When it's time to hang up the “Baby On Board” sign up in your car, it's important to be aware that driving while pregnant may require a few adjustments to maintain both comfort and safety. Driving while pregnant isn't unusual, particularly for mommies who already have children and need to get around town.
Many women drive up to 30 weeks into their pregnancy, and then only elect to stop because fitting behind the wheel just isn't possible anymore. By making only a few alterations to your regular driving routine, you can keep both you and baby happy while you're in the driver's seat.
Most doctors will confirm that driving while pregnant is perfectly safe as long as precautions are taken, so there's no need for you to give up your freedom just yet. However, you may find that longer drives may require more bathroom breaks as your baby grows. All in all, staying safe behind the wheel with a bump is a relatively easy process.
1) Always wear your seat belt correctly.
Many women worry that wearing a seat belt could cause potential harm to their unborn child. However, in the case of an accident, going seat belt free is actually more dangerous.
The key is to wear your seat belt under your baby bump, firm across your upper thighs, rather than pulled tight across your belly. This will keep you in place in a fender-bender and baby from being harmed.
2) Give yourself plenty of room.
Many cars are equipped with driver's side airbags now, there is some concern for the safety of your child on impact. However, many experts agree that injuries were because of failure to wear a seat belt properly or being too close to the steering wheel.
For maximum safety, give your tummy plenty of room by adjusting the seatback with a slight tilt up. You will need to continue to adjust this as your baby grows.
3) Take breaks during long drives.
Any mother knows, being pregnant can make you tired, and being a tired driver is dangerous. Additionally, you are more at risk for blood clots and deep vein thrombosis by sitting in one position for too long a time.
Be sure to take regular breaks, have a quick walk, and do a few stretches to keep yourself alert and healthy. Wearing circulatory socks can also help to soothe aching legs.
4) Be aware of what to do in an accident.
Not only accidents with totaled cars result in injuries. Even the most minor of crashes can cause injury, and as you're pregnant, you will want to get checked out by a doctor immediately. Be sure to get a full accident and injury report from both the police and the hospital, as you may need it later for pursuing a legal case with an accident attorney or for court.
Pay attention to any symptoms afterwards, such as stiff neck or additional aches and pains, and alert your doctor if they become troublesome.
5) Be prepared for emergencies.
Unleash your inner Girl Scout and have an “essentials” kit in the back of your car at all times. Having a driver's kit in the car is a great thing to do for anyone, but is particularly essential for pregnant women.
Be sure to have a first aid kit, flashlights, non-perishable snacks and drinks, blankets, an extra cell phone battery, and anything else you might need should you become stranded.
There's always plenty to plan and do when you're pregnant, so having access to a car is generally important for expecting mothers. Follow safety precautions, and should you be involved in an accident, be sure you get seen to by a doctor right away.
When it comes to the health of your unborn child, it's always better safe than sorry!