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Pregnant and planning a trip to Caribbean. Need advice please!

Pregnant and planning a trip to Caribbean. Need advice please!

Feb 15th, 2006, 07:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 29
Pregnant and planning a trip to Caribbean. Need advice please!

Hello everyone. My husband and I are both in our late 20's, and we're planning a short Caribbean trip for about 5 or 6 nights, flying out of New York. The trip will be around late March or early April and I will be 20 weeks pregnant by then. Usually, we would opt for a European or some far-away exotic location, but considering our current situation we'd like to stay closer to home.
I've read many posts and it seems that there are good things to be said about every island. However, I was wondering if someone could recommend an island that would closely resemble that of Hawaii's Maui or Big Island. Other than to spend few hours on the beach each day, we'd love to spend our time exploring the island, be it on foot or by car.

I've read many posts that rave about St. Martin/St. Marteen, Grenada and Nevos. Perhaps one of these islands would suit us best? Any advice would be of great help. Thank you.
eriel is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 338
How much are you planning to spend on your vacation (including airfare)? There is a wide range of accommodations at all price ranges so this can help us focus on the most appropriate places for you and your husband.
Laby is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,759
Based on my prior experience my wife has made the following trips while pregnant Paris, Vegas (2X) & Puerto Rico. Although I've not been to Hawaii, PR offers a rain forest, a great surfing locale (Rincon) & the Old Town of San Juan. I'm heading to St. Maarten & Montserrat next month so I'll post a report on that as well (& no my wife is not pregnant).
SAnParis is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I love the Caribbean, but there is no island there that's truly comparable to either Maui or the Big Island in terms of range of activities and resorts. St. Lucia is lush and beautiful but has relatively mediocre beaches (maybe in that respect it's closer to the Big Island). Puerto Rico is large enough that it has a range of climates and accommodations, but if you stay in San Juan, you won't find it as nice as Ka'anapali or Wailea. St. John is beautiful but small, with just 2 big resorts (Caneel Bay, which is great but quite expensive) and the Westin (which is almost as expensive but not as wonderful, though still quite good). THere are lot of really wonderful islands and resorts in the Caribbean, but if you are looking for Pacific-style lushness you're probably going to be disappointed. Barbados has great beaches and superior (but quite expensive) resorts and restaurants. You might take a serious look at Club Med in Martinique; it was recently redone and just reopened. Spice Island just reopened on Grenada, and it's a beautiful small resort. Nevis has the Four Seasons and excellent plantation inns but it's a tiny island and hard to get to. I personally love St. Martin, which has excellent restaurants, but you really need to be willing to drive around a lot to get to the best beaches, and I'm not sure you're going to want to do that in your condition. I prefer the French side of the island.
doug_stallings is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 05:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 29
Thanks everyone for your replies - these are already helping me narrow down the choices. Though I had originally thought that I will be choosing something different from the most-talked about islands such as St. Maarten, PR and St. John, it seems that these are on the top of the recommendation list for us.

I really haven't done any pricing on airfare, but we plan to spend around $2K for flights and accomodations. All else, such as dining, would be an addition to that.

Thanks again for all your comments.
eriel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 39
Congratulations on the impending birth of your child! It's a very special time for you and your husband.

My hubby and I also went on our final trip as a "twosome." In 1998 we visited Negril, Jamaica, and it was wonderful. As I was 5.5 months pregnant, I wanted a non-stop flight destination. We flew first-class, which was a splurge for us, but it was worth every penny. The seats on Air Jamaica were quite roomy and comfortable, the food was decent, and (most importantly) having a semi-private lavatory was perfect. Everyone from the flight attendants to the employees at the airport in Montego Bay treated me like royalty. The sight of a pregnant woman seemed to cast a spell on everyone. I was waited on hand and foot, which is normally unappealing to me, but it felt absolutely fabulous while I was pregnant. We stayed at the Grand Lido, and the royal treatment continued there. I never even had to carry my own plate when I enjoyed the breakfast buffet. For the most part, I was implored to just sit and relax, while the waiter prepared my plate for me. My husband still teases me about this. The beach attendants would give me gentle foot massages during the day when they would stop by to check on me. We have always been met with kindness on our vacations to Jamaica and other places, but people treated me with extra care when I was pregnant, it is was quite appreciated.

The Grand Lido is an adults-only resort. I only mention this because you will be traveling during prime Spring Break time (late March, early April), so be prepared for lots of families, which may suit you just fine.

Nevis is beautiful and serene. We visited the Four Seasons last June with our 2 children, but I don't think I would want to travel that far (and make flight connections) if I were pregnant. However, it's an excellent choice for families with young children, and my kids were in heaven for 8 days. [You can read my review on tripadvisor.com, and it's dated June 25, 2005 and titled "Beautiful Setting, but Review Your Bill"] We're going to take the children to Anguilla this year. It doesn't have the lush terrain that you seek, but I hear the beaches are nice, the restaurants are amazing, and it's easy to navigate by car. We're visiting for the first time in May.

