The precious time of pregnancy in a woman’s life brings along tremendous excitement and some first time possible concerns. Especially while pregnant there are additional safety considerations that are crucial for the well-being of you and your unborn baby while on the road. There’s no reason not to drive as usual – sensibility and simply taking it easy are essential. Here are a few considerations and precautions to assist those driving during their first pregnancy:
- Wear your seatbelt lap belt across your hip bones or upper thighs; not across your belly. Adapt your sitting position so the belt crosses your shoulder without cutting into your neck and position the shoulder harness between your breasts.
- Ensure the car you drive has airbags, and it’s recommended that expectant mothers keep at least 12 inches of clearance between the front airbag and their belly. Pillows or cushions should not be used to shorten this clearing distance.
- Adjust the steering wheel, or consider installing an adjustable one to extend the steering wheel out or push it further in as needed.
- For higher vehicles that are difficult to get in and out of, keep a wide step stool handy.
Did You Know?
Playing relaxing music will keep your nerves soothed and anxiety levels lower. There are CD’s made for expectant mothers with music by Mozart and Beethoven.
- When possible, drive at quieter times of day with less traffic on the roads. Because of the need for more bathroom breaks and the possible sudden onset of nausea, if you have the luxury of choice try to avoid higher congested times such as rush hour.
- Plan your route ahead of time. Avoid getting caught in construction zones with significant delays, or storm fronts sweeping in. Keep updated with local weather and traffic construction sites or satellite stations before venturing off on unfamiliar or longer routes.
- Avoid dehydration and low blood sugar while on the road. Take water or juice and keep high protein snacks or fruit in the car.
- Invest in a GPS navigation system and always take your cell phone and battery charger with you.
- It’s a smart idea, pregnant or not, to keep a ‘Survival Kit’ and blankets in the trunk.
- Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and back during longer trips.
- Avoid driving through places where medical care is not available, or where altitude could cause a problem.
- Consult your physician if you do plan to travel during your third trimester, especially if you have a high risk pregnancy.
Driving should never be taken for granted, and while pregnant these simple precautions are recommended to stay safe.