It is safe to drive while pregnant provided one has a healthy pregnancy. In the last few months of pregnancy, however, the growing bump may make it difficult to get in and out of a car. It may also get in the way of the steering wheel, leading to many opting to stop driving towards the end of their pregnancy.
Nausea and exhaustion experienced in the first trimester of pregnancy may make concentration difficult therefore driving should only be done when one is alert and well-rested. Little to no trips should be taken alone as it is safer and interesting to share duties with someone else.
Stretches done either in or out of the car increase blood circulation as sitting for long periods of time may result in feet and ankle swelling and leg cramps. With a little movement, discomfort can be alleviated- extend your heel and gently flex your foot to stretch the calf muscles. Rotate ankles and wiggle your toes while seated provided you are not driving.
Take a break every 90 minutes for the needed toilet break and rest, especially in the late stages of pregnancy. Water and healthy snacks help to keep the energy levels up and provide hydration. Comfortable clothes and shoes should be worn; avoid wearing tight waistbands and armholes that press and dig into your skin during travel. Plenty of stops, stretching, putting a cushion, can be adopted for longer journeys. Safety measures should be taken for ease of one’s mind.
A seat belt should be worn as this is a requirement by law; wearing one will protect the mother and baby from harm in case there is an accident or sudden stop. A three point seat belt that has a diagonal strap that is safest but in a scenario where one isn’t available, a seat belt is preferable to none. The strap should be across the thighs and hips and fit across the thighs and hips, where it would not put pressure on the baby.
The diagonal shoulder strap should seat over the collar bone and between the breasts, resting on one’s shoulder rather than the neck. The seatbelt should be worn as tight as possible. In case the belt cuts across the neck, reposition the belt to fit better or use a seat belt pad.
If you are hiring a vehicle for you trip, opt for one that has the advanced extra safety features to enhance your safety and survival. Most modern vehicles, like the Mercedes-Benz models, which come with a lot of modern collision and safety specifications for both driver and passengers.
Airbags are designed with seatbelts to keep one safe and restrain the upper chest to prevent out of force collision. If the steering wheel is adjustable, tilt it away and if this action makes it difficult to see, use a cushion for a little boost.
In the event of an accident:
Get checked out by a doctor to ensure both passengers are safe with no unseen complications. In the case of a severe accident, where one is rushed to a hospital, the emergency team should be made aware of the mother’s pregnant state.
A charged phone should always be carried in case of a breakdown or other emergencies. Insurance should also be available and a breakdown cover should be considered a priority if your insurance does not provide for it in the car insurance you are already paying for. If you are taking a particularly long trip to a remote area, an extra supply of warm clothes, a torch, some money, snacks, and water should be packed and brought along.
In case of a breakdown; pull the hard shoulder as far as possible, put on the hazard and headlights, phone for help, wait on the motorway grass bank or on the passenger side of the car and lock the doors.