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Thread: travel question for pregnant sci women

  1. #1

    travel question for pregnant sci women

    I am a 34 year old T-12 complete para.
    I was injured 14 years ago.

    I got engaged in January 2008;
    I got pregnant in February -- not planned! (in fact, I had been told years ago that it was highly unlikely that I would ever get pregnant and if I did it would be ectopic... not true!)
    I found out I was pregnant in March AFTER I set up my wedding in Las Vegas!
    After heart to heart discussions with my fiance and several doctor visits, we decided to have our baby.

    My wedding date is August 8 and my due date is October 25.

    Of course I sent out the Save the Date cards about three days before I found out I was pregnant! I would like to keep the wedding but is this realistic?

    I have read a lot of the posts about pregnancy and am very concerned about bowel and bladder accidents. I am 10 weeks pregnant and it already feels different when I try to complete my bowel program -- is there a certain amount of fiber that you would recommend that would help me go and not give me an accident?

    I am also a fourth grade classroom teacher. I'd rather not take more leave than the given six weeks... Has any para been able to keep working until the date you delivered?

    And finally, at seven months pregnant, will I be able to fly from the East Coast to Vegas and get married?

    Thanks for ANY pregnancy/ maternity/ or motherly advice... I am clueless and scared and happy!


  2. #2
    Congratulations on your pregnancy and on your upcoming wedding!

    I'll offer one data point on traveling in the 7th month, when I was AB. I flew from Washington DC to Los Angeles at about 30 weeks for my father's funeral, and I was miserable. My feet and legs swelled up and I couldn't get the swelling down for about a week. I spent every possible moment on the floor with my legs up on a couch or something.

    For other (AB) women's experiences you might want to check out the Women's Travel forum on Flyertalk ( and search on "pregnant".

  3. #3


    Do you know if the swelling was from altitude or time spent in the plane?

    Maybe there is something I can do to prepare for it?

    Also, what is AB?

    THANKS SO MUCH for your helpful response!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by iamkristy
    Do you know if the swelling was from altitude or time spent in the plane?

    Maybe there is something I can do to prepare for it?
    Pregnant women tend to retain more fluid and experience more edema in general than non-pregnant women, due to added blood and fluid volume, and due to the fact that the uterus is pressing on the vena cava, which returns blood to the heart. Gravity makes it worse in the legs, ankles and feet, so just sitting in the plane for hours is a culprit.

    The common ways to combat pregnancy-caused edema are to avoid salt, wear support hose, drink more fluid (but then you've got to figure out how to get to the restroom during flight!), and raising the legs/feet above the heart (probably impossible in a plane).

    Getting to the restroom - if you search here you'll find a lot of different opinions about the feasibility of using a plane lavatory, but here's my personal experience (and I don't have an SCI, I have MS, but use a manual wheelchair) with flights longer than 2 hours.

    When I board, I ask a flight attendant if there is an on-board wheelchair. There is supposed to be one on planes with more than 60 seats, but it's good to check. It also puts the crew on notice that they may actually have to figure out how to use it! A lot of times I'll get a sort of nervous response that no one really knows how to use it - I'll make a reassuring joke about how we'll all figure it out together, or something.

    I try to give the crew 20-30 minutes notice - it can be difficult for them to clear the aisle, clear the lav and get the OB wheelchair out quickly. The OB wheelchair will have no arms and probably no back to speak of, so if you need help maintaining your balance, you'll have to ask a flight attendant.

    Once you get to the lavatory, there *may* be a grab bar, but it's not usually in a location that helps you get from the OB wheelchair to the seat. I have had good luck with having flight attendants help with transfers. Of course if you're traveling with someone who can help, that's great.

    The other alternative is to use a Foley. Search for KLD's posts on air travel; they're very detailed and informative.

    Quote Originally Posted by iamkristy
    Also, what is AB?
    Sorry! AB = able-bodied

  5. #5
    I love to travel, and it takes a major issue for me to curtail it. I have a couple of thoughts, possibly all useless.

    I would have been miserable, flying cross-country at 7 months pregnant-and I was a 29 year old AB at that point.

