Travelling by car is an integral part of our lives. Whether you have to travel to work or attend a social event, or go for that long-awaited holiday with family and friends, you put that seat belt in place whenever you’re on the driver’s seat or in the passenger seat, and you’re off to your destination. You don’t think twice about this action, do you? But you may give a second thought to it now that you’re pregnant. While pregnant you may want to take the road so that you can halt whenever needed for restroom breaks or just to stretch your legs and get the circulation going, but is it safe to travel by car during pregnancy? Let’s find out!
Being pregnant does not mean that you should refrain from having fun and enjoying the good things in life. Going for long drives or taking short weekend breaks are certainly recommended to keep you in a happy state of mind. As a mother-to-be, you will certainly have the best in mind for your baby and you are not going to take a cross-country trip at this time. As long as you are able to take enough breaks and stretch your legs at regular intervals, there is no reason for you to not travel by car during pregnancy.
But you must take enough precautions for your baby’s safety and yours. Travelling in India can be tricky especially while moving away from highways and travelling on narrow, bumpy roads. Lack of amenities like hygienic restrooms and eating joints can make travel stressful for a pregnant mom. But a private car is better than taking the bus since you can take unscheduled stops and remain in control of your travel schedule.
That being said, if yours is a high-risk pregnancy or you have complications such as cervical incompetence, low lying placenta, or placenta previa, etc., it is better that you avoid travelling by car during pregnancy.
The following tips will help you if you are going to undertake travelling during early pregnancy in a car. If you remain comfortable through the trip, your baby will be comfortable too. it will help you to enjoy the time spent in the company of family and friends:
Everyone should wear seat belts while travelling by car, whether pregnant or not, as they are the single most effective way of saving lives in case of an accident. When you are pregnant, you are responsible for two lives and hence it becomes mandatory to follow this rule. The lap and shoulder belt combination is the safest type for pregnant women. The belt is placed across the lap, below the belly, thus avoiding any pressure on the baby. Ensure that the shoulder belt fits properly across the centre of your chest and shoulder area and it is never under your arm.
If you are driving or sitting on the passenger seat in front, make sure your belly is at a safe distance from the steering and the airbag. The impact of the airbag in case of an accident should never affect the baby in any way. Always maintain a distance of 10 inches to 1 foot between your breastbone from the dashboard to remain safe and keep your baby secure. Moving the seat back will help serve this purpose, especially as your tummy and the baby grow in size.
Although we regularly use car perfumes to liven up things and drive bad odours from the vehicle, it is necessary to be careful if you have a pregnant woman in the car. One should check the products for safety before using them in the car. Some perfumes can trigger irritation of the eyes, throat and skin. It can also initiate a vomiting sensation. Some car perfumes contain phthalates which can enter the bloodstream through inhalation and even absorption through the skin. In some cases, this could cause birth defects and hormonal anomalies. It is best to make minimum use of car perfumes and open the car windows to keep it well-ventilated.
It is a tricky situation changing a flat tire or an oil leak with a baby bump to take care of. Take the following steps if your car breaks down or there are any other emergencies:
In case of an unfortunate incident while driving, tell anyone who has arrived for help that you are pregnant. This is particularly important if you are in the early stages of pregnancy and the bump isn’t visible yet. Let the doctors know if you have an Rh-negative blood group so you can be treated accordingly.
Although your baby has enough cushioning in the form of the fluid around it, it is best to get yourself checked, even if you feel absolutely fine. The placenta can get separated partially from the uterus if you have suffered a powerful impact or jolt during the accident and you may not notice any visible symptoms. In case of bleeding or contractions after the accident, you should meet a doctor at the earliest.
If you have decided to travel by road then there are a few basic precautions you have to take for car safety during pregnancy. You will enjoy the trip and have total peace of mind during the journey. These precautions are as follows:
Although car travel provides a lot of freedom in terms of scheduling and stops for restroom breaks etc., do not push yourself if you do not feel up to it. Check if trains are available as they are an extremely convenient mode of transport and safe too. In case you have to travel by road, follow the instructions given above and give maximum priority to your safety and your baby’s safety during the journey.
Also Read: Air Travel During Pregnancy
This post was last modified on September 2, 2020 5:47 pm
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