Pregnant and travelling by car? Read this first!

Simply because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you will not travel. However, car travel during pregnancy, like practically everything else, has its own set of rules. This article deals with the simple things you can do to make travel more comfortable in a car when you are pregnant.

Getting in and out of cars

While most of us take getting in and out of cars for granted, pregnant women have to be very careful not to put any stress on the body. Master the correct way of getting in and out before you decide to take a trip.

To get in – When entering the car, bend your knees slightly and slide in backside first. Keep your knees pressed together as you lift your legs into the car and swing them around to the front.

To get out – To exit, twist slightly toward the door with your knees touching each other. Open the door — or, even better, have someone open it for you — and swing your legs out onto the ground, keeping your knees together. Place them firmly on the ground and haul yourself up. If someone has opened the door for you, ask that person to hold your hand when you get up, or take support from the seat.

Adjust the seat

Back pain during pregnancy is a major problem and sitting in a car for long hours can give a pretty bad one whether or not you are pregnant. Move the seat as far back as you can and have a soft pillow to support your lower back when you sit. You can keep adjusting the back of the seat to your convenience.

Make sure the headrest is at the level of the back of your head and not higher or lower near your neck.

Buckle up

Wear your seatbelt, whether you are in the front seats or the rear seats. The shoulder belt has to pass between your breasts and the lap belt needs to be below your belly. This is to make sure that the lap belt does not exert pressure on your belly in the event of a sudden braking.

Even if it is a bother sometimes, wear your seatbelt at ALL times without letting it slacken.

Airbags

Airbags are a safety device and should NOT be turned off. A lot of people think that in the event of a crash, an airbag will do more harm than good, because sudden deployment may cause uterine or placental rapture.

However, if you are wearing your seatbelt correctly, and sit far enough away from the airbag, chances of getting hurt by it are minimised. It is a tried and tested safety device and multiple studies recommend pregnant women to not deactivate it but be mindful about precautions.

Maintain Blood Flow in Your Limbs

When you are in a car, you remain in a confined position for far too long. Therefore, it is very important that you take breaks every 90 – 120 minutes. Stop the car and get out of it. Stretch your legs and walk around a little to get the blood flowing again. Pregnant women are at higher risk for deep vein thrombosis and swelling in the ankles. Taking a break every so often and walking around a little (on safe, flat surfaces, of course) can go a long way in preventing these issues.

Air-conditioning Rules

Whether or not you are pregnant, and especially if you are pregnant, it is always a better idea to ventilate the car before you roll up the windows and turn on the air-conditioning. Once you do turn on the AC, keep drinking water to hydrate yourself. The AC essentially creates a dry atmosphere inside the car and the only way to retain moisture is to drink adequate water.

Also, you might feel slightly dizzy if you are in an airconditioned car for too long so remember to roll down the windows and get some fresh air whenever you feel like it.

Keep a Handy Kit

Fill a bag with snacks, fluids and emergency medication as well as emergency contact numbers when you are in a car. If you are unsure about rest stops on the way, it is useful to have adequate water and food handy. Keep your doctor on speed dial in case you need assistance.

Also keep wet tissue handy. Sometimes, in spite of a running AC, you might start having hot flashes, and wet tissues are very helpful in giving relief. Use it behind your ears, on your neck and at your temples for quick relief.

Be a Passenger

Driving when you are pregnant is generally not recommended. While it is not entirely banned, it is believed that being a passenger reduces both risk and stress for pregnant women. The best seat for pregnant women is on the rear but you can sit in the front too, provided you push back your seat and buckle up.

If you are driving, adjust the steering so it is not directly in line with your belly and adjust the seat to your most comfortable position. This may vary from woman to woman, and even from day to day for one woman. What works today might not work tomorrow, so keep adjusting till you are absolutely comfortable.

Car Perfumes

Car perfumes are heavily synthetic in most cases and these may affect you or the baby. Ideally, remove the perfume from the car but if you are looking for a car that smells good on the inside, use homemade fresheners. Essential oils in felt, baking soda or cotton always work. You can also use DIY potpourri or coffee beans instead.

Feature Image Source: mumsgrapevine.com.au

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