    Why did you want to marry in Vegas? If it was related to partying down, that point is now moot.

    Do you want to be 7 months pregnant on your wedding day?

    How big an ordeal would it be to go into early labor in a strange town, given your complications already?

    I know nothing whatsoever about you. I do think, and I'm sure your groom agrees, that your safety, and that of the baby, are paramount. I think they start restricting flights for AB's at around 7 months. Delivering your baby safely is going to involve some intense co-operation between you, your doctor and a team of other professionals. Talk about gambling-try going into labor with an SCI in a strange town, with the medical staff unprepared. I've watched the women here through gestation, and the medical staff wants to keep them close to the hospital.

    If I were you, I'd move the wedding date up or back. Myself, I'd probably wait until after the birth, if Vegas is important to you. The other option I see is to change the location of the wedding, keeping it closer to home.

    Bowel and bladder accidents are a legit concern, but seem to me to be the least of your worries with your current wedding plans. You're not very pregnant at all, yet. Wait until you get a load of the swelling, those last 2 months! I can promise that you will be a barefoot bride, if you fly to LV at 7 months pregnant. As Katja says, it took a week for her swelling to go down in her feet. I'm the same way and I haven't been pregnant in 18 years. Your body carries an extra pint of blood in advanced pregnancy. If you sit on plane seat for hours, that blood and other fluid will go to your feet. Nobody's heart is strong enough to pump it all the way back up, in that position. Even compression stockings can't stop it. There are things you can't control in both SCI and pregnancy. Your body is the boss of the situation.

    It is grueling work, incubating the unborn. Planning a wedding is grueling as well. It seems God has seen fit to shake things up. I'd recommend making things as simple for yourself as possible. Flying to LV to get married at 7 months pregnant, with an SCI? Not simple at all.

    Pick your priorities, I guess. Examine why you had the plans you had. It's far from too late to change plans. I doubt anybody has bought non-refundable tickets yet. If they have, maybe you could change your wedding date by a week or 2, so they don't have to eat them?

    But anyway, doom and gloom aside...what an exciting time for you and your fiancee! Woohoo, congrats on ALL these major life changes! And best wishes to all concerned! You are in for one HELL of a year in 2008!
    Last edited by betheny; 03-30-2008 at 02:03 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    I don;t want to rain on your parade here, but I agree with everyone else about flying cross country, and having your wedding in Las Vegas at 7 months. From my experience (ab at the time) you are going to tire easily at that point. Add that to the sci, and the travel, It doesn;t sound like the best time and place to me.

    And Betheny;s concerns about being away from home if you were to go into labor are and excellent point. Read Emi2's thread about living in an hotel for a few weeks because her HOUSE was too far away from the hospital, let alone another state across the country.

    (PS Emi has a lot of good pregnancy and baby threads too, you can search for them .... if you don;t know how both and someone will fill you in).

    I think the idea to either change the date, or change the venue is a good one.

    Congratulations tho! On poth you upcoming wedding and the baby!
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  7. #7

    cancelled it but new question!

    much to my dismay, i cancelled the wedding -- all of your advice was wonderful -- thank you!
    and a wedding is just one day - a baby is, well -- forever!

    just a note about vegas weddings, though -- Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world! Who wouldn't want to get married in vegas?! and we had Elvis ready to officiate the ceremony

    we haven't decided what to do now -- maybe just a courthouse quickee.

    so... NOW I have another question...

    I have a temperature (only 101) and am miserable with what looks like the flu -- are Tylenol extra strength and Sudafed okay for 12 weeks pregnant?


  8. #8
    Good choice, I'm happy to hear you reconsidered. I really think you'd have been miserable in Vegas at that stage...and misery isn't the goal on your wedding day!

    I still say, if it were me, I'd wait until the baby was 6 months old or so and do it up right, including Vegas since that trips your trigger. Whatever you do, best wishes from Oklahoma!

    No advice on meds here. It was OK to take tylenol per my ob/gyn, but that was 19 years ago! They may well have reconsidered since then. I think it warrants a call to your dr., or a pharmacist if that's not possible. Get well quick!

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