Traveling While Pregnant; How to Survive in Your 1st Trimester

Traveling While Pregnant; How to Survive in Your 1st Trimester

I first found out I was pregnant TWO DAYS before a very important trip to Colombia. We were flying down to pick our wedding venue! (Spoiler alert: those plans have changed)

While I was feeling absolutely fine, the day I found out I was pregnant was when the morning sickness hit – and hard! I was really struggling to keep food down, and I was pissed to say the least because I had been dreaming of devouring all the bandeja paisas and jugos de maracuya once we landed in Medellin. Instead, even the smell of food cooking was enough to send me over the edge! To top it all off, we had a six-hour layover in Miami while I was struggling to not barf all over myself.

I mean, I looked like a crazy bag lady, seriously.

I had bags stuffed in my purse and carry on just in case. I tried ginger tea, snacking on crackers, vitamins and nothing worked. Thankfully, while my nausea was on full blast, I was able to make it to a bathroom during our long layover.

Pueblito Paisa, Medellin

Surprisingly, I didn’t get too sick when I was in Colombia. I had a previous prescription for Zofran for nausea which helped a lot. However, Zofran is not the best to take during pregnancy, so I only took it when I really needed to. While I wasn’t able to enjoy all the delicious Colombian treats I had dreamed of, I was still able to enjoy pan de bono, rice and beans, and ice cream to beat the heat!

When morning sickness turns into something more serious…

While my trip to Colombia was uneventful as far as my pregnancy, the rest of my first trimester did not go as smooth. Which was not good news for the travels I had lined up.

Right after Colombia I had a work trip to Chicago. I spent the first day locked away in the hotel room, ordering room service yet barely able to eat. Chicago is one of my favorite US cities, and has amazing food there! I was heartbroken that I wasn’t able to take full advantage! Although, the next day I HAD to make a stop at my #1 breakfast place of all time, Lou Mitchell’s. (I waited two years to come back to Chicago JUST for the breakfast here, I was not going to let this go!)

Chicago came and went, so did Virginia and Boston with little incident. But then again, to me these trips didn’t matter because I had MEXICO CITY waiting for me! I had bought my tickets in January to celebrate my best friend’s 30th birthday, before I knew I was pregnant. Not only was this special for her birthday, but she also traveled with me to Cuba the first time to meet my family – I was not letting this trip go by.

Except I was suffering a litle more each day
I could not keep down tacos no matter how hard I tried
All meats were my enemy
I couldn’t eat anything spicy
I basically couldn’t eat!

and then I spent a weekend in the hospital with severe dehydration and vomiting, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Safe to say Mexico was cancelled for me. I was completely heartbroken, not only for missing out on my friend’s birthday, but Mexico City has been at the top of my list for years. I knew that for my health and the health of my unborn baby I could not make this trip.

When Airlines don’t care…

I booked the trip SUPER cheap through Interjet, but as cheap as it was I still wanted my money back if I couldn’t enjoy this trip! I reached out to the airline roughly three weeks before my flight, and I was told with a doctor’s letter they would be able to refund me. If only it was so easy….

Well I send the doctor’s note and I don’t hear back for a week. I send it again and just in case I sent it through twitter where my original communication with their customer service was. As we get closer to the date I still haven’t heard back from the airline reps regarding any refund or cancellation, and now I’m getting nervous.

By the time I got through to their agents, I was basically told “too bad.” Thus ensued the longest twitter battle of my life. Now, I normally don’t like fighting with companies on twitter, however it seemed to be the only way they listened. I finally received a call stating someone would look over my letter, but if they can not come to a conclusion before the scheduled departure time I would lose any refund or airline credit. OH, did I mention the airline told me this 12 hours before my scheduled 7 am flight!?

After unfortunately putting this airline on blast, I received a ton of messages stating that the airline had done the same with other medical emergencies.

It is very unfortunate when airlines don’t take their customers safety and wellbeing to heart. To make a long story short, I recieved a call two days after my scheduled flight (when I was in the hospital again), stating that I would in fact recieve a refund – but to please stop tweeting about my experience. Safe to say I will never consider Interjet, despite the cheap prices. As my abuela likes to say, lo barato sale caro!

How to cope

Towards the end of my first trimester, I had probably tried every home remedy in the book to keep my morning sickness at bay, especially because I travel so often for work!

What I did find is most airlines are very willing to accommodate or help the best they can. I always had a stash of soda crackers or cheerios to munch on during a flight, as well as my stash of doggy bags. A few flight attendants gave me extra just in case, and some cold water when they saw I wasn’t doing too well. I was even moved a few times towards the front of the plane (which I try to sit near regardless), just so I could be close to the bathroom.

My doctor also prescribed me Diclegis, which is a form of Vitamin B and the only FDA approved pill to help with morning sickness. This was the only thing that effectively let me eat like a human being again! Some other key tips to remember when traveling pregnant are:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Book aisle seat (especially for running to bathroom)
  • Stand up every 40 mins or so to keep blood circulating & prevent blood clots
  • Don’t eat heavy meals prior to flight
  • and ALWAYS check with your doctor before any trips! **

In total, I was able to travel 7-8 times during my first trimester. While I may have to cut back on travel now, once my baby is born he will be ready for adventure! We already are planning two trips with Baby Bolaños for 2020! My grandma thinks having a baby will slow our travels down, SIKE! Airlines don’t charge for children under 2 – so take advantage people!

Baby Bolaños coming October 2019 – Future world traveler!
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