You asked a question about road-tripping it when you’re pregnant. And it sounds like you’re about 6 weeks away from your due date and wondering if I have any tips for you. And there are definitely some things that you should consider. The first thing you should do before planning a trip is talk with your OB provider, and they’ll be able to make sure that you’re medically stable and able to go on a trip. They’ll also talk about your gestational age at the time of travel – both going to your destination and returning. For example, if you were going to go somewhere when you were 36 weeks, but it was going to be an extended stay, and you were going to still be on vacation around your 37th or 38th week, your doctor may advise against it, because you’re getting really close to your due date. Another thing to consider is that if your doctor gives you the green light, you should talk with them about obtaining your prenatal record and taking that with you in case you have to seek medical attention on your trip. Also research hospitals the area, both in route and around the area that you’re going to be staying in in case you have to go be seen for whatever reason.
Another important thing to do is drink a lot of water. Now that sounds counterintuitive when you’re going on a road trip, because most people say that they don’t want to drink anything so that they won’t have to stop. But not drinking water and not getting out and moving frequently are both extra bad for pregnant women. Dehydration can cause contractions, and so obviously that’s something that you will want to avoid. But then also, you need to get up and move around frequently. You don’t want to go for longer than an hour or 2 before getting out and starching your legs and walking around, because this helps to prevent blood clots, which pregnant women are already at higher risk for.
Also avoid going on trips that are longer than 6 hours in duration total during one day. Sitting in the car can just make you extra sore. Sometimes women actually start to contract when they’ve been sitting in the car for a long time. When you are sitting in the car, make sure that you’re pumping your calves and stretching your feet as much as possible to keep that blood flowing. Also make sure that you’re wearing your seatbelt at all times and that you’re wearing it properly. The shoulder strap should go over your shoulder in the middle of your chest, and the bottom strap should be below your baby bump and touch your hip bones on either side.
Warning signs of complications (like preterm labor) include lower abdominal cramping, lower back ache, abdominal tightening, pressure, leaking of fluid, vaginal bleeding, and an increase in discharge, especially if it’s associated with pain. Now, warning signs associated with blood clots include sore, tender calves on one side or the other, maybe it might hurt behind your knee or up in the groin area, one leg might be more swollen than the other, and especially difficulty breathing (that would be obvious). All of those things warrant urgent medical attention so someone can check you out and determine if further investigation or treatment is necessary for issues like preterm labor or a blood clot. If you have more questions for me in the future, feel free to ask them on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IntermountainMoms, and recommend us to your friends and family too.