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Travelling to Cuba while pregnant

Hola!
Just wondering if anyone had any experience, advice, tips, etc for travelling to Cuba while pregnant? It will still be early on, so I’m not worried about travelling too late in pregnancy.
Thanks in advance! ;D

no one other than your doctor should give medical advice so go to your doctor and see what he says

I’m not looking for medical advice, as I’m a doc myself!
Just looking for any tips, suggestions, etc…perhaps travel while pregnant is no different?

[quote author=thopk069 board=Cuba thread=1198962288 post=1198963978]I’m not looking for medical advice, as I’m a doc myself!
Just looking for any tips, suggestions, etc…perhaps travel while pregnant is no different?[/quote]

Hola Thopk069

Welcome to the forum! :smiley:

Since you are a Doc and you do not need any medical advise, there is a couple of things that I can think of.

Perhaps you would like to print off the locations of the closest hospital in case something does come up while you are in Cuba and you do need some medical advise or help.

Also, certain kinds of food are hard to come by in Cuba, so if you are craving any certain food, then I would pack that in your luggage in case you get a craving that won’t go away. :wink:

Enjoy your vacation.

Freedom Ryder 8-)…

I would also write a note in spanish to keep with you saying you are pregnant and how many weeks. This way in an emergency (heaven forbid) you can give them the paper instead of having to worry about translating in a hurry. There are some translation sites on the web that could help with this.

Have fun!

I travelled to Cuba while pregnant (18 weeks) and had a great time. I chose to stay away from milk, but ate lots of cheese! I was very careful with meat (always am!) and also drank lots of water (as I always do!). I also I brought my prenatal vitamins. The only thing that was truly different was the level of discomfort on the hard-plastic lounge chairs - I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get comfortable! And lying on my stomach had just become a thing of the past, so my beach time was mostly spent sitting or walking!

In Spanish, “I’m pregnant” is “estoy embarazada”. It will come in handy when you arrive, if you want to avoid going through the security scans - the officials at the airport in Cuba were most accomodating, unlike those in Montreal, who told me there was nothing to worry about. Perhaps that is the case with newer equipment, but I didn’t want to take any chance!

Any other questions, feel free to ask!

In case you get a severe case of gastric distress, bring your own sharps and some Gravol. I was injected with reusable glass syringes and given some pills that had never been approved for use in Canada. Bring anything you think you might need in terms of meds and sterile goods, even bandages and a suture pack in case anyone in your party has a trip and fall.

We regularly take expired meds to Cuba through Not Just Tourists, and the lack of even the most basic meds and materials is shocking, although things are better in Varadero and Havana. The local doctor would be happy if you leave any unused materials with him/her.

You’ll find that the Cubans love babies and children, and will treat you like a queen! :sunglasses:

Torontogal makes a good point about the lack of available supplies - that being said, as a pregnant lady, I doubt Gravol would be appropriate - my own doctor had told me that there was nothing I could take, not even charcoal caplets. Perhaps a naturopath or homeopath specialist could make some safe suggestions.

BTW - I like the term “gastric distress” !! Luckily, I’ve had no trouble in that department while in Cuba, during any of my trips.

My wife and I travelled to Cuba when she was 5 months pregnant, everything was fine. The thing about cravings is a good point, some things are in short supply there. Aside from that just go and have a good time!

I should explain that not all meds are expired, not at all, many are left over when contracts change at a hospital and the former supplier’s drugs would otherwise be sent to the landfill.

But, yes, some meds are still perfectly safe for months or even years after their printed “best by” date, but cannot legally be sold in Canada once that date is past. The best by date has to assume that the owner has stored the meds in poor conditions (heat, humidity) that would make them degrade. Every single package of meds is inspected by both a doctor and a pharmacist who volunteer for NJTT before the bag is signed off, and a final expiration date is written on the package. Trust me, they are not kept long in Cuba, they are used pretty quickly.

