The idea of escaping for a full week or more to a luxury resort before bub arrives is heaven, but not all parents-to-be can afford the time – or the money. Some couples have found another way to relax together before the big day arrives.
When Perth mum Amy Mitchell was pregnant with her first child, she and her husband couldn’t find a free weekend – let alone a week – to have that holiday that’s become as commonplace for expectant couples as a honeymoon is to newlyweds – a babymoon.
The answer, she realised, was to reduce it to a one-day mini-break. But with no tailored couples’ experiences on offer in her area, Mitchell, the owner of Perth’s Yummy Mummy Day Spa, decided to add a ‘Babymoon’ package to her spa’s treatment menu.
“It’s really mission impossible to get away during that time for many people, but it’s nice to do a little something because once baby arrives – that’s it – you can kiss goodbye to chill-out time for the first six months,” she says. “So it’s definitely important to get some now.”
Preparing-for-baby expert Vanessa Sutherland, from The Baby Consultant, points our that another reason couples might baulk at having a week-long prenatal trip to a luxury destination is the price.
“Going on maternity leave can create financial stress,” she says, “so a couple of short breaks [instead of a longer babymoon] might make sense.”
But is one day really enough time to revel in the loveliness of being just the two of you?
“A week is perfect, a two-day break is great, but I think couples should grab as much as they can – and if that's only a day trip, then so be it,” Sutherland says.
“The main goal of a babymoon is really just about sharing the anticipation of your baby, celebrating the point you’ve gotten to prior to having your newborn, and treasuring the time you have together as just two.
“You really just want to spoil yourselves.”
No matter what your day or weekend entails – meals out, theatre tickets, an overnight stay – one experience that’s sure to appear on many a babymooners’ whish list is a spa treatment. While some spas have a special babymoon package, most will tweak their standard couples’ offerings to incorporate pregnancy-friendly treatments. Appointment availability will depend on when the pregnancy-specialised massage therapist is on.
Also check ahead of time that the spa welcomes mums-to-be; while some cater to women at all stages of pregnancy, others won’t take women until they’re past the first trimester. A few don’t cater for pregnant women at all.
If you’re strapped for time and pennies, Mitchell says the best time to visit a day spa is between 32 and 36 weeks “when you’ll really appreciate a massage for your aching joints”.
This, followed by a long lunch out with your partner and an afternoon snooze, is all you really need to regroup before two becomes three.
“It’s a good chunk out of the day just to chill out together before the time when you don’t have any time together at all,” says Mitchell.
And with all the money saved, there’s no reason you can’t do it again, and again … and then once more for good luck!
Endota spas (Australia wide) provide treatments for both couples and pregnant women, and can tailor a babymoon experience on request.
This mum-to-be (in my second trimester) had a taste of babymoon bliss with a pregnancy-pick-me-up treatment at Endota Spa in Paddington. It included a degustation of TLC, beginning with a foot bath and scrub, followed by a back massage (lying face-down on a contoured pregnancy-massage pillow – very comfortable, for the record!); a facial (with baby-safe certified organic products, all gently-scented so as not to aggravate morning sickness), and a dreamy head massage. My therapist, Aurora, who is specially trained in pregnancy massage, yielded to my pleas for a firm touch while taking care with the pressure points that become more sensitive during pregnancy. The result? Definitely a deeper level of relaxation that lasted all weekend.
The spa also has a couple’s treatment room, so you can luxuriate alongside your partner if you like. The good thing is that treatments can be customised – so if you’re worried about strong smells, sensitive spots or any discomforts, just speak up.
Other babymoon spa options
• The Spa at The Darling, Pyrmont, Sydney (NSW): Incorporate the indigenous-inspired Marma Kodo pregnancy massage with the Decadent Duo couple’s package for three-and-a-half hours of full-body pampering.
• Villa Thalgo, The Sebel Resort & Spa, Hawkesbury Valley (NSW): The Baby Moon spa package (three-and-a-half hours), which includes a pedicure, can be combined with a couple’s treatment and accommodation.
• Yummy Mummy Pregnancy Day Spa, Leederville and Woodvale (Perth), Clovelly (Sydney), and plans for salons in Melbourne and Brisbane: The Babymoon package is specifically designed for expecting couples; it’s a full-body two-hour work-over culminating in an Indian head massage.
• Calma Medispa Retreat, Armadale (Vic): Pair up the Mum-to-Be package with the Chill Out for Men for two hours of heaven in the dual treatment room.
• The Lyall Spa, The Lyall Hotel, South Yarra (Vic): This spa has a range of treatments with products and techniques suitable for pregnancy that can be carried out in tandem with your partner. Luxury add-ons include transfers from home (or Tullamarine Airport), lunch or dinner, accommodation and a bathrobe.