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Traveling While Pregnant

LisaLu

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  • Added on: April 12th, 2011
My husband and I (US peeps) have been talking a lot lately about when we want to have kids. Originally, we wanted to wait until our trip was over, but that plan may be changing. We've seen so many people talk about traveling with kids and how it is possible. So, we figured, why not start a family sooner?

We're thinking about getting pregnant about 3 months into the trip with intentions of having our first child overseas (we hope to be on the road for a year or more). I've read a lot about the benefits of dual citizenship and we were thinking of going this route later anyway. Basically, instead of travelling, coming home, saving and then having a baby overseas, we want to travel & have the baby a bit past the midway point of our trip. i know there are cons to this plan: exhaustion, fatigue, mood-swings, etc., but I feel like there are pros as well & lets face it, we're not getting any younger!

Has anyone done this, whether planned or not? Do you have any suggestions/tips? Are we absolutely crazy?

Thanks, in advance, for the tips!
- Lisa & Corey -
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"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most"
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halfnine

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  • Added on: April 12th, 2011
Yeah, don't do it :)

First you want to make sure you figure out which countries provide citizenship by birth as there aren't all that many. At least not all that many countries that you'll probably be interested in getting your child a passport for. Then in addition to maintaining a healthy diet you'll probably need to stop traveling and hole up for a few months before and after. Also, you'll probably want to have the kid in a country where you know the language so you know what is going on if there are any complications before/during/after. And if it is before you'll be limited on flying anywhere else towards the end of the pregnancy. You'll also want to sort out how much it will cost you. Then if its a first child you'll probably want to have family/support structure around. Plus there is a lot to learn not only during pregnancy but after birth...not much time to focus on travel.

If a baby abroad is ultimately desired, a better idea would be not so much to have one while traveling, but to plan on living in a place for 6 months (3 before / 3 after) instead.

halfnine

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  • Added on: April 12th, 2011
As an additional note...Countries that provide citizenship on birth here

LilaBear

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  • Added on: April 13th, 2011
While I don't have kids, a lot of my friends are beginning to have kids (I and my friends are in our early 20s) and seeing what they go through with new babies, I would NOT want to do it in a strange country without the support of friends and family, not to mention being a nomad without a home. No WAY. If your baby is a bad sleeper you might be only getting 3 hours of broken sleep a night for months. Do you really want to spend half your holiday in a zombie-like state from so little sleep?? That doesn't even touch on possible birth complications which could require recuperation time, baby complications (not feeding properly, getting sick), etc. I'm keen to travel with my kids when I have kids, but I want it to be when they are old enough to remember and appreciate it and be somewhat independent (ie. carry at least some of their own stuff, walk by themselves, etc) and be self-controlled and somewhat obedient (ie. you can tell a 6 year old to be quiet and discipline them if they don't. You can't control a screaming 2 month old).

I agree with everything halfnine said too.

vagabondette74

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  • Added on: April 13th, 2011
I definitely wouldn't do it with your first. You have no idea how pregnancy will effect you and do you really want to deal with language/culture issues when something so huge is going on? One of my best friends is pregnant right now and I can't imagine going through what she's going through while on the road. She was so sick for the first 3 months that she couldn't keep anything down. She had to give herself 2 vitamin shots a day to ensure she was getting all the nutrients she and the baby needed. The only things she could keep down were ensure and raspberries...try finding those when you're on the road... I know when I'm sick I want to be in surroundings that are as familiar as possible. I want to know where the doctor, pharmacy, good market is. Exploring a new place when you're sick is just no fun at all.

Now if you're planning on settling somewhere for a couple years - maybe. I would want to be in one spot the entire time I was pregnant plus 3-6 months after the birth of the baby. Do you really want to keep changing doctors? Finding a good doctor you're comfortable with and trust is hard enough without changing them every month. Wouldn't you want to have time to scope out the hospital to make sure they have a good birthing center and NICU in case there are complications? Wouldn't you want to really learn about the possible pediatricians for your child?

As far as traveling with a baby, I've done it, but not until the child was 6 months old so he was sleeping well and wasn't quite so delicate. I see nothing wrong with traveling with young children but if you're going to have them on the road I think it would be both silly and selfish to do so without a LOT of planning and a stable environment.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

