10 Tips for Car Travel and Long Road Trips When Pregnant

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If you’ve found your way here, chances are you share our belief in the essential nature of road trips. Whether traveling for a vacation, a family emergency, or a work event, your time on the road gets a bit more challenging when you’re expecting.

Check out these helpful road trip tips for traveling when pregnant to make every moment of your long road trips easier because you’ll feel prepared for anything.

1. Check In With Your Doctor First

Getting your health-related questions answered by your primary care physician is always a good idea. They’ll provide advice based on your personalized health history.

You can also run your ideas by them to see what they think from a medical perspective. The call will also allow you to reschedule upcoming appointments if your road trip interferes with any.

2. Note Your Usual Symptoms

Every trimester has typical symptoms, but each pregnancy is different. Reflect on what you usually experience each day. If you get morning sickness, bring a sealable car sickness bag just in case. Anyone with heartburn should pack extra heartburn medication approved by their doctor. It’s an essential part of traveling when pregnant because only you know how you’ll need to treat your symptoms.

3. Bring Plenty of Fluids

Experts with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend drinking 64 to 96 ounces of water daily while pregnant. Maintaining that fluid intake while you’re at home is much easier, so bring extra water bottles for your time on the road to prevent accidental dehydration.

You could also fill an oversized reusable bottle to save space in the cooler. Some contain 32 ounces or more, so you won’t have to worry about refilling more than once or twice daily by getting an extra large bottle before your trip.

4. Map Your Bathroom Breaks

Keeping your water intake high means you’ll need to use the bathroom throughout your trip. This is especially true for anyone with an advanced pregnancy putting pressure on their bladder. Map your route and note places along the way where you can stop for breaks so you’re never far from a bathroom.

5. Research Emergency Care Options at Your Destination

Traveling when pregnant requires a bit of medical preparation. You never know when you might need to see a doctor while away from home. Map local emergency care clinics and hospitals around your destination to prepare for anything.

It’s also crucial to consider the financial implications of accessing health care away from your hometown. If you’re traveling in your third trimester and need an emergency C-section, you could pay the average $26,280 hospital bill because you’re out of network with your insurance. Double-check how to handle bills by contacting your insurance company before leaving home.

6. Keep Your Seatbelt On

Wearing your seatbelt above your hip bones is vital to staying safe on the road. Even if it feels awkward to use while you’re in your third trimester, always keep your seatbelt on if your car is in motion. Going without it could mean you and your pregnancy don’t make it home after a significant collision.

Try lifting your belly over the belt so it fits securely against your hips. If it wraps around the tip of your belly, it could result in additional physical injuries during a crash. Follow a YouTube video for visual guidance if you’re unsure how to wear it.

Sometimes, the edge of a seatbelt can irritate your belly, even through your shirt. Your pregnancy puts more pressure on the strap, resulting in more rubbing. Try wrapping the bottom part of your seatbelt with a thin jacket or a purchased fabric wrap to prevent this challenge while you’re on the road.

7. Use a Lumbar Pillow

Sitting in a car for multiple hours might result in lower back pain. There’s already pressure on your lower back from the weight of your pregnancy, so prevent additional discomfort with a lumbar pillow. It will fit snugly behind your pelvic bone to ensure proper posture and even weight distribution.

You’ll even get to use your lumbar pillow after your trip ends, too. They prevent back pain while you’re sitting on the couch, working at a desk, or eating dinner at the kitchen table. It might even make you more comfortable if you’re dealing with back pain resulting from stress. Find one in a color or pattern that fits your personality to enjoy using it throughout your pregnancy even more.

8. Plan a Few Stretch Breaks

Pregnant people are more at risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), which is responsible for 10% of maternal deaths in the U.S. alone. You can prevent blood clots from forming and growing by getting your heart pumping. Stop for occasional stretch breaks during your road trip to reduce your VTE risk. It’s helpful to do while away from home and even during your daily routine.

9. Save Money With Homemade Snacks

Road trips are an affordable way to travel, but they still cost money. You shouldn’t have to worry about your finances while traveling when pregnant. Save some cash by bringing homemade snack baggies that don’t include labor-inducing ingredients like pineapples. You’ll ensure you get the nutrients your body needs too, which is important when you’re more likely to encounter only fast food and candy on the road.

10. Don’t Forget Your Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are crucial during any trimester. Add them to your road trip packing list so you can still take them while you’re away from home. You could bring the entire container, especially if you restock your vitamins in the days before your trips.

Pill organizers are also helpful. They’ll point out which days you remembered to take your vitamins, which might keep you more on track than taking a daily vitamin from a collective jar. You could also set reminders on your phone so you never miss a dose.

Make Traveling When Pregnant Easier

Every road trip should feel manageable, especially while you’re pregnant. Use these tips to make traveling when pregnant a breeze. You’ll remember everything you need, stay comfortable on the road and have backup plans ready for emergencies.

Keep reading: Everything you need to know about travel during pregnancy