Would you consider the Turks & Caicos Islands? Again, not the lush setting that you seek, but the beaches are beautiful. Also, it's only a 90-minute flight from Florida. (Perhaps there are non-stop flights from NYC.) If you're willing to connect in Puerto Rico, then you have more possibilities. However, I've had bad luck with the PR airport. We are always delayed there, or they lose our luggage, and the bathrooms scare my children because we can never find a clean one.

To recap our Caribbean visits, we loved Nevis, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos and expect to enjoy Anguilla. Didn't enjoy our experience on St. Thomas. The setting at the Ritz was nice, but the service was lacking and the people just didn't seem friendly. (Will try St. John next time in the USVI) Didn't enjoy Puerto Rico either, but others have had nice visits there. Good luck!

(P.S. - I bought my maternity swimsuits at Pea in the Pod. They have very comfortable and lovely 2-piece sets. I enjoyed swimming througout my pregnancies, and those suits fit comfortably even in my 9th month.)
family4travel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Congrats on the pending arrival ! You have many lovely (and warm) destinations to choose from, in the BVI's, USVI's,in the states and elsewhere. When you say 'considering our current situation we'd like to stay closer to home' - I don't know if you meant budget wise or health wise since closer (direct flights, etc) is easier for travel being pregnant - or if you didn't want to be too far away while pregnant -
but you may want to consider investigating the available health care/hospitals on whichever islands you narrow it down to, and of course, check with your ob/gyn as she may have some info. I do know that some of the islands -St. John (community hospital), Turks and Caicos (small hospital on Grand Turk), in the BVI's I think the only clinics are on VGorda and Tortolla and medical care is limited - Jamaica has a hospital in Kingston/Montego Bay, but other than that ambulances and med care are very limited and not what we are accustomed to in the U.S. - we were with a friend from Jamaica who visited this week who is very concerned about the unrest in his home - sometimes we as tourists visit an area and never venture outside the facility, where there may or may not be local turmoil- but on some islands that may limit your comfortability factor in total freedom of exploring an island, which is something you mentioned doing by foot or by car and not just being on a beach

A pregnant family member of ours was recently advised by her ob/gyn in Boston to nix her pending vaca to one of the islands- today most dr's have access to a 'physician only' online source for updated info and maybe she knew or saw something we can't access - and naturally we hope you will need to services while vacationing, except pampering services! - but you may want to search the consular sheets on state.gov or the health care on whatever islands you end up narrowing it down to.

Just a mother of two grown children, who did travel when pregnant, but I can't help myself and always liked to know beforehand what would or would not be available and cover all the bases so you have a wonderful trip all around.
escargot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Thanks again everyone and thank you for your congratulations! My husband and I are both very excited. I didn't even hope to receive as much information as I did on this site aside from just travel advice. Family4Travel, where to get a maternity bathing suit was one of my pending concerns so thanks for advice on Pea in the Pod. And Escargot, thanks for all your suggestions about speaking with my doc. I was not thinking to do so aside from confirming whether or not it would be safe for me to travel, but definitely will speak with her now about all other issues you mentioned.

We have somewhat ruled out Jamaica because from what I've read and heard (and commentary from Escargot confirmed) that it's not really safe to venture outside of the resort. Though I realize that I'm not going to be my usual adventurous self, I would still like to do a bit more than just sit around the pool or beach.

Turks and Caicos is climbing up to the top of my list as many refer to the gorgeous beaches to be found on the island. So, from all responses I've collected, it seems that I have it narrowed down to three choices: St. Martin, T&C, and Anguilla.
eriel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Barbados has everything. Great exploring, wide range of hotels, restaurants, beaches, lovely people.
xkenx is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Your friend from Jamica - where is their hometown? Does your friend recommend that you don't visit Jamaica?


There are parts of Jamaica that are not safe (but that's the same here in the US) Please don't discount Jamaica purely on escargot's comment or scare comments from people who haven't visited - or if they did visit were too scared to leave the resort. If you do that you are simply adding to the lie.

Negril is a wonderful place and the beach is very safe to walk along with lots of bars and restaurants within reach. Treasure Beach on the South of the island is a very safe area with lots to do.

We stayed last year at Idle Awhile in Negril and then Jamaica Inn in Ochos Rios (wonderful, small romantic quiet resort with a private beach - they do AI if that's what you're looking for) at neither place or anywhere on the island did we feel threatened.

We wouldn't stay in Kingston but that's the same as saying that most big cities in the US have area's we would avoid!

You might want to try Aruba - Bucuti Beach is a wonderful hotel, very quiet on the best beach on thae island, stay in the Tara suites. The island is a mixture of American and European. With fantastic resaurants and a good public bus service that is used by locals and tourists. It's a scrubby island but easy to negotiate by car and has good healthcare.

Good luck and congratulations
alya is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Eriel (and Alya)
No, my friend did not say 'do not visit Jamaica' - what he said was he was very concerned about the turmoil that he has seen escalate, especially in the past six months, in his country - and while he said he wouldn't say I couldn't leave an established resort area, he would tell me to be cautious and knowledgeable about what other areas I might choose to be in or explore - how I would explore them, what time of day, what type of transport, etc.

