Traveling in Italy while pregnant

Old Feb 4th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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Traveling in Italy while pregnant

My wife and I will be traveling in Florence and Rome at the end of Feb. She is going to be about 1/3 thru her 2nd trimester. I have 2 qs:

a) Apart from obvious precautions [e.g. - drinking bottled water, avoiding unpeeled fruits, vegatables, no unpasturized cheese, careful with meat etc.] are there any othjer particular health precautions in those areas we should be aware of? (we planned on trying a day trip or 2to some towns in Tuscany, where we are a little more hesitiant than large cities.)

b: If we had the unfortunate need to touch base with a doctor in those cities, does anyone have any reccs for a good English speaking one (or hospital?) Obviously an OB/GYN is preferable.

Thanks so much!

BB
BeggarsBanquet is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2003, 09:28 AM
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I would think your wife's ob/gyn would be the first person to ask both questions.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Drinking bottled water in Florence and Rome is a cultural phenomenon, not a health precaution.
Rome had aqueducts carrying pure drinking water millenia ago and it is still known for the purity of its water.
Also no need to avoid unpeeled fruit, you are going to a highly civilized place. (Unless your wife has extra special health precautions, like a compromised immune system.) Of course consult with your physician.

Both cities have hospitals with English-speaking physicians, but again, your physician can recommend any special referrals, or records you would want to take with you.

Have a great trip.
elaine is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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Drinking bottled water in Florence and Rome (and in most places in Europe) is a cultural phenomenon, not a health precaution.
Rome had aqueducts carrying pure drinking water millenia ago and it is still known for the purity of its water.
Also no need to avoid unpeeled fruit, you are going to a highly civilized place. (Unless your wife has special health precautions, like a compromised immune system.) Of course consult with your physician.

Both cities have hospitals with English-speaking physicians, but again, your physician can recommend any special referrals, or records you would want to take with you.

Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 12:21 PM
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25 minutes south of Florence is the best ob hospital in all of Italy. It is in Poggibonsi. They have English speaking doctors and nurses and are well versed current medical thoughts on childbirth and pregnancy. Both of my children were born there even though our hospital in Siena is only 9 minutes from my house.

As for what to avoid, stay away from sausages as they are normally cooked on the rare side in Tuscany and also you want to avoid cured meats like prosciutto (crudo). Other than that there should be no problems but make sure your doctor knows where you are going.

Oh you should also check out the English Yellow Pages at http://www.intoitaly.it and look up english speaking doctors for your trip.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 02:18 PM
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I traveled to Italy during the second trimester of both my pregnancies and enjoyed every second. The only downside was having to greatly limit the amount of wine I could drink. As previous posters have stated, there is no problem whatsoever with the water or food in Italy being safe for pregnant women. I would suggest that your wife take frequent "walks" on the plane to keep the blood circulating and make sure she has two pairs of very comfortable, broken in, walking shoes that may accomodate swollen feet. Don't try to do too much in any day. We always returned to the hotel after lunch and had a nap or just relaxed with my feet up. Italy is a great place to buy some special baby clothes. I bought my girls' baptism gown in Rome.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 02:30 PM
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It's not a health concern, but be prepared for "less than comfortable" toilet facilities in many public places (e.g. of the "put your feet in these two indentations and squat" variety). Generally, they were sufficiently clean but perhaps not the most comfortable experience when you're pregnant and making frequent pit stops. In many places, however, the situation can be dealt with through a little planning (eg locating a nice hotel with a nice toilet, so that you can skip the public toilet near the tourist attraction).
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 09:08 AM
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As others stated water in italy can have an unpleasanta taste from the HUGE amount of chlorine that is used to keep it healty, but it is otherways fine. If your wife is not positive to "toxoplasmosi" make sure she does not eat any kind of ray meat (cured or not) and that her steaks are well done, but you should already know about this. As for pasteurized cheese, there is not such a thing as a pasteurized cheese. Whether the cheee is made of pasterurized milk or not, it is still aged sour milk, and the specific flavors of each cheese come from different kinds of bacteria that live in cheese. Cheese is not an issue to a pregnnt woman, not even blue cheeses that are crowded with mould. On the other hand in Italy all milk is pasteurized so she can drink as much raw milk as she will.
As siena_us stated, there are many good hospitals in Italy. Poggibonsi is known for beeing particularly good for childbirth, so good that mothers from the whole tuscany ask to have their children in that hospital (only three or four hospitals have the same kind of "camera dolce" in Italy, one is in my hometown, Sesto San Giovanni, another is in Poggibonsi). On the othe hnd, your wife is likely not to need medical help unless in emergency. In this case, I suggest trusting public hospitals. There may be an English language private hospital in Florence, but private hospitals are often not competitive with the slightly sad looking but usually good public hospitals. Besides, since most of the scientific literature is in English, most of the Italian doctors speak at lesat some English. In case of emergency you can call 118 in order to get in contact with the ambulance service, not all the paramedics speak english, but there is at least one English speaking in every town. Through 118 you can either contact "guardia medica", an emergency doctor that is available at nighttime, or call for an ambulance if needed. The mabulance will take you directly to the nearest hospital that fis you health needs. Also check out for "guardia medica turistica", a doctor that is available for tourists in every major city and town.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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You're wife is pregnant,not sick. I would not be concerned with those "obvious precautions". One poster mentioned to maKe sure you are finding comfortable lavoratories. Other than that,should be a breeze. My wife was pregant in Lisbon with no problems and she will be 6 months pregnant in paris this spring. Other than less wine,she'll change nothing.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Alice, certain cheeses should not be eaten by pregnant women. All of the soft French cheeses for example are big no nos.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 01:55 PM
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In western countries, bottled water is more likely to have impurities than is municple water. Numerous studies have been done on this topic. However, local water can sometimes taste less than ideal, so this is one reason that in some areas people will drink bottled water.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 04:45 AM
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siena_us:

