Pregnant and Traveling? What You Should Know

On the Road Again: Pregnant Women and Road Trips

Most pregnant women will drive and ride in cars throughout their pregnancy. With an uncomplicated pregnancy, there's no reason not to venture out in the car for a longer trip than just around town.

The most important thing to remember when traveling by car is -- buckle up. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the seatbelt or shoulder harness might harm the fetus. Studies have found that if pregnant women do get involved in an auto accident, their babies run a significantly greater risk of injury or death if the moms aren't wearing seatbelts [source: Curtis]. Make sure that your air bags work properly as well.

You should also know how to wear the seatbelt and shoulder harness correctly. Position the lap belt below your tummy, across the thighs and pelvic area. The shoulder harness should go over your shoulder rather than your neck. It should go diagonally between your breasts and off to the side of your tummy. Never put the shoulder belt under your arm. Have the lap belt and shoulder harness fit snugly, but not tightly.

Put the seat back far enough so that you're at least 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) from the airbag and dashboard. Don't worry too much if you have to brake suddenly. Your fetus is well insulated inside the womb due to the amniotic fluid that surrounds it. If you're in even a minor accident, however, visit your doctor to make sure there are no ill effects. In the latter months of pregnancy, if you no longer feel like driving, you might be more comfortable and safer in the back seat, if it has plenty of leg room.

Try to limit travel time to four hours a day, six at most -- assuming that you're aren't traveling every day, of course. Remember to stop frequently to walk around and stretch to keep the blood flowing.

Planning to fly? Find some pointers on the next page.