Lauren Turner had never heard of a "babymoon." But she did notice a "pregnancy package" offered several weeks ago by Bonne Terre Country Inn in Nesbit, Miss.
Nick and Lauren Turner decided on a name for their child during their babymoon.
"I just had to get away from the house," she said," and I knew I couldn't travel far" because she was two months from her due date. She and her husband, Nick, booked it and found it a smart decision.
Babymoons have been a travel trend for several years, according to Frommer's, the vacation guide publisher, even though the term is unfamiliar to many. It is generally defined as a last chance for parents-to-be to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect before life is overrun with diaper bags and sippy cups. A babymoon can also be taken after the baby is born as a time to bond with the infant.
At least two websites are devoted to the subject, including babymoonguide.com, which offers destinations organized by state (for one-day trips) and by country for longer ones. It also offers reader reviews, blogs, ideas and advice. Babymoonfinder.com concentrates more on destinations, offering information in many languages.
California is deep into it. Babymoon packages there include workshops on relaxation for couples, DVDs of native flute music and on infant massage, and even the opportunity to get a hand-painted cast of one's pregnant belly.
Turner, a cheerleader coach and preschool teacher on maternity leave in Southaven, Tenn., had felt overwhelmed with phone calls and visitors. She was familiar with Bonne Terre because she and her husband were married there.
The Turners checked in at 4 p.m. to a room with a patio overlooking a pond, saltwater pool and meditation garden. They explored part of the inn's 23 acres, had a gourmet dinner there, and the next day had a couple's massage in their rooms. Lauren had a pregnancy massage, one done with the subject lying on her side, and received special attention to her lower back and swollen ankles. They liked things so much, they stayed an extra day.
They talked about serious things they had little time to fully discuss before, including schools and how they would manage work and child rearing. Another product of the babymoon was a name: They decided on Peyton Nichole.
Babymoons may involve pregnancy photos. The Turners were photographed by family friend Juno Avent. Avent thinks pregnancy photos allow for more artistry than regular portraits. "It's the beauty of the concept, the miracle of birth that you're trying to capture," he said.
Bonne Terre has hosted three expectant couples in the past four months, said Emily Rygg, who owns the country inn with her husband, Bob. One couple sped away in the middle of the night on a false labor alarm.
Jennifer and Chris Ragland of Arlington, Tenn., traveled to Hawaii for a babymoon. Chris is a history buff, so they usually traveled to historical sites, said Jennifer. But "this was our last real vacation together before we had children," she said. She wanted it to be romantic and relaxing. They booked a week at the Fairmont Orchid hotel on the Big Island's Kohala Coast.
Jennifer found it ideal to travel at four months into her pregnancy. She was past morning sickness and the fatigue associated with early pregnancy, but well away from her due date. They spent lazy mornings drinking coffee on the patio and later drove around the island. One night, they saw a spectacular lava flow.
The Raglands scheduled a photo session by the ocean. "Being on the beach brought back memories of our wedding day," Jennifer said. "It was a bittersweet time for us to have that one time away without distractions."
Chris did get one historical site on their agenda: Pearl Harbor, which seemed fitting, said Jennifer, since her due date was Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day.
Baby Nathan Christopher Ragland jumped the gun by arriving Nov. 29.