Pregnancy can be such a delicate stage in your life. All aspects of your life – from diet to clothing to even posture – will be scrutinized.
This is with good reason, as you are now moving around for two people. Your safety, as well as that of your baby’s, is of utmost importance. With this, everything you do will be customized, to keep your baby away from harm.
This becomes a priority especially during the second and third trimesters when the bun in your oven gets bigger and bigger.
This is no different when driving – your pregnancy will call for extra precautions and some other differences in how you go about it.
According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the likelihood of getting into traffic accidents increases when a female becomes pregnant. Doctors have associated this with hormonal changes within the mother’s body.
This is not to say that you should altogether quit driving when you’re having a baby, but it’s a good idea to be extra safe. The number of accidents among pregnant women peaked for those within the first and second trimesters, while it started going down upon the third trimester.
This is very important to know, especially for women who have office or fieldwork. The good news is that, otherwise, the same researchers state that there is no reason for pregnant women to stop taking the wheel.
There are some considerations to be made when you’re pregnant, though. Seeing as your body is going to behave differently, whether, in terms of hormones or mechanical function, you will have to make some adjustments when driving.
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5 Driving Safety Tips For Pregnant Women
We’ll talk about the best ways to adjust to pregnancy while driving, to keep you and your baby safe. Whether you are a soon-to-be independent mother or prefer to pull your weight around the house even while pregnant, you may find these tips useful.
Wear Your Seatbelt Properly
When you’re pregnant, you will have to make sure that you adjust it, so you don’t end up strapping it too tightly around your belly. Otherwise, this might cause discomfort to your baby while inside your womb.
The best way for you to strap your seatbelt on is by wearing the horizontal strap underneath your belly, towards your lower abdomen.
This way, you give yourself enough stability without compromising your child’s position. At the same time, strap the diagonal belt in the middle of your chest.
You will need a lot more space when driving. Make sure that there is enough leg room between the dashboard and your seat so that the steering wheel does not squeeze your belly.
You can also lean back while driving to increase space. This way, you can also relieve some of the pressure on your lower back.
It also helps to lodge a driving cushion or a towel that has been rolled up between your lower back and your seat. This will provide enough support for your back, especially for long drives.
Take Frequent Breaks
When you’re pregnant, your lower extremities will be under more pressure, due to the weight that you carry. Consider this also when you’re driving.
If you stay in one position for too long, you may end up restricting blood flow to your feet. Stop every now and then so you can stimulate blood flow in your legs and feet.
This will also help keep your legs from falling asleep and causing that “pins and needles” sensation.
You can wriggle your ankles, toes, and feet, or step out of the car and stretch every hour or so.
According to the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA), airbags are perfectly safe for pregnant women who drive. Make sure to check whether the airbags in your car work regularly.
While your seatbelt will keep you from lurching forward, the airbags will minimize the impact if you ever encounter an accident. It always helps to have an extra layer of protection.
Make sure, however, that there is enough space between you and the compartment, in case it suddenly activates for no reason.
If you do get in an accident, what do you do? It’s a great idea to have contingencies in place for instances like these.
If you can, bring your pregnancy record, so that you can get treatment immediately after an accident. Your record should contain emergency contacts, medical information, and the results of your tests.
Furthermore, when you get in an accident, ALWAYS get checked. You may not feel any pain, but any traffic incidents may affect your baby. Traffic accidents have also been known to induce prenatal labor. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
Pregnancy shouldn’t prohibit you from driving. By following a few simple precautions, you can go about your daily activities while keeping your baby safe from harm.