When my cousin asked me if I wanted to go on a girls getaway to Napa last year I knew there was a chance I could be pregnant by the time the trip rolled around. Tom and I had just decided to start trying to have a baby, and I had no idea how long it might take.
Think if I’m not pregnant by then, I’ll be so bummed I didn’t go! I reasoned. On the flip side, I figured…If I am pregnant, being pregnant in Napa won’t be that bad, right?
With the getaway planned and two blue lines appearing on the pregnancy stick a couple months later, I was soon able to find out if being pregnant in Napa can still be fun.
Here are the top five things I learned about how to best enjoy your time when traveling to Napa while pregnant.
Try Not to Be in Napa During Your First Trimester
I went to Napa toward the end of my first trimester. A couple weeks before leaving though I thought I was going to have to cancel the trip and just eat the accommodation cost. (I was driving up to Napa from San Diego so didn’t have to worry about losing a flight cost.) Though I never had actual morning sickness, nothing tasted good and I felt nauseous most days and I figured there was no way I was going to be having fun in Napa. Luckily, as I entered the third month of pregnancy I started to feel better and felt fine while in Napa.
This might not be the case for everyone – I know some women who had morning sickness up until their third trimester! But more than likely, feelings of nauseousness will pass after the first trimester.
Do a Food and Wine Pairing with a Winery Tour
One reason I had so much fun in Napa while wine tasting (minus the actual tasting of the wine for me) was because I got to do a food and wine pairing experience after a winery tour. If you enjoy wine, then you’ll find learning about the process of how wineries operate in Napa very interesting. I’d been on wine tours before, but in Napa it’s neat to learn about the caves for storage and how the climate affects different grapes. For the pairing part of the tour, you can’t have the wine all your friends are drinking…but you can have the food! (Probably…as always in pregnancy, there’s a caveat so call ahead to ensure the winery you’re doing the food and wine pairing at doesn’t serve only unpasteurized cheeses or deli meats or anything else you may not want to be eating during pregnancy. As always, when in doubt about what you can or can’t eat or drink when pregnant, ask your doctor).
We did the food and wine pairing tour at Robert Sinskey Vineyards, but there are many wineries around Napa that offer them.
Go to Napa With Other Moms
I went to Napa with my cousin who has three kids and several of her friends from Montana, most of whom also had kids. This is good for traveling to Napa while you’re pregnant for two reasons.
Reason #1: The other moms understand what you’re going through and commiserate with you on any pregnancy woes you may be having at the time.
Reason #2: These other moms are probably not big partiers anymore. Yes, they have a weekend away from the kids, but they’re still probably tired (because it’s true…the parenthood brand of tiredness seeps into your bones and just makes a home there…seemingly forever) so they’re not going to want to visit 10 wineries in one day, get plastered, and then find a bar to go to until two in the morning (most likely) just to then waste one day away from the kiddos hungover. They just want to enjoy some good wine, good – uninterrupted – conversation, and perhaps a little tipsiness.
As for going to Napa while pregnant with your significant other…well, I can’t say I would want to go to Napa with Tom while pregnant. If you love drinking wine, it’s just not a good babymoon spot. You’ll just be mildly depressed the whole time that you can’t drink wine and your husband is going to want to drink it and he’ll feel guilty for doing so and it will all be a downward spiral. Go to Maui instead.
Treat Yourself to a Bottle of Wine to Drink After Baby Comes
The most expensive bottle of wine I ever purchased was while I was in Napa while pregnant. It was one of the wines that was part of the food and wine pairing experience and all the ladies on my trip raved about it. It smelled lovely. (Side note: don’t smell good wine while pregnant. It will make you wish you could drink it even more.) I decided I was going to be pushing this baby out soon and my treat to myself for doing so should be a bottle of wine. Visions of drinking it after coming home from the hospital happily danced through my head as I handed over my credit card.
Reality didn’t quite match up to that. If you’re breastfeeding it’ll probably be quite awhile before you feel like the baby is sleeping in long enough stretches that you can enjoy a glass of wine. And there was no way I was opening my bottle of expensive Napa wine just to have a few sips and for Tom to drink all of it. However, the extra wait made it even more fun and exciting when we finally opened it a few months later on Valentine’s Day. Turns out, I was able to enjoy the wine from my Napa pregnancy trip after all…just had to wait almost a year.
Don’t Base the Getaway Solely Around Wine
Napa isn’t just about the wineries and vineyards. It also has great shopping and excellent restaurants. If you’re to the point in your pregnancy where food isn’t still repulsing you, dining at one of Napa’s premier restaurants is a great way to make some gastronomical memories from your trip. Plus, since you’re saving all that money by not being able to do wine tastings you can splurge on whatever menu item you want…well, besides the high mercury fish and the rare steak, but almost any item you want. (Though come to think of it this was also the rationale I used for buying my push present bottle of wine, so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise that my Napa trip was a bit more expensive than planned — but worth it! You have to find what little luxuries you can while pregnant and traveling.)
As for shopping, I’m not a huge shopaholic, but let me tell you, shopping for a baby is fun, and Napa has several baby boutiques. Yountville is a particularly lovely, cute town to walk around in and window shop — or actual shop. Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa is also a great spot for shopping. (Plus it has a cupcake shop, which was one of my cravings during pregnancy. Yum, yum.)
So can Napa still be fun while pregnant?
In my experience…YES! I am still so glad I went and it helped me to experience a different side of Napa than when I’d been there before. The wineries in Napa are so beautiful that while my friends got tastings I was able to just relax and enjoy the view so I never felt bored or annoyed that I couldn’t drink. I could just soak in the ambiance, enjoy delicious food, and relish in the fact that I would definitely not be waking up with a hangover the next morning.