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The dark side of the (baby) moon

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A Babymoon. It sounds idyllic doesn’t it?

One last getaway before parenthood, before nappies and feeds take over your life. Before you forget what it is like to go to the bathroom by yourself and before sleep becomes a distant memory. Some sun on your shoulders, sand between your toes and just a touch of glorious romance.

When I started in the travel industry the term ‘Babymoon’ was non-existent. Honeymoon, sure we sold those by the bucket load but Babymoon was not on anyone’s mind. However, it seems over the years as travel has become more accessible and more affordable people want to squeeze in as much travel as humanly possibly.

On the surface, the Babymoon concept seems like the ideal escape before life changes in ways you can’t imagine but there are pitfalls one should be wary of before venturing out on that one last trip without kids in tow.

Now I am not one to tell anyone not to travel. Travel is life changing in ways that cannot be quantified and if a Babymoon is a must on your list then I am not one to stand in anyone’s way.

There are, however, some factors I would strongly recommend be taken into consideration if you’re going to consider travelling during pregnancy.

Review the medical infrastructure of your chosen destination

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a destination with an abundance of five-star resorts is going to have five-star medical facilities. Phuket or Fiji are fantastic destinations if you want to laze by a private pool and drink mocktails but outside of these world class resorts you will not find world-class medical facilities.

Many destinations popular with Australian travellers are just not equipped to deal with medical emergencies, that is why in most emergency situations your travel insurance will medivac you to a first world country but if you read on, you will see this may not be an option with complications due to pregnancy. The last thing you want to be is stranded in a country that cannot help you or your baby if the need arises.

The dreaded gastro bug

The list of what pregnant woman should and should not be eating these days is daunting. At home these type of dietary restrictions are easy to manage but overseas less so. With language barriers comes the issue of not being able to convey your needs and more worrisome can be the food handling standards in many destinations. A bad case of the gastro is enough to put anyone in hospital for an extended period of time and the implications for a pregnant woman can be unthinkable.

Don’t expect your insurance to cover you

Reading insurance policies can be like trying to interpret the Rosetta Stone. The fine print can be downright contradictory and this is coming from someone who has been reading these her entire adult life. Whilst all claims are treated on a case by case basis I will tell you that all insurance providers I have dealt with over the years will not cover the cost of “complications” arising from pregnancy.

Which basically means they won’t cover anything you need them to because why else would you be claiming unless it was for a “complication”.

Some of the costs associated with this type of incident may not be apparent at first. Yes, you will be hit with the medical bill but consider the additional costs of accommodation, food and incidentals if you are stuck overseas if you or a premature baby are deemed as not healthy to fly. This could run into the tens of thousands if not the hundreds of thousands depending on time frame.

Consider your timing

Not being a medical professional I won’t delve into the specifics on when is the safest time during pregnancy to travel. I would strongly recommend that if you are considering the Babymoon you do delve into this topic with your doctor.

I will just leave you with one thought; after 20 weeks you need to consider where you want your baby to be born and what medical facilities you want available to you if you have a premature birth.

Look into airline restrictions

All airlines have their own policies on when the cut off is for pregnant women flying. Around the 28 week mark most airlines will want to see a letter from your doctor stating you are fit to travel and at around the 36 week mark is the cut off altogether.

I would recommend heeding the doctor’s letter requirement as a warning. If the airline is concerned about a mid-air emergency then you should be too. You can minimise harm by keeping to shorter routes, if you are over land at all times and never too far from a major city you stand a better chance of an emergency landing than if you are out across the South Pacific halfway between Australia and Hawaii.

Weigh all the risks

The best approach is an informed approach. Talk to your doctor, talk to your insurance providers, talk to your travel agent and once you have all the information the best you can do is to decide what is best for you in your particular circumstance.

If the risks seem too high then why not put your pennies away and start planning for your first holiday together as a family.

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