Image: Hughes family
Charles Dharapak  /  AP
Lucinda and Kemry Hughes, pictured in front of their Washington home earlier this month, are expecting their first child in April after taking a 'procreation vacation.'
updated 11/6/2006 3:25:58 PM ET 2006-11-06T20:25:58

When Lucinda Hughes heard she would have to drink sea moss elixir while vacationing in the Bahamas, she was certain it would make her sick. Sure enough, three months later, Hughes is very sick — every morning — and expecting her first baby in April.

She got pregnant after she and her husband went on a three-day Procreation Vacation at a resort on Grand Bahama Island.

It’s part of a trend in which hotels around the world are luring couples who are trying to have a baby. Resorts are offering on-site sex doctors, romantic advice and exotic food and drink calculated to put lovers in the mood and hasten the pitter-patter of little feet.

Even some obstetricians are promoting the trend. Dr. Jason James of Miami said he often encourages couples trying to have a baby to sneak away for a few days, and he often sees it work.

“One of the most easy, therapeutic interventions is to recommend a vacation,” James said. “I think the effect of stress on our physiology is truly underestimated.”

Hughes and her husband, Kemry, went to the Westin at Our Lucaya Grand Bahama Island, where the three-night Procreation Vacation starts at $1,893. They lounged on the beach, swam in the pool, sipped pumpkin soup and enjoyed couple’s massages. Hughes and her husband were also also served an age-old Caribbean fertility concoction three times a day: sea moss, the Caribbean’s version of Viagra, mixed with evaporated milk, sugar and spices. (She said it tasted like an almond smoothie.)

The chain also offers the package at their resorts on St. John and Puerto Rico.

“My husband and I thought that we would go on the vacation and learn all these nice fertility secrets and we’d be practicing them for a number of months for them to work,” said Hughes, 35, who conceived the day she got back from the trip. “We were stunned. There’s definitely some truths to the foods and the elixirs.”

The couple had been trying for only two months, since their wedding in May. But like most couples they have hectic schedules in Washington, where she is a freelance writer and he is a city employee. Cell phones are always ringing, day planners are jammed. “We’re all overscheduled,” Hughes said.

But the couple let go in the tranquil Bahamas and made time for luxuries often skipped at home, such as romantic dinners and cuddling, she said.

The Birds and the Bees package at the Five Gables Inn & Spa on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay includes a two-night stay with a couple’s massage, oysters (purported to be an aphrodisiac) and wine, a pair of heart-print boxer shorts and a CD from love crooner Barry White for about $810 per couple.

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There is a Procreation Ski Vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where couples can snuggle by a toasty fire, enjoy a candlelit dinner for two in their room and take a dogsled trip to a nearby hot springs at the Teton Mountain Lodge.

For about $1,800, couples can book a conception cruise on the “Love Boat.” They are taken to a romantic island on the luxury liner of Singapore sex guru Dr. Wei Siang Yu.

At the Miraval Resort in Tucson, Ariz., sex experts Dr. Lana Holstein and her husband, Dr. David Taylor, help couples with such things as ovulation schedules and achieving intimacy.

“The damage that working for conception does to the sexual relationship, it’s really, really impactful. This business about being so tense about conceiving a child and feeling like the clock is ticking makes people much more scheduled,” said Holstein, author of “Your Long, Erotic Weekend.” “They lose sight of the sensual.”

She said getting away to spa or a hotel really can aid conception: “It’s the relaxation factor. It’s that all the other stressors in life are gone.”

Now three months into the pregnancy, Lucinda and Kemry Hughes have picked out baby names: Kemry if it’s a boy, and if it’s a girl, Lucaya, for the resort that made it happen.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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