavy on those types of activities until after the baby is born. Consider, too, that your fatigue levels may be different -- give yourself permission to slow your pace, and think about destinations that hold promise of relaxation.
What about a babymoon?
Yes, if you have the means, take one! First of all, how many excuses do you get for a vacation? Live it up. Second, this is a good time to disconnect with the world so that you can connect with your partner (and, frankly, yourself) about your growing family. Destinations the world over are getting savvier about catering to mothers-to-be, too -- so be sure to fill out your time with little luxuries like prenatal massage.
When should you go? Mid-second trimester seems to be the sweet spot -- when you’re over the morning sickness hump, and before third trimester discomfort sets in.
Favorite Local Babymoon Destinations
You don’t have to hop a plane to Hawaii to have a stellar babymoon (though more power to you if that’s what you have planned). Here are a few of our favorite local babymoon destinations, all located within a half-day drive of Denver.
The Vail Valley
No matter what time of year you go (save for a week or two in early May and late October, when things close for shoulder season), there’s plenty to recommend the Vail Valley, from luxurious resorts (we see you, Ritz-Carlton Beaver Creek and Arrabelle by Vail Resorts) to gentle activity (snowshoeing in the winter, hiking in the summer) to leisurely meals at good restaurants. Apres ski is just as much of a sport here as skiing itself, which means you’ll also find lots of pampering, whether you’re in Vail, Avon, or Edwards.
This self-contained ranch located about an hour for Denver is perhaps as close as things get to an all-inclusive resort here in the Rockies. Book a package that includes your rustic-luxe accommodations plus all your meals, and settle in for a few days of relaxation and as much outdoor activity as you want (even if that’s none). An on-site spa provides prenatal massage, and a movie theater, game room, and yoga offerings provide good low-impact options.
If several soaks in a warm pool sound like heaven to you about now, consider babymooning at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, where you’ll get access to the outdoor springs, ringed by the Rockies. The on-site spa offers prenatal massage and a slew of other services, and a robust fitness schedule has plenty of options suitable for pregnant women. If you’re hesitant about booking a vacation around a hot springs, consider staying in nearby Salida, and spending a few hours at the pools.
A killer art scene, a charming and walkable downtown, and a wealth of food options make Santa Fe, located about six hours from Denver by car, an excellent choice for a long weekend away. Plus, prenatal spa and fitness options abound, whether you opt for a quaint vacation rental or a luxe resort.
Strapped for time, or just don’t want to travel, even for an hour? Check into a hotel (the Brown Palace has a fantastic spa; ditto the St. Julien in Boulder) or Bed and Breakfast and spend a weekend seeing a different neighborhood or side of the Mile High. Order room service, book a special meal out, and check out a good restaurant or museum nearby. It’s the quality time that counts.