Mama-to-many

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  • Added on: April 13th, 2011
This is not a scare story, it is my experience.
As a newly-married 20-year-old I was living in Poland and got pregnant. At that stage I'd been there about a year and was getting on quite nicely with the language but had not yet learnt words like "defecate" or "anaesthetic". I sought out a doctor due to bleeding and he sent me off to the hospital. Husband came too but got the strangest of looks when he entered the building with me. Eventually I was whipped off to a room without him and before I had time to ask for him to be there (which would have been denied!) I'd had a scan and been told the baby had died.
Back to our private doctor, where he scheduled a D&C later that day. This time we had time to convince him that I really wantd my husband with me even though it was not protocol, and he was kind enough to humour me. Thank goodness. There was no other assistant and my husband ended up administering the anaesthetic. He was torn between doing as he was told and running 100m up the street to get a friend who we knew was a nurse, but he didn't want to leave me alone! I had gone in to the procedure scared that the anaesthetic would not work and when I kept calling out in Polish "It's hurting" (which is why hubby was told to increase the dosage). I remember nothing! After sitting round for twenty minutes I was told to stand up and close my eyes, putting my arms out in front of me. I didn't fall over and so we were sent home. In our naievity, we walked to save the cost of a tram ticket. I hallucintaed for hours and really thought I was dying.
I'm glad I'm alive! I'll spare you the yucky details of follow-up "care", but leave you with one msile - the doctor used his two English words as we left "No sex"!!
That was twenty years ago, but I'd suggest you find out what kind of services you'd have access to if you chose a different country to have a baby in.
I would have a baby overseas, but I've done it eight times now and had another two miscarriages aswell.
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yongmorgan

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2011
I also don't think that its a good idea to have baby while traveling. This is so because you are not on a healthy diet while traveling and the weather differs from place to place. Also during your pregnancy you need to take better care of your health and do regular appointments with the doctor. So to avoid any type of problems and complications, it is better to plan baby after you complete your trip.

LisaLu

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2011
First off, I want to say thanks for all the feedback. Thanks, mama-to-many for your story. I can't imagine going through something like that, but you never know what could happen, which is why we wanted some thoughts on our plan. We're not trying to be selfish, we're trying to prepare our child(ren) for their future & we ARE doing lots of research before doing it. We read a great article here: http://matadorabroad.com/giving-birth-a ... tizenship/ about having kids overseas and that's where the original idea came from.

I should've been a bit more specific upfront. If we do decide to have a baby during the trip we were going to plan as much as we possibly can when it comes to where & when I'll give birth. We do plan on traveling slowly during the whole trip, but take it down several notches once I'm 6 months (or a little less) pregnant. We're fine with staying in a place we like for months to recooperate, get re-acclimated, etc.

One of the places at the top of our list (to have a baby) is Fiji, which does practice jus soli (rights upon birth). English is spoken there (not the main langauge, but it's there) and we'll research hospitals/doctors pre-trip. If Fiji doens't seem like it's a good choice, then we'll look into one of our other top destinations.

As far as staying close to peole we know, well, that was never part of the plan. We don't have friends (not complaining, the social scene here is all about partying, which we're not) and our families know that we want to live abroad. I'm sure they're are ex-pats out there who have had babies overseas.

We're still on the fence at this point and we have plenty of time when it comes down to the final decision. Sorry to be so long-winded in this post, but I wanted everyone to get a better idea of our plan. PLEASE, keep sending us feedback (pros & cons) & thanks again!
Our Blog: http://wallagrams.wordpress.com/
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most"
-anonymous-

halfnine

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2011
LisaLu wrote:One of the places at the top of our list (to have a baby) is Fiji, which does practice jus soli (rights upon birth). English is spoken there (not the main langauge, but it's there) and we'll research hospitals/doctors pre-trip. If Fiji doens't seem like it's a good choice, then we'll look into one of our other top destinations.


While there are certainly many reasons to have a second passport, I don’t see the benefit of having a second passport from Fiji. Certainly Canada, Brazil, Argentina would have quite a bit of merit. But what is a second passport from Fiji buying your child? And if you haven’t already I’d highly recommend perusing Sovereignman.com as its one of the best resources I am aware of when considering second passports.

LisaLu wrote:I'm sure they're are ex-pats out there who have had babies overseas.


Yes, many expats do have their kids in foreign countries but often they have one or more of the following in their favor: spouse is from that country, have support through their international or government employer, it isn’t their first child, have been in the country for quite a while (enough to understand how things work, get advice from expat or local friends, etc.). Obviously, the more of these boxes you can start to tick, the more viable it is to have a kid there and less risk. Keep in mind, many expats do the reverse and the wife flies home to her home country where she has the kid and the support of her family, and then she returns abroad with the kid. On a similar note, two notable travel bloggers (almostfearless, location independent) that arguably make money while living and promoting the permanent vagabonding lifestyle both returned to their home countries to deliver their kid and then took off traveling again once their kid was 4 months old.

Also, keep in mind, having a kid is easy until it isn’t. So, if you can find someone who had a difficult delivery while in your country of choice and still recommends having it there, you have someone worth hearing their story. And, if you do go with the have the baby abroad route, I’d highly consider hiring a doula there that also speaks your language. It could make all the difference. Anyway, for more viewpoints, I’d repost on Expatforum.com as well.

