One woman’s story of traveling during pregnancy and trying to avoid Zika virus

Last year we planned a trip to Singapore and Hong Kong for July 2017. It would be a good excuse for a holiday as we would be attending a friend’s wedding and going back to the country where I first met my husband on a 1 day transit through Singapore. I was born in Singapore so it kind of feels like a second home to me, and Anthony lived there for 5 years before we met and also has fond memories of the place.

Little did we know that I would fall pregnant early this year and would be about 26 weeks by the time the holiday came around. We let our obstrician know early on that we would be traveling and he didn’t seem to have any objections at the time.

Then about two weeks before we were to fly out our OB threw out a question to us – “is there Zika virus in Singapore?” Anthony and I looked at each other like “uh oh” and I feared what was to come next. A search on government warnings and travel advice came back with the result: pregnant women should not travel to Singapore because of Zika. A weight sank on my shoulders as I dreaded having to change our travel plans. By the end of the visit to the OB we both had a lot to consider for this trip.

After careful consideration we decided that we would continue with the holiday. The chance of contracting Zika was relatively low but we understood the serious consequences if I did get it. I spent the next two weeks researching ways to avoid mosquito bites, the most effective mosquito repellents, and planning what clothing to wear to cover my arms, legs and feet in the crazy heat and humidity of Singapore. I already struggled finding decent clothes to wear in pregnancy without looking too odd but throwing the heat, humidity and needing to cover up took it to a whole other level. 

I settled on two different repellents (one with picardin and the other with DEET) and also a mosquito repellent arm band! We would avoid nature and outdoor activities (no zoo or night safari), try to stay in air conditioned areas and not hang around the beach or any stagnant water bodies. My suitcase contained a mixture of maxi dresses, pants and long sleeve tops.

We arrived in Singapore this evening feeling a little tired and sick after some turbulence on the flight but quickly got excited about all the eating possibilities ahead of us. We armed ourselves with RID and my Parakito arm band and headed out for dinner. So far so good, no mozzies around but we shall see how the rest of the trip goes. Watch this space. 

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