I did not mean for Eriel to discount Jamaica - I wanted her to be cautious about what areas she would choose especially where she expressed an interest to explore -by being aware of her surroundings and educating herself about that before she just headed out, as we should wherever we travel.

Certainly there are cities everywhere that pose risks. What he has seen lately are things tourists in resorts rarely do - but again, I just wanted her to be educated that there are areas to be cautious about - as with any destination, there are safe areas and areas to avoid, but sometimes with what is going on in a particular country, there is more to be cautious about.

My friend loves Jamaica, was raised there, and owns several businesses in Kingston and other areas, yet he said right now, he has to be more cautious than ever, and this makes him sad.

escargot is offline  
Feb 16th, 2006, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Old Navy on-line has really cute maternity bathing suits and about 10 times cheaper!

My advice for traveling to the islands while pregnant is to stay away from anywhere that may have questionable food and water. And the state dept. does not recommend traveling to a malaria region as well. They places you are mentioning sound like wonderful choices. Grand Cayman would be my destination.

Good luck!
kelliebellie is offline  
Feb 17th, 2006, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 136
In '04 we went to Cozumel while I was 27 wks pregnant. We wanted one last trip with our 6 yr old before the baby. We had a non-stop flight so that was not a problem for us. When I told my doctor I was going, he just told me to have a good time and drink lots of (bottled) water. He also gave me Keflex to take just in case (traveler's diarrhea is a bacterial infection that causes the upset stomach, so Keflex is the treatment).

I have also been to St. Martin, Grenada and Nevis and would not hesitate to go to any of them while pregnant. In fact, we were in Grenada several years ago with my sister while she was about 14 wks pregnant.

Congratulations and good luck to you!
caribqueen is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 65

I agree with a previous poster who recommended checking with your ob/gyn before traveling. My husband and I went to Maui when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. The doctor said it was okay, but, she said, "When you're pregnant and you travel, you take your chances..." I did have an episode while I was there, but I think it had more to do with eating a box of Hot Tamale candies than with the travel.

Just prepare yourself beforehand with any medications/information you may need, and enjoy this special time before your baby is born!
Margot is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3
A lot of good info here. My wife is pegnant with our first child. She will be in her 2nd trimester when we are planning to travel...supposed to be the best time to go.

One of my main concerns is having good healthcare available just in case. As a result, we were looking at Hawaii, but I think the long flight and running around while on the islands may be more exhasting than the laid back AI Caribean resorts.

We've been Mexico (Cozumel, Playa del Carmen) a few times and loved it. I don't want to go back there, but I was wondering if any islands have comparable healh care to US, that is also easily accesible. Bahamas, Grand Cayman, St Thomas?
jcbmrtn is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Oh yeah, any specific hospitals or doctor names would be great!!

jcbmrtn is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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I don't have any specific hospitals, dr's names, etc but if you check on state.gov and read the consular sheets for any country, they list hospitals, clinics, health care, etc and you can google "hospitals, name of island" and usually find a recent report - also either your doctor or depending on how they do 'travel immunizations' in your area will have access to a physician only web site - for instance, in Mass - there are travel clinics at various hospitals as well as at Logan Airport where you can go for immunizations and they can bring up on the computer the country you are going to an up to date info. sometimes we have been given different info from those sites (via the physician) regarding medical care/ actual necessity of certain immunization shots, etc and found it very helpful in deciding what to do, avoid, shots to have, etc as well as medical facility info.
escargot is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,471
I would definitly trust the health care in Grand Cayman. It is definitly not a third world country. Most people there make more money than we do.
kelliebellie is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 06:25 AM
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jcbmrtn is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Posts: n/a
Congrats on the upcoming addition to the family. I, too, took a trip with my hubby while pregnant as a last hurrah. I spoke to my OB who gave me the go-ahead, but shared with me her story of pregnancy travel. She and her husband went to the Caribbean (believe it was Jamaica, but can't remember anymore - memory was bad enough while pregnant and it really doesn't get any better after the kid comes). She spent a bit of time in the pool (great for pregnant women - I highly recommend it) went back to the room and soon thereafter became concerned that her water broke. Turns out it was really just paranoia as she somehow forgot that she had just spent significant time in the pool, but nevertheless she had a moment of panic. She spent the rest of the trip worrying about what she would do if she needed assistance where she was and ended up cutting the trip short because the anxiety just kept increasing. Her advice to me was to go someplace where I would be comfortable with healthcare and returning home options, should the need arise. To me, that meant a direct, relatively short flight home. I eventually determined that the Caribbean just wasn't for us that year. We ended up settling on Bermuda - such a short flight from the east coast with predominantly British trained physicians. We've been back since then with our little fellow and were kicking ourselves for not going sooner (we never went because we always wanted to go somewhere further). If you can wait until mid to late April, the weather is quite nice there and it's a lovely island. Just my two cents. And I will probably take the little tyke to the Caribbean next winter.

I have another bathing suit recommendation - Old Navy and Gap. They're cheap! Remember, you won't be wearing this stuff for long.

Most importantly, don't let this trip be your last for the next several years! Get the little one out and about and little he/she will likely love to travel as much as you do.

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