I knew about raw meat (and cats) and toxo, but I neve knew anything about cheeses and I can't find anything about prohibitin of some cheeses during pregnacy on all the books I have here, the only thing I can find about cheese and pregnacy is "you need lots of calcium, eat a lot of cheese". Which are exactly these French cheese that should not be eaten? Let's see if there are any Italian cheeses that are made ina similar way and if Italian doctors also suggest not to eat them.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 05:55 AM
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Alice, there was a post on here several mos. ago with many replies re cheese made from unpasteurized milk. Listeria, which is often not detected and of no harm to the mother, can seriously affect the developing fetus. Women in USA and in France (and in all developed countries, I would imagine) are warned against eating these cheeses while pregnant. Most cheese in France is made from unpasteurized milk, and we discovered that it's not only the so-called soft cheeses.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Me again, Alice. I tried to top the post from before but could not(?), but if you search for "Pasteurized/unpasteurized cheese" you will find the thread. Lots of "extraneous" stuff on there, but also lots of info re cheeses, etc.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 06:58 AM
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Thank you grandmere.

I don't know which books you have Alice but since I have had two children I am going by experience not books although my American books do discuss this. I know that most Italian doctors do not mention Listeria (my original OB in Siena didn't) but the ones at Poggibonsi do but then they know what they are doing not like the doctors at Siena.
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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 07:27 AM
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The only difference between the Hpospital in Poggibonsi and the hospital in Siena is not in the quality of doctors (I have direct insight on this subject), it is the presenec of "camera dolce". On the other hand there is "camera dolce" also in Sesto San Giovanni, my hometown. As for listeria, that's a sickness that might be present in industrial cheese (packaged stuff) pasteruized or not and in meat perserves (cooked or raw). So, were you eating mortadella, wurstel or prosciutto cotto during your pregnacy? it is a vehicle for listeria.
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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 07:58 AM
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Alice,

Your constant need to be right on this and other forums is getting to be very annoying (not just to me as proof by the emails I have gotten). I believe you do not have children so suffice it to say that on this subject I know a bit more than you (you can not know everything from books).

The hospital in Siena does have the camera dolce so your direct insight is clouded It is not as nice at the one in the new hospital at Poggibonsi but it is nice just the same. The basic difference between the two hospitals is the education of the midwives and doctors and the attitude.

As for listeria, during my pregnancy I did not eat any "processed" foods. I followed my doctor's recommendations as well as that of my favorite doctor in the US.
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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I am 6 months pregnant right now and I live in Northern Italy. In regard to the cheeses. I was told this in the states with my first child and my different doctors over here with my second, and that is to stay away from soft french cheeses. They said bleu cheese, gorgonzola, etc. are fine if they're bought packaged from a store... just don't buy them out on some random farm in the country. I guess it's the bacteria that could be present in the soft cheeses. Here's an article...

http://www.vhihealthe.com/experts/diet/diet_q264.html

Other than the cheese, there's nothing else I stay away from except for the obvious. The "squatter" toilets are sometimes difficult, but I manage so far and there are regular toilets too. I heard Italy has a negative birth rate (more people are dying than are being born) and the older Italians just fall all over my 2 year old girl, and me, now that I'm pregnant again. It's pretty special.
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 06:51 PM
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Not to belabor the point, but it's not just cheeses from farmers that present a potential danger; when we asked in Le Grand Vefour about the cheeses they presented after our meal, they told us that all of them are made from unpasteurized milk.
FYI for those pregnant woman traveling to France, the President brand of Brie (found in supermarkets) is made from pasteurized milk.
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Old Feb 10th, 2003, 05:15 AM
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Dear Siena_us: I do not need to be right on anything, I need to learn more, that's why I asked, yet I suppose that recognizing a question can be asking too much of some people.
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