It is absolutely in the interest of all NJT groups to ensure that they are sending life-saving medications and would never send anything deemed risky in the least. In fact, most countries have laws governing how expired meds can be when imported, (for Cuba it is 3 months) respecting the fact that when new medicines are unavailable, older but still potent meds are the next best thing. Otherwise, recently expired but still life-saving medicines would end up in Canada’s landfills.

[quote author=torontogal99 board=Cuba thread=1198962288 post=1199033718]But, yes, some meds are still perfectly safe for months or even years after their printed "best by" date, but cannot legally be sold in Canada once that date is past. The best by date has to assume that the owner has stored the meds in poor conditions (heat, humidity) that would make them degrade. Every single package of meds is inspected by both a doctor and a pharmacist who volunteer for NJTT before the bag is signed off, and a final expiration date is written on the package. Trust me, they are not kept long in Cuba, they are used pretty quickly.

It is absolutely in the interest of all NJT groups to ensure that they are sending life-saving medications and would never send anything deemed risky in the least. In fact, most countries have laws governing how expired meds can be when imported, (for Cuba it is 3 months) respecting the fact that when new medicines are unavailable, older but still potent meds are the next best thing. Otherwise, recently expired but still life-saving medicines would end up in Canada’s landfills.[/quote]
Thank you for your words of wisdom torontogal. I worked for a major pharmaceutical company and it was our policy that expired drugs were either disposed of at source or returned to us for disposal and were never sent to a developing country as aid. When aid was requested, we sent “fresh” supplies. I have also volunteered with NJT in St. Catharines, and at no time did I ever see expired drugs shipped to Cuba.

I know that the expiry dates for some drugs may be out by 3+ years, however others will expire within 2-3 months. If they cannot be used in Canada /U.S. and Cuba’s import policy is “less than 3 months from expiry” Who decides which expired drugs are o.k. to send to Cuba or other destinations?

Apologies for changing the topic of this thread.

AC

Thanks to all for their suggestions, tips…
With regards to needles, sutures, etc…obviously not an issue for me to get them, but how do I go about transporting them? In my checked baggage for sure! Do I not need a note saying why I have them?

[quote author=thopk069 board=Cuba thread=1198962288 post=1199115436]Thanks to all for their suggestions, tips…
With regards to needles, sutures, etc…obviously not an issue for me to get them, but how do I go about transporting them? In my checked baggage for sure! Do I not need a note saying why I have them?[/quote]Shouldn’t be a problem in your checked luggage. After all, lots of people (e.g. diabetics) have reasons to bring needles. :smiley:

I bring a fairly extensive medical kit with me including a suture kit (only had to use it once), dermabond, local anesthetics, antibiotics, epipen, bandages, needles and syringes etc. I have it packaged in a ziplock bag in my checked luggage and its never been an issue. If it were questioned i would just tell them that i’m an MD and i travel with a medical kit. As long as the meds are labelled in their original containers and the syringes are still in their original sterile packages it should be fine.

ONly problem with travelling pregnant is that you don’t get to drink the mohitos!!

Oh, and don’t forget about wearing compression stockings on the airplane and do lots of walking about. There is an increased risk of DVT while pregnant!

Anyone have any good thoughts on what foods you can or can’t eat in Cuba?

Obviously watching the meat is cooked is important, but what about hte milk, cheese, fish, etc?

[quote=@gregsguys]Anyone have any good thoughts on what foods you can or can’t eat in Cuba?

Obviously watching the meat is cooked is important, but what about hte milk, cheese, fish, etc?[/quote]

I love milk, but I have yet to drink it in Cuba, including when I was pregnant. I figured for one week, it would be ok (certainly better than getting sick!), and I had brought my prenatal vitamins. I ate lots of cheese, and plenty of grilled fish, without any problem. I also ate pork and chicken - but no hot dogs or beef (stuff I eat very little of here anyway). Fruit juice was not a problem either. I have brought the HTE milk for my son and will do so again on our next trip - very heavy in the suitcase, but worth it.

A cushion or mat for the beach chairs would be a good idea, as I found the plastic chairs especially uncomfortable!

Thanks Anne, you guys will have to excuse my typing, my brain and fingers work at different speeds!!!