Babymoons: Advice for that one last trip before giving birth
A Calgary doctor offers her tips for expecting parents considering the pre-birth vacation trend
Taking a babymoon vacation is becoming a popular trend among parents-to-be. It's one last chance for a couple to escape together, before midnight feedings and diaper changes take hold.
But the babymoon is not without its risks, says a Calgary physician who practices low risk obstetrics.
"First of all, consider the timing of the vacation," said Dr. Laura Bennion.
"The location of the babymoon is also important. If you run into medical problems, what part of the world are you in? And can you access appropriate care?"
Dr. Bennion recommends travelling to European or North American countries — places where you can access first-world medicine.
Best time to take a babymoon
Most prenatal books suggest travelling in the second trimester, but many doctors go further, saying travel prior to 24 weeks is safest.
"Twenty-four weeks is the age at which the baby becomes viable — meaning it can live on the outside," said Dr. Bennion.
"But if the baby is born at that stage it's a very long hospital stay with lots of medical considerations. So travelling before that time is the safest."
Insurance for the babymoon
Finding adequate travel insurance also needs to be a top priority, Dr. Bennion says.
"Can you get insurance for yourself and your unborn child in case that child happens to come early?"
One company that does offer comprehensive insurance for pregnant travellers is Alberta Blue Cross.
"We cover pregnant women up to 32 weeks. That means if you're pregnant, healthy and you go on a trip, you're covered, your baby is covered, and any costs related to a birth that might occur up to the 32nd week is covered," said Sharmin Hislop with Alberta Blue Cross.
However, it's standard that if you've had any complications related to your pregnancy within 90 days of travel, you would not be covered.
$1 million babymoon
You may remember a story that made headlines last year, of a Saskatchewan mom who delivered prematurely during her babymoon in Hawaii.
Jennifer Huculak was two days into her trip when her water broke.
She was put on bed rest for six weeks, and delivered her baby prematurely in Oahu.
Her newborn had to stay in a neonatal intensive care unit there for two months, and the hospital bills added up to just under $1 million.
Today, Huculak is working with a lawyer and still trying to get her insurance company — Saskatchewan Blue Cross — to pay up.
So far, the insurer has refused — citing a bladder infection Huculak had early in her pregnancy.
Yet despite her nightmare, Huculak says she would do it again.
"I would absolutely go on another babymoon, but I probably wouldn't cross ocean waters again on a babymoon," she said.
Huculak says if she'd been on the mainland U.S. for her vacation, she would have been able to drive home before she delivered.
Is this a real trend?
Insurance companies, including Alberta Blue Cross, say they're seeing an increase in calls related to the babymoon. And many doctors also say more couples are inquiring about travelling while pregnant.
The trend is also being popularized on social media, by celebrities who post cute photos of their pregnant bellies on exotic beaches.
Some resorts and hotels are starting to cash in on the trend, offering special babymoon packages, including non-alcoholic wine delivered to your room, and extra pillows on the bed for mom-to-be.
Always check with your doctor or midwife before booking a babymoon of your own, to ensure it is safe for you to travel while pregnant.