You’re pregnant but are still dreaming of a road trip with your family? You’re wondering whether it’s wise to take the road during your pregnancy? You’re worried about possible contraindications? These are all normal questions to ask as you head off to your chosen holiday destination. Little Guest has investigated to help you sort out what is true and what is not, and what precautions you should take before embarking on a road trip while your baby is still growing in your belly. Explanations month by month, advice and hotels adapted to your needs… follow the guide!
Let’s cut the suspense short, the car is not the best means of transport when you are pregnant. However, it is perfectly possible to take to the road if your pregnancy is going well. Although the concentration required for safe driving and the jolts caused by the journey can increase certain common inconveniences (fatigue, nausea, bloating, etc.), the car remains an appropriate means of transport when you are pregnant… at least until the third trimester of pregnancy. We’ll explain everything a little further down!
We might as well say it straight away, pregnancy specialists, gynaecologists, midwives, obstetricians and others are categorical: no scientific evidence has shown that a car journey can cause problems during pregnancy or lead to premature delivery. So, while driving does not seem to have any impact on possible complications, it is obviously advisable to take a few precautions before you hit the road:
Driving for hours to your holiday destination can make you tired. Sitting down is not at all comfortable and we all tend to strain our legs when we drive. Between this excessive strain on the leg muscles, the jolts caused by bumpy roads, and the stress of the journey in general, your uterus can be a bit of a mess. This can lead to increased contractions, which can be quite unpleasant in the long run.
The risk of spontaneous miscarriage is highest during the first trimester of pregnancy – about one in five pregnancies – and the inconveniences inherent in any pregnancy (nausea, fatigue, etc.) are most noticeable. Driving at this time may increase your discomfort and is therefore not recommended, even though your health is not at risk!
During the third trimester, and more particularly the last month and a half of pregnancy, the risk of premature delivery increases and the contractions become longer and more painful. It is therefore easy to understand that this is not the ideal time to take to the road either, especially as it would be a shame to find yourself on the motorway when your water breaks.
As you can see, the best time to travel by car is during the second trimester, more precisely between the 12th and 26th week of pregnancy. Nausea and fatigue will be a thing of the past and the risk of premature delivery will still be very low!
Everything is ready for the big departure but you are afraid to forget something important? No problem, Little Guest has put together a short list of essentials that you should definitely pack. Good to know: this list also works if you want to fly during your pregnancy or travel by train while pregnant.
Don’t forget that self-medication is strongly discouraged during pregnancy, so if you hesitate to take any medication, contact your GP! Finally, find out about the medical facilities near your holiday destination (emergency room, obstetrics service, nearest doctor, etc.), this will avoid stress and allow you to enjoy your stay in peace.
This is it; a magnificent adventure is starting and it will last 9 months; 9 months during which your life will be made up of small joys, great fears and, above all, many surprises. For the moment, nothing really changes, neither physically nor psychologically. You may experience some morning sickness, but this is completely normal and does not pose any risk. You can therefore travel without question because it is not dangerous for your baby’s development.
From the second month of pregnancy, you enter an important period; the first organs of your embryo start to form. At the same time, the embryo begins its journey and settles on the endometrium (the lining of the womb). This is a time that can affect your behaviour as the pregnancy hormones double every day! It is therefore quite normal, for example, for you to feel tired or irritated. Nausea, acid reflux and heartburn increase and it is likely that mood swings have started to appear. The risk of miscarriage is still high but you can travel by car if you take the necessary precautions.
The third month of pregnancy is the time of the first ultrasound! The little embryo officially becomes a foetus and the risk of miscarriage decreases considerably. On the other hand, nausea and vomiting, as well as the urge to urinate, may intensify. This is because your uterus is growing and putting constant pressure on your bladder. Car journeys can therefore be quite difficult, so allow plenty of time to take as many breaks as you need. Also, note that the third month of pregnancy lends itself perfectly to various types of prenatal massage that may help you relax and enjoy this joyous time!
You are now in your 4th month of pregnancy and your belly is slowly starting to round out to make room for your growing baby. Normally, the nausea has disappeared and you have left the fatigue behind you! You’re in great shape and that’s good! Why not celebrate with a few days of holiday, away from the daily grind? It’s the ideal time to take a breath of fresh air and prepare yourself for the rest of your pregnancy! A few precautions, however: hydrate regularly and take regular breaks to stretch your legs and regulate your blood circulation.
