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Pregnancy and Travel—Yes You Can!

Mark, Seven Weeks and One Day

I learned I was pregnant when I peed on a stick in Walmart’s bathrooms (not my most classy moment, I know). I told Feng the news ten minutes later, and then I called my mother. My friends in Ottawa were the next to know. Then, little by little, I announced it to the rest of the world but I was slow to do so, mostly out of superstition.

I only published the “by the way, I’m almost about to give birth” news on this blog when I was eight months pregnant. It caught a lot of people by surprise because I had just come back from a trip to the U.K and France.

Yes, I traveled when I was pregnant. Why not?

Mark was “made in Mexico”, so technically my first trip with the mini-baby was in February 2012, when we flew back to Canada. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know yet I was pregnant.

In March, as I had just found out I was expecting, my mother underwent a serious surgery. I didn’t think twice and bought my ticket to France—I wanted to be by her side. I was a very confused but otherwise fine seven-week-pregnant traveler. The trip was pretty smooth—I didn’t even have a baby bump then and no one could tell I was expecting, which led to funny conversations with my grand-parents who scowled at me for passing on that supposedly delicious French wine.

When I came back to Canada, Feng and I drove to Toronto to see Bryan Adams. At the time, I thought it would probably be my last trip outside Ottawa for a while. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to stray far from home, right?

Yeah, right.

In the bliss of the second trimester, I got itchy feet. The baby was fine and I hadn’t changed my routine much—I was walking a lot and going to yoga twice a week. Sure, there was a mini-us inside me, but he wasn’t interfering much with my life so far.

In June, we decided to take off to New York City and explore New York State. I was almost six months pregnant then and I was just starting to show. The most annoying pregnancy-related symptom I had was that I needed more bathroom breaks than usual. Thanks God for Starbucks and fast joint restaurants in NYC—I think I peed in every single bathroom available in the city.

Six Month Pregnant in NYC (June 2012)

The rest of the time, I forgot I was pregnant. We stood on top of the Empire State Building, explored Chinatown, walked on Brooklyn Bridge and visited all the landmarks. My belly bump seemed to expand as the day went by and as I was eating and drinking: in the morning, it would look flat and then I would walk by a window a few hours later and bam, I was showing!

When we headed back to Ottawa, I really thought it would be my last trip when pregnant.

Until late July, when Feng and I had a chance to go to London. Did I want to go there for a few days? Hell yes! Sure, I was almost seven months pregnant, but who cared? I was given the green light by my ob-gyn and we started packing.

However, for a brief moment, I wonder about airline policies for pregnant women. We flew Air Canada from Ottawa to London—no issue there, Air Canada allows pregnant women to fly up to the 37th week (i.e. right until the end). But from London to Nantes, we flew Easyjet and its policies weren’t as lenient. A doctor’s certificate was required if traveling between the 28th and 35th week of pregnancy. And the certificate must be issued by a doctor or midwife, and must be dated within 5 days of the outbound travel date.

I was 28 weeks pregnant so technically, I should have gotten a note from my doctor. But I couldn’t have produced another note dated within 5 days of the trip for the trip back to London, since I didn’t have a doctor in France.

Screw the note, thanks God for Roots hoodies—very handy to cover a baby bump. I stepped into the plane holding my bag in front of my belly and no one asked question. Phew. I was barely showing anyway but I had read news about a pregnant woman thrown off an Easyjet flight because she didn’t have a note from her doctor, and I certainly didn’t want to have any problem.

Once again, in London and in Nantes, the most annoying side effect of pregnancy was that I needed to pee all the time. I was starting to get a bit tired when standing for extended period of time but I was fine when walking.

Seven Month Pregnant in London, August 2012

Exploring London with a seven-month-pregnant belly was a really fun experience, and being able to see my family again so far into my pregnancy was great. In the evening, my mother and my sister loved playing “poke the belly and make the baby kick” game!

I feel lucky I had an easy pregnancy and that I was able to stay active right until the very end. All pregnancies are different but if you are given the green light by your doctor, you can do a lot of things during these nine months!

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