Maybe it’s for a business trip, emergency purposes, or a vacation that is too expensive to cancel that you suddenly find yourself or your partner who is pregnant the need to go to Thailand, and here are 9 great tips when traveling to Thailand when pregnant.
#1 – Consult your doctor and don’t forget to ask about the Zika virus.
The thing is, Thailand is one of the countries that are notorious for being dangerous for pregnant women and it’s because of the Zika virus.
But what exactly is the Zika virus that is particularly dangerous to pregnant women? Is it avoidable? What can pregnant women and their partners do about it?
To simply put: the Zika virus is an infection transmitted by a certain type of infected mosquitoes. It is dangerous for pregnant women as the virus can be transferred to her fetus and this can cause birth and brain defects to the fetus.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or treat Zika.
Symptoms of Zika virus include mild fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and vomiting. However, the majority of the Zika virus cases do not exhibit symptoms or are asymptomatic.
If you contacted the Zika virus, expect to have a pink eye; skin rashes with red spots on face, neck, body, and upper arms; sensitivity to light; lack of appetite; diarrhea; abdominal pain; constipation; and dizziness.
While there is no vaccine to prevent or treat Zika, most people fully recover from the virus within 7 days.
If the trip is essential, you should talk to your health care provider first. Discuss your trip from a medical point of view.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and here are some examples of questions that you might want to ask:
- Does the place you’re staying in Thailand have a history of Zika virus outbreaks?
- What are the chances you will get it?
- Do you need to get a Zika testing when you get back from your trip?
Don’t forget to also do your homework about the virus. Look for specific cities in Thailand that have histories of Zika outbreaks so that you and your partner can be more careful around it.
Some of the cities with histories of Zika outbreaks are Lamphun, Phetchabun, and Sisaket.
Unfortunately, Thailand is not only the country where Zika is prevalent.
The risks of getting Zika virus is higher in countries like Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, parts of Africa, Oceania, and other tropical areas of Southeast Asia.
But if your trip is essential and unavoidable, you can take extra careful steps to make sure that you or your partner will not get the Zika virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women to protect themselves from the Zika virus.
In this article, you will find a total of 8 essential tips for you and your partner when traveling to Thailand while pregnant.
#2 – Don’t forget your mosquito repellant
It is incredibly important to use an appropriate mosquito repellant with DEET.
You don’t have to worry since DEET is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as long as it is in proper concentration.
Make sure it contains 30% of DEET, the recommended amount for pregnant women that will work against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
But don’t forget to double-check your mosquito repellant and its ingredients to make sure that it is safe to use for pregnant women.
You can check out Ben’s 30% DEET Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent.
It’s priced just shy of USD 16 for a pack of 4 and at Amazon, it has a rating of 4.4 out of 5.
This repellent offer “8+ hours of protection against insect-transmitted diseases including Zika Virus, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Lyme Disease, and Dengue Fever and other infectious diseases”.
What’s also great about this is that the formula is water-based.
That means longer protection without feeling sticky and it won’t absorb on your skin!
Their 1.25-ounce spray fits on your pocket and its volume is approved by the majority of airport regulations.
#3 – Plan your accommodations
It’s important that you choose your lodging and its location wisely. Here are some things that you need to consider:
- As much as possible, avoid places with a history of Zika outbreaks.
- Don’t stay in places close to lakes, swamps, or any nature-y areas. These are guarantee breeding spots for mosquitoes.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net.
Make sure to empty and get rid of any water containers that hold still water to stop mosquitoes from breeding close to your room.
If you need to store water, just make sure to cover it completely.
Also, sleeping under a mosquito net is important especially if your room doesn’t have windows and door screens.
If you’re unsure whether your hotel has a mosquito net installed, you can bring a portable one like this Universal Backpackers Mosquito Net that you’ll find on Amazon for about USD 20.
This portable mosquito net is great for traveling with its lightweight and easy setup.
With its adhesive ceiling hooks, simply hang it on the ceiling above your bed and snugly tuck the ends around the mattress.
Most importantly, the materials used are durable without any use of dangerous substances. A definite pregnancy-safe product!
For more information about this product, go to its Amazon site here.
#4 – Update your travel wardrobe
No matter how tempting it is to wear bold colors and summer clothes when visiting a tropical country like Thailand, you should wear neutral-colored clothing so insects will not automatically get attracted to you.
Avoid black, navy, blue, or red colors at all costs.
As much as possible, try to wear long-sleeved breathable garments.
It doesn’t mean that you have to wear a sweater under the sun. A thin cardigan will do the trick.
Jeans and long skirts are also highly recommended.
#5 – Have the “talk” with your partner
Unlike other mosquito-borne illnesses, the Zika virus can be passed through sex with a person infected with Zika.
What’s even more alarming is that many people infected with the Zika virus don’t know that they are already infected because most of the time, they don’t have the symptoms associated with the virus.
A person with Zika virus can be passed before their symptoms start, while they have the symptoms, and after their symptoms end.
It is recommended that pregnant women and their partners should use condoms or not have sex for the entire pregnancy.
Even if both don’t have the symptoms of Zika and feel sick. So, when you and your partner get back from Thailand, maybe consider the possibility of abstinence for the duration of pregnancy. If not, always practice safe sex.
#6 – Update your deodorant, parfums etc
Many women can get really picky when it comes to strong or intense smells so just to be sure I would advise you to pack deodorant and perfumes that are not that intense.
#7 – Buy a little portable electric fan
It’s not always easy staying cool when it’s really hot outside and sure, if you spend most of your time in the shadows then it might be a little better but one small but extremely useful thing to get is a portable electric fan.
You will not regret getting one when you sitting on the beach and just enjoying life.
#8 – Consult your doctor, again
You and your partner should talk to your healthcare provider immediately once you get back from your trip to Thailand.
A routine checkup is also recommended.
You must keep your health in check for the duration of your trip. Here are some of the things you need to watch out for:
- Muscle pain
- Other illnesses that you may feel during your trip
If you want, you can keep a short health diary that you can write down on a notebook or type it out on your notes app.
Indicate the date when you first started feeling it and create a scale on how bad it is. This will help you with your checkup when you get back.
But if you feel fine, don’t skip your appointment! Since Thailand is an area with a high risk of Zika, your healthcare provider might recommend that you take a Zika test.
This is really important since if you’re positive for the Zika virus, you can pass the virus to the mosquitoes and spread Zika to other people!
#9 – Prevention is better than cure
Again, do consider your travel to Thailand and postpone it until after pregnancy.
The only way to completely prevent Zika infection during pregnancy is for you and your partner to not travel to Zika-infected areas.
You must prepare twice as much if you or your partner is traveling while pregnant.
In cases like these, consulting with your healthcare provider is the best thing that you can do.