The 5th month of pregnancy has arrived and your baby is now ready to be heard, or rather, understood! Kicking, punching… he never stops reminding you of his presence in your now well-rounded belly! Fortunately for you, his movements tire him out and he rests most of the day (between 18 and 20 hours a day). The problem is that you don’t have the same rhythm as he does and this restlessness can lead to great fatigue. Even if you love driving, consider leaving the wheel to someone else, at least from time to time, so that you can rest on the passenger side. Don’t hesitate to take naps and sleep whenever you can, as your baby’s health obviously depends on yours.
Your belly is getting bigger and bigger and you are suffering from temporary hot flashes and unusual sweating? It’s normal, the 6th month of pregnancy is the time when your body adapts to the growing foetusand this can cause many hormonal changes. In everyday life, and especially when driving, remember to hydrate regularly and wear loose, light clothing that will give you maximum freedom of movement and comfort. During the journey, remember to take breaks more regularly than before. Take the opportunity to hydrate, eat a small snack and take a few steps to avoid the feeling of heavy legs and to promote blood circulation.
Here you are in your 7th month of pregnancy, you’ve come a long way! Even though childbirth is starting to settle in a corner of your mind, there is nothing to stop you from continuing to travel! Indeed, even though your baby is becoming more and more sensitive to what is happening around him, he is completely safe. Are you, on the other hand, beginning to be a little embarrassed by the size of your belly and fearing shocks? This is normal and it may be time for you to let someone else drive for good; an opportunity for you to sit back and enjoy the scenery. As with all forms of transport, remember to fasten your seatbelt under your abdomen to avoid any risk of impact. As in previous months, remember to walk as regularly as possible to keep your legs, ankles, feet and toes working.
This is it, you’re almost there! You’re getting close to giving birth, and it could well be premature from the beginning of the 8th month. To find out whether you are fit to travel during the 8th and 9th months, whether by plane, train or car (over long distances), ask your doctor or midwife who has been following you since the beginning of your pregnancy for advice. If it is advisable to avoid travelling during this period, you are the only one to decide and you have every right to do so! As labour can start at any time during the last few weeks, we recommend that you limit your travel to short trips that allow you to get home or to the hospital easily.
A true luxury cocoon nestled in the heart of Courchevel, Le Chabichou ***** is absolutely perfect for expectant mothers looking for peace and relaxation. Easily accessible by car, it guarantees direct access to the Trois-Vallées ski area and offers sumptuous views of the surrounding mountains.
This charming chalet, opened in 1963 and completely renovated in 2019, is equally suitable for summer and winter holidays. With a superb spa, a double Michelin-starred restaurant and kids’ clubs for young children and teenagers, the Chabichou is ideal for an enchanted break in the mountains.
Head to Belgium to discover an intimate address in the heart of the flat country. Head for Walloon Brabant to discover the Dolce la Hulpe ****. This hotel curled up in luxurious nature, at the edge of UNESCO-registered Fôret de Soignes, offers its guests a successful marriage of luxury, comfort and authenticity. Nestled only 29 km from Brussels, this hotel is easily accessible by car!
Country walks and gastronomic dining experience are on the menu, but its mostly its Spa Cinq Mondes that catches the highlights. Its wide range of cares, including massages and Japanese, Balinese and Indians rituals, is ideal for smooth pregnancy treatments. Its heated pool, its sauna and its hammam complete the offer of this elegant and fully-equipped resort. The Dolce la Hulpe is the ideal place to enjoy the Belgian countryside and live your pregnancy in peace.
The Hôtel Chais Monnet & Spa ***** promises the most relaxing stay in Western France. Stretch your legs and get pampered as much as you want in this high-end wellness-oriented resort. Manicures, special treatment cares or sauna will relax you from the fatigue of the trip so you can drown in a soothing and voluptuous feeling. The bucolic setting of the town of Cognac suits perfectly for a more laid-back rythm of life made of walks along the Charente river, visits to la Rochelle and Rochefort or idleness on the pool’s sunbeds.
Indeed, at Little Guest we know that pregnancy can sometimes be quite tiring and that is exactly why this hotel is ideal for pregnant women. Sometimes, nothing better than to cut from daily stress to fill the tank of harmony in these constantly-evolving moments. The Hôtel Chais Monnet & Spa ***** is easily accessible by car and boasts with amazing activities both for those expecting a happy event as well as children, on the verge of endless fun at the resort’s kids-club.
Little Guest wishes you a pleasant pregnancy and an unforgettable holiday!
Guillaume, 27 years old, travel enthusiast, from Paris