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Dealing with Car Sickness While Pregnant

Car sickness occurs when the body’s internal sense of balance and equilibrium is disturbed by the repeated motion of a moving car. Often referred to as motion sickness, it can also happen while traveling by plane or boat. Dealing with car sickness can be particularly bothersome for a pregnant woman – especially if she’s already suffering from morning sickness, which doesn’t require any movement at all to make her feel queasy and nauseous!


Can I Develop Car Sickness when Pregnant?

Being pregnant does not make it more likely that you’ll suffer from car sickness. Even if you’re experiencing morning sickness, if you haven’t had trouble with car sickness before you got pregnant, it’s possible that you won’t have to deal with car sickness when you are. On the other hand, while no one can really explain why, it’s believed that if you’ve always been susceptible to car sickness, you’ll probably have morning sickness during pregnancy – and this of course makes it more likely that you’ll have to deal with car sickness then as well. So whenever possible, either be the passenger or have someone else in the car with you who can drive if you suddenly don’t feel well.

Car Sickness Busters:

If you’re pregnant and have to deal with car sickness, there are a variety of helpful strategies you can try.

  1. Sit in the front seat rather than the back may make you less prone to nausea. If weather permits, keep the window open, so there’s always fresh air circulating. Keep your eyes looking forward on the horizon or a distant object, since focusing on something stable might help your inner balance. (Looking out the side window as the road whizzes by can be dizzying.) If you feel the need to close your eyes, go ahead (as long as you’re not driving!), but don’t lean your head on the headrest, as the constant vibrations might make you feel worse.
  2. Don’t try to read or do a crossword puzzle either, as these also could worsen nausea symptoms. Some people find it easier to deal with car sickness by driving rather than sitting in the passenger seat, but if you’re pregnant, and especially if you’re going on a long trip, you don’t want to be behind the wheel for too long. It’s also important to maintain good circulation while traveling.
  3. Take a rest stop every hour or so to stretch your legs, and during your time in the car, rotate your hands and feet every so often, which is good for blood circulation. (It may not directly help with car sickness, but wriggling your fingers and toes could be a good distraction!)

If you know you’re going to be hitting the road, don’t eat a heavy meal before leaving. Carry bottled water in the car at all times, and have some crackers and other healthy snacks with you in a travel “care package” as well.

Just in case dealing with car sickness gets the best of you, you should also keep some plastic bags and premoistened towelettes on hand. (Baby wipes can also do the trick.) For complete peace of mind, you might consider keeping a clean shirt in the car also. If nothing else works, you can try an acupressure wristband, which some people find helps with car sickness. And there are prescription and over-the-counter treatments for car sickness (like Dramamine, for example), but before taking any kind of medication, be sure to check with your health care provider to see which would be safe for you to take during pregnancy.

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