Pregnant and Traveling to Costa Rica
April 24, 2012 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Is it safe for my wife who will be 12 weeks pregnant, to travel in Costa Rica to San Jose, La Fortuna, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio? Any other advice or recommendations on traveling while expecting are welcome, too!

Are there any vaccinations required and is there any risk of malaria in those areas?
posted by pithy comment to Travel & Transportation around Costa Rica (12 answers total)
Required vaccinations, malaria risks, and any impact the vaccinations or anti-malarials may have on the fetus are all questions she should ask her doctor. However, anecdotally, a coworker's wife continued her frequent work-related travel to many places in Central America, including Costa Rica, for the majority of her pregnancy. I think the kid had been to something like eight countries before it was even born.
posted by olinerd at 10:54 AM on April 24, 2012

The CDC's page on vaccinations is very informative. You can look up the vaccines needed for travel to Costa Rica as well as information for pregnant travelers. But she should also ask her OB about all of this once the initial research is done.
posted by amro at 10:57 AM on April 24, 2012

She'll be fine. 12 weeks isn't so far along as to be a huge physical challenge just yet, although the heat may be hard on her.

As for malaria, it's not a huge concern in the areas you'll be in, and I wouldn't worry about vaccinations. The biggest challenges she'll face are that she may get weepy seeing all the poverty in San Jose (street kids, etc.), and the heat of Central America.
posted by Monkeyswithguns at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2012

I would add though that when in La Fortuna, if you plan on visiting some of the hot springs, she should probably be careful to avoid some of the warmer waters as it gets pretty hot.
posted by Monkeyswithguns at 11:10 AM on April 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I spent almost a year in Costa Rica without getting special vaccinations and didn’t have any problems. That being said, I did have a friend come down with Dengue Fever.

Also, I went to the hospital twice in San Jose to deal with an infection--Hosptial Clinica Biblica. The facilities and doctors were comparable to American Hospitals, but much less expensive.
posted by unreasonable at 11:12 AM on April 24, 2012

I really, really, hope that you and your wife don't take the word of strangers online that she will be fine. Please talk to her OB.
posted by amro at 11:17 AM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

12 weeks is right around the time where she may still be experiencing fatigue and nausea. Be prepared for her to feel pretty crappy just in case. Also, she needs to speak with her OB about the vaccines. I know there are some that are unsafe to get during pregnancy.
posted by chiababe at 11:21 AM on April 24, 2012

She needs to make sure that she has travel insurance, and that her travel insurance covers pregnancy. Of course, nothing is likely to go wrong, but in the event that it does, super important!

I've never been pregnant and IANAD, but IUTWFAG (I used to work for a gynaecologist) and their answer to "is it safe for me to travel to various countries while this many weeks pregnant?" was almost always "Just make sure you are covered by your travel insurance."

But yeah, amro has a good point, you should be talking to your OB about this, for sure! They get this question all the time.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:22 AM on April 24, 2012

All of the above, definitely stick with bottled water, and beware of bug bites, which can give you the Chagas parasite, which I believe around 15% of the population there has contracted. (sorry, cant find the cite on that)
posted by timsteil at 11:36 AM on April 24, 2012

I just want to second chiababe. Obviously women's experiences vary in terms of how bad the exhaustion and nausea are during pregnancy, and how long they last. I went on a vacation to Cuba when I was 11 weeks pregnant and I would not plan vacation travel in my first trimester ever again. I had really bad morning sickness and was super-exhausted. I alternated between lying in bed and lying on the beach, and wasn't really up for doing anything else beyond that.
posted by sanitycheck at 12:35 PM on April 24, 2012

My wife traveled at about the same time and was super exhausted. She cheated and has a little caffeine, which helped. Otherwise there were only a few hours of the day (maybe 2-3) that she was up for much other than just relaxing.
posted by UMDirector at 1:05 PM on April 24, 2012

For a counterpoint, I went on a long trip at 11/12 weeks involving a lot of waking and hiking and felt basically fine. The only thing that gives me pause about central america is avoiding mosquitoes (which spreas dengue fever). I wouldn't want to be slathering on a ton of deet in the first trimester! Otherwise, probably little to worry about. Women get pregnant and have babies in costa rica all the time, and few diseases cross the placenta anyway.
posted by yarly at 1:43 PM on April 24, 2012

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