How to Prevent Motion Sickness in Pregnancy

Pregnancy can bring lots of excitement and expectation. And yet, at times, the expectant mother goes through hell. There are changes to contend with: physical, emotional and hormonal. But can pregnancy induce or worsen motion sickness? 

Are You More Likely to Suffer Motion Sickness During Pregnancy?

Yes, you are most likely to suffer from motion sickness during pregnancy, especially if you used to struggle with motion sickness before your pregnancy. However, if this is the first time you are experiencing motion sickness (especially if you are in the first trimester), then it may be related with morning sickness; the line between the two is very thin.

How to Prevent Motion Sickness During Pregnancy

With motion sickness, pregnancy traveling is a disaster. The following are safe and effective remedies.

  • Eat a light meal one or two hours before you embark on your journey. Choose to eat light non-greasy meals or snacks.
  • Small sips of water (preferably chilled) will keep nausea at bay during travel.
  • Avoid activities such as reading and writing, and instead, opt to sit back and focus on the journey or better yet, listen to music that soothes you.
  • Make sure you sit in a well-ventilated area where you can get a constant supply of fresh air.
  • Always aim to sit in front of the car when traveling, or if you are using air travel, choose a seat near the wings of the plane.
  • If you are traveling by boat, the decks will be your friend. Gazing at the horizon is good.

There are also special acupressure wristbands that work by applying pressure on certain points of your wrist to prevent nausea. They are absolutely safe although they don’t work for everyone.

You can also manage your motion sickness in pregnancy by taking medicines that are certified safe for use during pregnancy. Just check with your doctor first.

  • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or dimenhydrinate can work effectively if taken 30 minutes before the journey.
  • Scopolamine and meclizine are effective drugs to take if you are embarking on a long journey because their effect is long-lasting. Scopolamine is a patch that should be applied at least 12 hours before traveling.
  • Vitamin B6 supplements work efficiently to reduce pregnancy-induced motion sickness.

More Tips for Travel During Pregnancy

The second trimester is the safest time to travel because your body has adjusted to the hormonal changes that occur during the first trimester. Here are more tips that will help make you more comfortable during your trips:

Car Travel

  • Take frequent bathroom breaks when traveling over long distances. You can also use this time to stretch your legs. Walking will increase blood circulation in your legs and reduce pressure on your bladder.
  • Wear your seat belt correctly. The lower belt should go across your upper thighs, and the upper belt should run between your breasts and up over your shoulder, not the abdomen.
  • Make sure your airbags are in proper working condition and slide back your seat as far as possible from them, creating a distance of 25 cm between your chest and the airbag.

Airline Travel

  • Fasten your seat belt across your lap. Make sure you have it properly secured in case of turbulence.
  • When booking a flight, find out their requirements for pregnant women. Some airlines do not allow women who are more than 35 weeks into pregnancy to fly. Others will need to see documentation such as your expected date of delivery.
  • Take frequent bathroom breaks. This helps you to exercise your legs and increase blood circulation.
  • Choose an aisle seat to make movement easier.

Do not travel by air if:

  • Your doctor has advised against it.
  • You have a risky pregnancy – e.g. you are likely to go into preterm labor.
  • You have already reached the 36th week of pregnancy.

Ship Travel

It is generally safe to travel by ship during pregnancy although it significantly increases chances of getting motion sickness. Pregnancy travel with this means needs much care. Here are a few tips to make your trip more comfortable and of course much safer.

  • Carry medication that has been proven safe for treating women with motion sickness in pregnancy.
  • Make sure there are ports-of-call along your route where you can access medical help if the need arises.
  • Make sure the cruise line has a doctor on board in case of an emergency.
  • Check with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the cruise line has passed all the safety and health inspections required before you book.
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