8 Safety Driving Tips for Pregnant Woman
Driving while pregnant: It’s not exactly the status quo, is it?
Then again, expecting moms get used to adjusting all areas of their lives to accommodate their pregnancy. After all, you’re carrying precious cargo.
But driving is an issue that most pregnant moms question at one point or another. Obviously, pregnant moms have to drive. But there are a few things you should know about driving while pregnant.
Here are 8 safety driving tips for pregnant women.
1. Listen to your doctor
In almost every case, it’s safe to drive while pregnant. But if your doctor tells you otherwise, listen. If you’re at risk for fainting or ordered to bedrest for the baby’s safety and your own, you should not get behind the wheel. This is too important to leave to chance. In this case, rely on your loved ones to get you from point A to point B. And if you don’t have anyone to drive you around, take a taxi.
Even if your doctor hasn’t ordered you not to drive, there are a few times when you may want to avoid getting behind the wheel. If you’re feeling exceptionally nauseous or tired, avoid driving, especially long distances.
2. Adjust your seat
Ideally, your baby bump should be about 10” away from the steering wheel. You can also tilt the steering wheel upwards, so it’s not pointing directly at your belly (and the baby). This will help keep the baby safe in the event you’re in a car accident.
3. Wear a seat belt
Many expecting moms fear that the seat belt will cause a dangerous situation in an accident because of where it sits on the belly. In reality, this fear isn’t completely unfounded, but wearing a seat belt is still much safer than not wearing one. To keep the baby as safe as possible, keep the seat belt positioned low (under your belly). And the shoulder belt should sit at the middle of your chest. For the safest positioning in a crash, consider products that position the seatbelt in the optimal place and have been crashed tested for safety.
4. Take plenty of breaks
If you’re going to be driving a long distance, cut yourself some slack and take as many breaks as you need. There’s a good chance you’ll need more bathroom breaks when you’re pregnant, especially because you’ll be hydrating well, but you should also take some time to stretch your legs and move around. The movement is good to keep your blood flowing, which is good for you and baby.
5. Stay hydrated and well-fed
When you’re pregnant, it’s never a good idea to go long stretches without food or water. You want to keep your blood sugar stable, so bring snacks. And good hydration is essential to good health for baby and mama, so you’ll also want to bring water. If your blood sugar dips, you could enter a dangerous health situation that could result in a crash. Avoid getting behind the wheel until you’ve eaten something and have some water on hand.
6. Know what to do if you’re in a collision
Even if you’re in a minor fender bender, you’ll want to get checked out to ensure the baby is okay. The doctor should check for the baby’s heartbeat and movement. You should also know that pregnant women who have been in car accidents are at greater risk for premature labor, so it’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible. If nothing else, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes with knowing everything is okay.
7. Minimize night driving
This may seem like an extreme measure, but the fact remains that night driving is more dangerous than day driving. Visibility is greatly reduced at night, and this leaves you more susceptible to getting into a car accident. Even if your night vision is impeccable, visibility is still reduced, and you still have to deal with drivers who may have more impaired function. At night, there’s also a greater chance of encountering drivers who have been drinking. So it’s best to limit night driving whenever possible.
8. Don’t drive while in labor
We’ve all heard those crazy stories where a mom drove herself to the hospital during labor. But this can be extremely dangerous. In truth, you never know how long your labor is going to last. This is especially true if it’s your first child, but it’s also true for every pregnancy. For as many stories as you’ve heard about a mom driving herself to the hospital, you’ve probably heard too about a mom going into labor in the car. Imagine what would happen if that mom was driving.
If you’re going into labor and can’t wait for someone to drive you, call a cab or an ambulance (especially if it’s a high-risk pregnancy). Driving may seem like your only option, but you should know that it’s an extremely dangerous option.
If you do decide to get behind the wheel when you’re having contractions, pull over if they get intense. You can call for help and continue with your labor without risk of causing an accident that could harm you and your baby.
If you’re pregnant, the good news is that you don’t have to make major changes to your driving habits. But there are a few things you can do to help keep you and baby safer.