When traveling long-term as a nomad there are bound to be things that don’t go according to plan. Life in general never goes exactly as we plan it. When we started our “travel-forever” journey, the very first flight we booked was delayed for two days. We’ve had accommodations suddenly cancel on us a day or two before our check-in date. We’ve shown up to places we’ve chosen to stay at because of the washer/dryer listed only to find out that it’s actually a laundry service that only operates seasonally. So we’re no strangers to plans going awry.
Yet, despite our experiences with plans going astray, it was still a shock to find out – through a Facebook page post – that the maternity hospital where we planned to give birth would be closing their doors at the end of the year. We had been in touch with the hospital, sending over medical documents from our appointments on the road, and were in the midst of scheduling through email our first in-person appointment when we found out about the upcoming closure.
With two months to go before my due date, we had to figure out a new plan.
Here are 5 things to help you make a Plan B and choose a hospital while traveling pregnant
(if you didn’t already have one in place)
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
It’s okay to yell, cry, or even laugh at plans not going accordingly. Don’t let it paralyze you if you’re upset, but it’s perfectly fine to take a moment to be upset. Just remember that pregnancy also comes with a lot of extra hormones so if you feel extra upset, it might not be as bad as you’re feeling. I definitely burst into tears upon learning the news that the hospital was closing, and I knew the world wasn’t ending… it just felt like it. Haha. Take a moment to step back and breathe. You got this.
2. Pull out your lists.
We had researched hospitals and chosen the one we thought would be best. Originally, we looked at hospitals in other countries as well but since we had already scheduled flights and accommodations, we limited our back-up plan to hospitals in the same area as our original first choice. Didn’t make any lists to begin with? Just went with your gut? Well, then you’re probably not too worried about having a Plan B and can just wing it again. If you’d like to start making lists, a simple way to start is by listing out pros and cons. When searching for a doctor/hospital, you can also make a list of non-negotiables, prefer-to-have, and would-be-nice-to-have qualities.
3. Start making new arrangements.
I started by emailing the maternity hospital that was closing to ask if they had any recommendations or places they were referring. I also reached out to other highly rated hospitals to find out their admission process via their website contact forms. Remember to follow-up as needed. But if a doctor/hospital isn’t very timely in their replies, it may be a sign to keep looking!
4. Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up.
The doctors that I could contact via email or Facebook were unfortunately fully booked. The midwife that the original maternity hospital recommended was going to continue her practice at a different hospital that was too far away. We ended up having to wait until we went to visit the hospitals in person and calling each doctor one by one until we found one available.
5. Ask for help if needed.
When you’re traveling, you can feel a bit isolated. Maybe you haven’t been good at keeping in touch with friends and family back home. But if you’re in need, reach out and ask for help. If you’re not able to ask people you know, or maybe they just don’t have the expertise to help you, check out help forums online or Facebook groups. If you’re looking for a doctor or recommendations for a place, there are expat groups or travel groups where people help each other out with suggestions and ideas. Feel free to contact us as well and we’ll do our best to help or hopefully connect you with people who can!
I hope that these tips help you if/when things don’t go according to plan. Even as a pregnant nomad, you can still get quality healthcare while traveling. In our case, we were able to find another highly rated hospital that was nearby our accommodations, and get signed up for admission. It might not be the luxury maternity hospital that we had originally hoped for, but it does have private recovery rooms, and large birthing rooms with various options during labor.
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore