Tips for safe road trips when pregnant

Travelling while you’re pregnant can sometimes be tricky. Long road trips can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re further along in your pregnancy.

If you plan to travel, it’s best to do so before 28 weeks. However, as with any mode of travel, it’s important to chat to your health care provider before you hit the road. Sitting in a car for long periods of time can cause your feet and ankles to swell and your legs to cramp. However, with a little pre-planning you can alleviate this discomfort and have a memorable road trip.

Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions, says his most important tip is to make sure you’re buckled up. “Seatbelts can be awkward when you’re pregnant, but it’s still important to buckle up while travelling,” he points out.  “A three-point seatbelt is the most effective seatbelt. Pull the lap part of the strap across your thighs and hips, as you normally would, placing it under your bump. Don’t place the belt across your belly because this could put unnecessary pressure on your baby. Finally, wear the shoulder strap towards the middle of your chest, pulled off to the side of your bump.”

Below are a few more tips for safe road travel while pregnant:

  1. Activate the air bag in front of your seat, but make sure that the distance between you and the airbag is the maximum possible distance. This is easier to achieve if you’re in the passenger seat. However, if you’re driving, stay as far away from the steering wheel as you can without compromising your driving ease. If possible, tilt the steering wheel up and away from your belly.
  2. Bring enough water with you for the trip, even if it means extra toilet stops! Staying hydrated will help you and your baby feel better during the drive. If you start feeling dehydrated, you could experience headaches, nausea, cramps, exhaustion, etc.
  3. Make frequent stops, even if they’re just for a few minutes. After about every hour or so, you should stop for about five minutes. Take a toilet break and stretch out for better blood circulation. This will also help you relax, and it will alleviate any backache you’re facing because of sitting down in one position for too long.
  4. Take pillows with that are specifically designed for your back during pregnancy. Ensuring that your back is comfortable throughout the trip will help prevent backaches.
  5. As your pregnancy progresses, avoid taking long road trips on your own. It’s always important to ensure your car is in good working order but perhaps even more so when you’re a pregnant lady travelling on your own. Make sure all car services are up to date and your car is in good working order.
  6. Some motor plans and insurance providers provide roadside assistance should you experience any troubles while on the road. Before leaving home, make sure you have all important numbers handy in case you need them.