Posted by: MummyTravels | March 6, 2012

Grounded by the bugs

I’ve never been scared of needles. That’s not to say I get all excited about travel vaccinations either – but I like the thought of Yellow Fever or typhoid even less. Except of course all the usual jabs are banned when you’re pregnant, or not recommended except in an emergency.

So when my brothererix!/Flickr and sister-in-law were planning a post-wedding party in Burma, where she’s originally from, I should have been jumping for joy at the fact all my vaccinations were up to date. Although at seven weeks pregnant, I only had the energy for very small jumps.

I’ve always wanted to visit the country, especially now it’s begun to open up to tourists again, and particularly to travel round with someone who knows it well. I’d even put up with morning sickness on long bumpy roads to see the temples at Bagan or Inle Lake.

There was only one thing standing between me and 10 days exploring. Mosquitoes. Or malaria, at least. The side-effects of most malaria medicine can be pretty unpleasant even when you’re not growing a person. When you’re pregnant, they’re horrific – anything from bones failing to form to dying the baby orange, quite apart from miscarriage. One of the few things that’s worse than the drugs is actually getting malaria.

So while there’s one antimalarial that’s OK for certain destinations if you absolutely have to take it, the risk was too great if you didn’t. While most information gives you country-wide advice, regardless of whether the whole country’s actually affected, there’s a great website at Fit For Travel which gives you a breakdown by map so you can work out if the specific places you’re visiting are listed.

Yangon (or Rangoon to give it the old name) would have been fine. Inle Lake wasn’t. Which meant I wasn’t going anywhere. For the first time, pregnancy’s stopped me doing something I really wanted to – yes, I know, first of many – but gutted doesn’t even come close.

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