As a mommy to be you suddenly pay a lot more attention to your daily activities and often wonder if they are safe for the baby. Driving during pregnancy is one of the things that women, with good reason, wonder whether they should be avoiding or not.
Many women, I included, simply have no choice but to drive all through pregnancy. Even with the little one on the way they still have to go to work, do the shopping, if they have other kids- take them to school and do daily errands.
The good news that is there is no reason why women shouldn’t be driving in pregnancy. Of course, we are talking about healthy pregnancies. If your doctor advises you, for whatever medical reason, to avoid driving, you should listen to him.
But other than that, women continue to drive all through their pregnancies without a problem. However, as the baby bump gets bigger there are a few safety measures that should be taken into account.
What is a good driving position for a pregnant woman?
In your 3rd trimester, your driving position should be modified in order to increase the level of safety.
Push your seat as far back as possible but make sure that you can still press the pedals. Your legs should be slightly flexed when fully pushing the pedals.
You can tilt the seat backrest a little bit as long as manoeuvring the steering wheel isn’t affected. As long as it’s comfortable, you can also move the steering wheel a little bit upwards. The distance between your bump and the wheel should be approximately 10cm.
Driving during pregnancy might not be the most comfortable thing but it’s incredibly important to have a good position while driving that will give you good visibility and allow you to reach the pedals and steering wheel.
Seatbelt on or off?
Without a question ON! Studies show that wearing a seat belt while driving will increase your chances of survival in case of a serious collision with up to 50%. That’s huge. A seat belt can make the difference between life and death!
As a small side-track, I remember when studying for my driver’s license in my home country, Romania, some years ago that I was surprised to read that some categories of drivers are exempt from wearing a seat belt. It was taxi drivers, people with certain medical conditions and pregnant women. And I recall thinking that pregnant women have all the more reasons to wear a seat belt. It’s not just their lives at stake but also their unborn baby’s. Fortunately, in 2018, the legislation was changed and now pregnant women are required to wear a seat belt while driving.
Some women say that, in case of an accident, it will exert big pressure on the baby, thus hurting him. In her book, “The Working Woman’s Pregnancy Book”, Dr Marjorie Greenfield argues that, on the contrary, “both mother and fetus are best protected when wearing a seat belt”.
But driving in pregnancy doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable activity. Smart people have come up with a solution: the pregnancy seat belt or the maternity car belt adjuster. It is a 4-point system that reduces the risk of injury of the unborn baby and it is more comfortable to wear for mom. So if the normal, 3-point seat belt is too uncomfortable for you, there are alternative solutions.
How to wear a seat belt in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy?
We’ve established how critical wearing a seat belt is. Toward the end of the pregnancy, the seat belt might feel tight in certain places but it’s paramount that you do not take it off or experiment with ways in which you can wear it (like placing the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back or placing the lap belt on top or over your belly).
The correct way to wear a seat belt is as follows:
- the shoulder strap is away from your neck but never off your shoulder. It goes between your breasts.
- the lap belt is secured across your hips, under the belly
More safety tips for driving during pregnancy
- Many moms-to-be experience a period of tiredness and nausea thanks to those pesky pregnancy hormones, especially in the first trimester- find out more about The main Pregnancy Hormones and how they make you feel- if you have these symptoms, perhaps it would be safer not to drive until they pass.
- Backaches are quite common during pregnancy. However, if the pain is distracting while driving it is best to limit the times that you get behind the wheel. If you experience a lot of backaches there are some great pregnancy massages specifically designed for sore backs. They are almost magical.
- If you have to travel for longer periods of time, make sure you stop often and stretch. You won’t have a lot of choice about the stopping part, as you will have to pee every half an hour anyway.
- In pregnancy it is important to keep the blood flowing n=in your legs. Especially on long car trips, you can wear compression stockings that will keep the blood flowing and prevent the dreaded blood clots.
- Make sure you have plenty of water with you and healthy snacks.
Driving during pregnancy may have its own little challenges but safety comes before comfort, right?
What were your challenges while driving in pregnancy? Tell me all about it in the comment section.