Pregnant and Sick

Sniffles bringing down your vacation? Take care of yourself! (© Mark A. Hicks, illustrator)

There is nothing worse than being sick, other than being sick, pregnant and on vacation. Why does life throw these triple whammies at us, huh? You’ve saved your pennies. You did hours of research, found the perfect flight, the best hotel or apartment to rent, and have dreamt of this day for months. And now you are sick in a bed that is not your own. Or worse! Throwing up in a bathroom that is suddenly reminding you of college days.

Life really isn’t fair sometimes. Well, you may not be able to take a magic pill to make you better, but there are a few things you can do to get yourself on the road to recovery even before you get sick.

Preventative Measures

  • Take your vitamins (you should be doing this anyway)
  • Wash your hands and pack some antibacterial soap. I have gotten sick more times on planes than anywhere else while traveling.
  • Get travel insurance. This way if you get sick before you leave, you have a way to get your money back. Read the insurance guidelines for medical illness very carefully though. They can get pretty nitpicky.
  • Stay hydrated. If you think the water is iffy, stick to bottled water.

Talk to Your Doctor

  • Before you leave, let your doctor know where you will be going.
  • Ask about immunizations you should be aware of if traveling abroad
  • Request a reminder of what you can and cannot eat
  • Pack a list of the active ingredients in the over-the-counter medications your doctor approves of
  • Get a copy of your medical records to take with you in case of an emergency. This way if you have to see an OB in an emergency they can see how your pregnancy been progressing. It should not be a lot of papers if you have had a healthy pregnancy so far.
  • If you do get sick, call your doctor immediately to touch base. Some symptoms can seem minor but can lead to more severe things.

Caught a Cold

  • Rest, rest and rest some more. There is no excuse whether you are on vacation or not. If you don’t rest, you won’t get better.
  • Try natural remedies first: hot tea with lemon and honey, nasal flushes (I still can’t figure out the teapot, but the squirt bottle works well enough) and lots of rest
  • Take Tylenol for fevers, Sudafed for congestion and Sucrets for sore throat. If going abroad, write down the active ingredient that your doctor deems as safe to take if you get sick. You can head to the local pharmacy or chemist with your list in hand. (IMPORTANT: double check all medications with your doctor before you take anything. You may feel awful, but you need to protect your baby.)
  • If you are prescribed an antibiotic stay out of the sun. Your skin is already more sensitive when pregnant, antibiotics will make it even more so.

Not Happy with Nausea

Even if you think your morning sickness has passed, you may be surprised what a little travel and especially a time change can do to you.

  • Know your food triggers. If something makes you feel sick, stay away from it.
  • Keep your happy foods around. Anything that makes you feel better when your nausea hits should be close at hand.
  • Insist on driving if it is an option. Having control of the wheel can help your nausea a lot.
  • If you have had horrible nausea throughout your pregnancy, ask your doctor if he or she can recommend anything safe to take if you have a really bad day.

Please note that all advice is my own and what I have gleaned from my travels and experiences. Doctors have not verified this information. Use your judgement and always consult your OB/GYN or midwife before taking any medication. 

written by Keryn Means

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