Travelling during pregnancy: 6 road safety tips to follow

Going on a road trip while pregnant is completely safe, just make sure you follow these handy tips and get the go-ahead from your doctor before hitting the road.

Travelling during pregnancy 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 start the journey. Sitting in a car for long periods of time can cause your feet and ankles to swell and your legs to cramp. Fortunately, a little pre-planning can alleviate your discomfort so you have a more memorable road trip.

ALSO SEE: Dealing with muscular discomfort during pregnancy

Travelling by car during your pregnancy

Barend Smit, marketing director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options, 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. A 3-point seatbelt is the most effective. 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,” he explains.

Below are more tips for safe road travel while pregnant:

  1. Activate the airbag 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 and exhaustion.
  3. Make frequent stops, even if they’re just for a few minutes. A good rule is to stop for about five minutes after every hour of driving. Take a toilet break and stretch your legs for better blood circulation. This will also help you relax, and alleviate any backache you might be experiencing from sitting down in one position for too long.
  4. Take pillows with you that are specifically designed for your back during pregnancy. Ensuring 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 woman 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 your important numbers handy in case you need them.
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