As full disclosure, I write this awake in the middle of the night while my 3 month old lies sleeping on me. Technically, we’ve had this baby abroad as neither of us is from the UK nor do we have any support structure here. And in many ways it’s been beneficial as the post natal care (which unfortunately we’ve needed) is better than we’d have received in Australia and even with insurance would have cost quite a bit in the USA. We did consider having a kid elsewhere (notably Hong Kong as it has some benefits for us that wouldn’t apply to most people, as well as a few places in the Americas) but discounted them as the benefits not outweighing the drawbacks. Considering the complications during delivery and after, I am happy we stayed in the UK.

LilaBear

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2011
You're right that there are lots of expats around who've had kids in countries other than their home country. But if I've understood correctly from your original post and follow-up comment, the scenario you're planning is not a normal expat scenario. Expats generally live in the same country (if not the same city/town) for years. They are not travelling. They might have earlier in life, but generally they find a place they like and settle down and make a life for themselves there. They may even have permanent residency or even citizenship. They possibly already have a doctor there and they have some idea of how the health system in their new home works. They're not intending on packing up and going off long-term travelling again within 6 months of baby being born. Their location is normally their new home, at least for a few years. It's not (normally) just a temporary stop on a long-term journey.

Seawitch

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2011
I would probably wait until after you have the child to go away - before they're walking is ideal!

In my family we have absolutely no history of difficult births or pregnancy and I just assumed I would be the same. Everyone in my family can just spit out their children, here, there and everywhere, except me lol. I'm fairly robust and worked up until 2 weeks prior to my son being born, but ended up having to have an emergency C-section.

I'm not a scare mongerer lol, but there are so many issues you can have while pregnant. There is morning, day and night sickness, pubic symphysis diastasis makes it difficult and painful to walk, the crippling lethargy. The only thing I suffered from was the lethargy, which was just delightful when you work as a nurse in an emergency department (not).

Anyway, due to the unpredicatability of pregnancy and birth, and the fact that you really can't control any of it, I would highly recommend either waiting until you have the child and then travelling, or travel first and maybe get pregnant towards the end.

Once you have a child, your life isn't your own anymore. I don't mean that in a negative way, because I feel my life is so much better with my son in it. But the ideals I had prior to his arrival are different to the reality of what life is like now.

Seawitch

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2011
I forgot to add, you might not get pregnant straight away, it could take up to 2 years to fall pregnant naturally. You might fall pregnant straight away, you might be one of those people that can just stand next to your husband and fall pregnant. But my point is that you can't predict any of it.

Do you mind me asking how old you are??

LisaLu

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  • Added on: April 15th, 2011
Seawitch, I'll be 27 in June & my husband will be 28 in September. I realize that that's not that old, but my mother had a miscarraige after me (she was young - 29) & my aunt had a very hard time getting pregnant (didn't have her daughters until her 40s). That's one of the main reasons that we've been thinking about doing this during the trip - if it's even possible. One of my bigger fears is not being able to have my own children. I would adopt if we had the money and couldn't have our own kids, but that wouldn't be my first choice.

As a sidenote, we'd want to stay in the place where I give birth if we liked it there, otherwise move on somewhere else. We just don't see ourselves raising and having a family in the US.
Our Blog: http://wallagrams.wordpress.com/
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most"
-anonymous-

Seawitch

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  • Added on: April 15th, 2011
It sounds like you've already made up your mind lol!!

You can always come to Australia!

lisser

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  • Added on: April 25th, 2011
The worst part of pregnancy, in my experience, is the morning sickness. It can be TOTALLY debilitating or you can just feel on the verge of wanting to throw up, around the clock for WEEKS!

Prenatal care is not hard to do for yourself. Get a good midwifery book (heart and hands), and it will tell you how to measure, listen to the heart beat etc. You dont *need* an ultrasound, or any of the other myriad of stuff "modern" doctors want you to have as standard protocol. I would want to be near modern medical facilities "just in case".* So, I would not worry about having to constantly change drs etc. You could just find a doctor at the place where you decide you want to give birth. DEFINITELY you will want to check flying restrictions.

You are flat out not going to want to travel much once you hit about 30 weeks. You will be big and traveling will be very uncomfortable, especially in non-industrialized travel modes, and you will have to pee every hour (or more!)

The other risks, though minimal, to consider in pregnancy is miscarriage/ectopic. Both can require medical treatment, and ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening (I've had one).

Educate yourself, weigh the risks vs. benefits, and choose. I'm not really into fear mongering over pregnancy. I eat raw eggs, lunch meat, raw dairy products etc during pg, and I havent died...neither has most of Europe.

*I am admittedly biased against USA style medical care for pregnancy. My second son was born unassisted at home.

PM me if you want more info on self-care during pregnancy, book recommendations etc.


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