Mothers-to-be, especially first time mothers, worry about everything from Wi-Fi signals to standing too near the microwave… even though 99% of the time these worries are completely unfounded. Perhaps oddly then, the increased safety risks of driving while pregnant often don’t crop up in the usual baby brain neuroses.
Driving is an unavoidable aspect of day to day life whether it’s to get to work or for the dreaded school run – chances are you’ll have to drive whilst pregnant. It’s absolutely fine to drive while pregnant, but there are a few simple tips you can follow to help keep you and bump safe when you’re out on the road.
Wear a seatbelt
First and foremost, you must wear a seatbelt. It’s the law unless you’ve been given a medical exemption by a doctor. It is advised you wear your seatbelt underneath your bump as opposed to across it. Yes, it can be very uncomfortable and it will undoubtedly diminish your already weakened bladder control – but protecting you is the first step in protecting your baby. If it’s really too uncomfortable, there are gadgets to adapt seatbelts for pregnant women which may well be worth a look at.
Comfort is key
Unless your doctor or midwife recommends otherwise, there is no legal cut off point for driving while pregnant. Provided you can sit comfortably and see as you would be able to without your bump – you can continue to drive for as long as you feel comfortable. This will obviously vary from woman to woman with some women preferring to avoid driving at all due to discomfort and other women who even drive themselves to the hospital!
Don’t drive whilst experiencing symptoms
Particularly during the first trimester, you may well be struggling with common symptoms like nausea or exhaustion. Wherever possible, try to avoid driving while suffering with symptoms. Studies have found that driving when drowsy significantly increases your chance of an accident and have likened it to the same risk levels as driving drunk. It’s not worth the risk – if you’re ever unsure, speak to your midwife or doctor.
Avoid long journeys
Especially later on in your pregnancy it’s best to avoid long journeys where possible, but sometimes they’re unavoidable. Always make sure you’re stopping regularly to stretch and keep any aches from building up. It’s recommended you stop at least every 90 minutes – if your bladder will last that long! Stock up with fluids and snacks for your journey to keep you hydrated and energised. Avoid travelling alone as your due date approaches and keep your phone on you with plenty of battery should you need it in an emergency.
Keep your car in good condition
Finally, keep your car well maintained throughout your pregnancy by following the service schedule to minimise your chances of your car breaking down. There’s few things worse than being stranded on the side of a road – but being stranded on the side of the road while pregnant is definitely one of them!
Have the above considerations about driving while pregnant ever crossed your mind? Do share in a comment below.
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