Bumps and bumpy roads – tips for traveling when pregnant By Jani Venter
A babymoon? Yes, that’s exactly what we need. So we decided to brave the Kalahari and Karoo summer heat for one last getaway, just my husband and I, before our little one is born. We packed our bags and headed off at a time most people scoffed at. A Kalahari road-trip in December? Do you know how hot the Karoo gets? But you're pregnant. You must be joking.
We were not.
I also received a lot of knowing glances from mommies who have had summer babies, reaching the peak of their pregnancy weight in flush-inducing temperatures. Combine the scorching sun of the South African desert with a big belly and swollen feet and you have a recipe for disaster. Or so we were warned.
But there we were. Packed and ready to go on our last road-trip as a couple – for a while anyway – and I was determined to make it work. So we loaded our car with enough water and snacks to feed a small village and headed off.
Driving was not a problem. Between frequent stops, comfy clothes, putting my feet up often and blasting the air-con, I was as happy as can be. The problem was once we arrived and wanted to go sight-seeing. We decided to do these sessions in bite-sized chunks and allocate a lot of time for sleeping – a win-win for both of us.
We found a few short-cuts and ways to make the trip easier.
- Try not to cover more than 500km per day. It makes for a comfortable drive, allows for a decent time of arrival and leaves enough time to stop at attractions on the way.
- Be prepared to squat. If you opt for the road less travelled, chances are you will not encounter petrol stations as often as your bladder needs it. Keep and extra roll of loo paper and a pack of feminine wipes in the car or in your handbag.
- A cooler box with ice was our saving grace. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as an ice-cold drink in sweltering temperatures. Don’t want to consume soft drinks? Coconut water is great substitute – it’s super refreshing, low in kilojoules and high in nutrients.
- Air-travel pillows aren’t only for planes – they work magic in the car too. Also keep a flat cushion close by in case your back starts aching.
- Stop every two hours. This was an order from my doctor. Walking around at regular intervals gets your blood flowing, preventing blood-clots. It sometimes even wards off restless leg syndrome.
- Swollen, plump feet? Put them up – either on the backseat when the car is moving or on the dashboard when the car has stopped.
- Comfortable clothes are a must-have. If you're doing a summer road-trip, if nothing else, get yourself a pair of maternity shorts as well as a tank top or two that has enough room for your belly. It makes a huge difference.
- If you take turns driving, use your time in the passenger seat to sleep. A lot. Pregnancy is exhausting – remember you’re growing a tiny human, so you’re entitled to a time-out.
Being pregnant is scary at times, and it’s daunting being far from home. But we needed this trip. There were times when my body was doing strange things and we wanted to turn the car around, but we decided to tackle each problem responsibly, without overreacting. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you feel odd, stop, take a walk, lie down or do a few breathing exercises. I’m glad we pushed through.
Our road-trip tally? Hours on the road: 47. Shooting stars: 22. Lions spotted: 3. Kilometres covered: 4 165. Pee breaks: 48. Highest temperature: 43˚C. Milkshakes consumed: 13. Happy hearts: 3.
A babymoon road-trip is wonderful, so if you have the opportunity to escape and spend some quality time with your special person, take full advantage.
For more pictures of our adventure, look up #kalaharikarooroadtrip and check the Cherry Melon Instagram account where I posted pictures throughout the trip.