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Travel to Iraq while Pregnant

I hadn’t really planned on going to Iraq. Wade briefly mentioned it in passing while we were daydreaming about the trip. I shot him a “what the hell are you thinking?!” look in response.

Nobody goes as a tourist to Iraq.

Let alone when they are pregnant.

“We’ll just go to the northern Kurdistan part. It’s just as safe there as it is in Turkey,” Wade meekly tried to convince me.

“We’ll feel out the situation once we get there,” I relented, still not ever expecting to actually go.

Somehow “feeling out the situation” turned to us going to the Turkish border town of Silopi. There are very few border towns that I want to hang out in, Silopi was one of the worst.

“Well, I guess Kurdistan couldn’t be any worse,” Wade offered, and we agreed to go.

It was the smoothest border crossing we could hope for, we were granted a ten day visa to Iraq on the spot. The border crossing agent asked where we were going, when we replied Dohuk, he nodded approval.

“Don’t go to Mosul,” he said, “if you go to Mosul there might be…. an accident.” We all nervously laughed.

We only wanted to stay in Iraq a few days. One of my concerns about traveling pregnant was that we should remain close to a big city where I would be able to find a decent hospital in case anything should happen. There was no way we could go to a big city in Iraq, they were just too dangerous.

So that meant that if anything should happen we’d have to cross the border back into Turkey and then take a bus for several hours before we could find a decent sized hospital. Given that there weren’t any signs of problems though, I was willing to take the risk for a couple days.

It was still morning when we arrived in Dohuk. After finding a cheap hotel and resting for a few hours we went off in search of an internet cafe so Wade could work on the website and I could send my mom an email letting her know that her four month pregnant daughter was in Iraq.

As I started the email, though, I began to feel little bubbles in my tummy. Wait a minute, those probably aren’t bubbles. No those definitely aren’t bubbles. I bounded across the room to Wade.

“Wade! I just felt the baby move!”

And so here was our little embryo, turning into her own person and being able to move by herself,  in Iraq.

Read parallel entry from Wade at, Border Crossing Iraq from Turkey

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Filed under: Health, Iraq, Pregnancy, Travel With Family

About the Author:

After traveling on her own for three or four years, Chaya met up with Wade Shepard, the editor of VagabondJourney.com. They were married in 2009, and continue to travel the world together with their young daughter. From time to time Chaya blogs about family travel and life on the road. has written 102 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Chaya Shepard is currently in: Xiamen, China