Driving while pregnant: What to bear in mind
Pregnancy changes not only a woman’s body, but also her day-to-day life, as far as her former potential activities are concerned. One of these activities she needs to pay special attention to is driving.
According to a 2014 study, pregnant women are 42% more accident-prone during the second trimester of the pregnancy (Source: NCPI) As such, there is some specific advice pregnant women should follow, in order to ensure safe driving.
Seat belt and how to wear it properly
It goes without saying that seat belt is necessary and mandatory for all drivers. But, of course, it is more difficult for a pregnant woman to wear it. In order to wear it correctly, its upper part should go over the collarbone of your shoulder and down the center of your chest. The lower part of the belt should be under the abdomen and reach the thigh. Adjust your seat, so that the seat belt is not loose; it should be so tight that it can hold you in case of a collision. Of course, you may discuss this matter with your doctor, who can give you the appropriate advice and instructions for proper wearing of the seat belt and safe driving.
Airbags and seat position
Make sure that airbags are in working order, as – in combination with the seatbelt – they are the number-one way of protection in case of an accident. However, you have to adjust your seat position. What does that mean? Try to place your seat in such a distance, so that it is, firstly, safe for your driving experience, and secondly, so that your baby bump does not touch the steering wheel or the dashboard. Ideally, if the steering wheel can be adjusted, it would be best that it points at your chest, not your baby bump. The same applies for your distance from the front airbag. These small adjustments can ensure you a comfortable and safe driving experience.
Hydration and frequent stops
If you are heading off on a trip during your pregnancy, make sure you stay properly hydrated by consuming a lot of liquids: water and juice. Moreover, as it applies for all drivers, frequent stops every 2 hours, will significantly help you move and stretch. Bear in mind that during the last month of your pregnancy, driving is not recommended. Still, in case you drive and you are alone in the car, make sure you can easily access your mobile phone. Furthermore, consult your doctor about your position in the car and whether you should use a small pillow for your back.
Hormonal and psychological factors
Nobody doubts the hormonal changes a pregnancy causes, in combination with the physical ones. As a result, if you feel you are not able to drive, then don’t! For instance, during the first trimester, morning sickness could hinder driving and, thus, you may need to adjust your daily schedule. In any case, do not drive in case of sickness and call your doctor immediately, if you are involved in an accident.
Make sure you enjoy the months of your pregnancy even during driving! Proper information and communication with your doctor are the keys for staying safe.