One of my close friends, intanpghofur, traveled to Saudi Arabia last year while being pregnant, to perform the Hajj together with her husband. The Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the five pillars of the Islam, the obligations and ritual that all Muslims must uphold. Every adult Muslim (male or female) who has the physical and financial means is required to travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj once in his or her lifetime. Intan wrote a very extensive blog post about her journey. This article will summarize her post and give you the most important tips for performing hajj while being pregnant.
Every pregnancy has a different condition. What Intan writes here is not a form of generalization for all pregnant women. Just an endeavor, she tried to maintain the health and wellness of her pregnancy during the Hajj travel. Please be aware that the responsibilities to make sure the baby’s health is on your own shoulders.
Governmental rules for performing the Hajj
Before reading her tips, it is important to consider the rules of your own country for pregnant Hajj pilgrims. Does your government allow pregnant women to perform the Hajj? In Indonesia, the government basically does not prohibit pregnant women from going Hajj during pregnancy if the gestational age is within 14-26 weeks. As in the case of the Netherlands, there are no specific rules from the government that avoids pregnant woman from performing the Hajj. No requirement is needed to issue any pregnant certificate for the application of the Saudi Arabia visa.
Tips for preparing yourself to perform the Hajj
1. Consult with your ob-gyn or midwife regarding your health preparation to perform the Hajj
Although the health workers in the Netherlands very much understand or at least have heard the term Hajj and Umrah, they are not sufficiently acquainted with the details of the process of the pilgrimage. Intan made a timeline of the Hajj trip with all the various physical activities that she will do, including the number of kilometers she walks during a day, outside temperature, humidity, wind speed, air pollution, the possibility of a “virus/bacteria” pollution and all the hazards that may occur.
During a consultation with a Dutch health worker, Intan asked several important questions; What vitamins or supplements should I consume? What kind of certain foods should I eat? How much portion of food should I absorb compared to the regular consumption when I am home? And can I have an influenza vaccine.
In the Netherlands, there is only one vitamin that is suggested to be consumed by pregnant women; “Davitamon Complete Mama”, which is a safe and needed vitamin for the nutrition of fetal development. That’s all. The vitamins in one tablet contain all the things needed by the fetus. If you want additional vitamins, then the solution is by consuming food ingredients containing vitamins which must be added; like fruits and vegetables.
Next to the vitamins, Intan asked the health worker for a vaccine. She was vaccinated with Meningococcal and DPT (according to the consular who gave the vaccine, this is mandatory from the Dutch government for all people who will take hajj/Umrah) and additional requested for influenza vaccine. Unfortunately, at the time of departure (summer) the influenza vaccine was not available in the Netherlands.
So, in the end, Intan took vitamin complete Mama, Honey, a DPT vaccine and meningococcal to prepare for her trip to perform the Hajj.
2. Prepare a list of equipment for your own comfort for when you are on the move
Doing Hajj pilgrimage from the Netherlands requires a strong independence and research. The list bellows shows what Intan brought on her trip to perform the Hajj while being pregnant.
This belt is to help our spine support the growing belly when we walk for a long distance. Intan purchased one online, but finally didn’t use it, because it was too tightly binding, making her breath shorter and shorter. If this is suitable for you, it’s good to wear!
Make sure to bring super light, soft, and comfortable shoes. Look for those without shoelaces, so just wear it instantly. Although not exactly the same, what Intan bought is more or less a model like this.
Bring masks that are commonly used for those who are having influenza. Regarding the use of masks during Ihram rituals, some of the scholars forbid it with thorough consideration, even though still some of the others allow it with certain udzur. As being pregnant, you might want to consider wearing a mask in crowded places where many people are coughing, sneezing, and so on, to maintain the health of the fetus.
This seems mandatory for those who are pregnant or not pregnant. Besides, the glasses are given a rope so that they can hang around our neck so that we have no trouble searching in a bag.
Filled spray bottles with water
Spray bottles are common to bring for those who are performing the Hajj. However, for those of us who are pregnant, it is more mandatory because of the sweltering feeling that we experience 2 times higher than those who are not pregnant. Use this spray bottle not only to spray the face, but also spray throughout your neck, stomach, legs, chest and so on.
Pampers are used when staying in Mina’s tent (because queuing for the toilet really teaches the true meaning of patience) and before staying at Arafah field. Intan and her husband used pampers and every time they peed, they immediately changed it.
Bring a sarong, so you can comfortably change a pamper in your tent when the toilet cannot be compromised.
Plastic bag and wet tissues
Bring some plastic bags for used pampers and some wet tissues. They always come in handy.
3. Do some sports as preparation for the Hajj
The key of the Hajj travel is that you need strong foot to walk. Three months before departure, Intan started doing gymnastics at home based on a YouTube guide. This can be done at any time without having to leave the house. Furthermore, two months before the departure, she walked 2 kilometers, three times a week and one month before the departure, she walked 2 kilometers every day.
4. Make a target and prioritize the list of worship that you will in Mecca
This is seriously fundamental, because whoever goes to Mecca, you probably will have a strong intention to carry out all the types of worship. For other terms, you will be an ambitious worshipper. How come? Because we believe that praying in the Prophet’s Mosque rewards 1000 times and being in Haram Land rewards 100,000 times.
Intan and her husband prioritized to complete compulsory rituals of Hajj and Umrah smoothly and without pain. As simple as that. In addition to the obligatory priorities and the pillars of Hajj and Umrah, they also had a list of Sunnah worship. The target of praying in the Prophet’s Mosque and the Grand Mosque was written there, but of course, it is not intensive until staying overnight or i’tikaf over there. Always remember to re-check your physical abilities to be able to prioritize the compulsory practices and do some light sunnah.
Hopefully these four tips can help you prepare the pilgrimage trip to Hajj (when being pregnant). I also hope that God will strengthen your Azzamto perform Hajj pilgrimage and straighten your intention to always be oriented to God in each of your worship.
Intan is an Indonesian who obtained her master’s degree in the Netherlands and now lives back home with her husband and daughter. She is a life-learner enthusiast and tourism analyst at the same time. She loves to talk about the meaning of life and will always be Tofan Hira’s Princess.
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