Driving during pregnancy is common and your baby is generally well protected by you and the amniotic fluid surrounding them. However, there are a few very important safety tips you need to bear in mind before getting behind the wheel during this time.
Here are my top six tips to consider when driving during pregnancy:
1. Always wear a seatbelt
You should always wear a seatbelt when in a vehicle unless you have been given an exemption certificate from your Obstetrician or GP. Some women aren’t sure how to wear their seatbelt safely, so they just don’t wear it all! Read on to find out how to wear yours safely.
2. How to wear your seatbelt correctly
Ensure the top part of your seat belt goes over your collarbone and between your breasts. The lower strap should lie across your thighs, hips and under your bump. It should be as low as possible and never over your bump. This has been shown to cause serious injuries to unborn children should you need to suddenly break or if you are involved in an accident.
3. Move your seat back as far as you can
When moving your seat back, ensure you are both comfortable and can still reach the peddles. Next, tilt your seat slightly to gain more distance between your bump and the steering wheel. Basically, you want to be as far away from the steering wheel as safely possible. As your baby grows, don’t forget to adjust your seat further away from the steering wheel. Finally, make sure that the steering wheel is tilted away from your bump but only if you can safely drive like this.
4. Avoid long distance driving if possible.
If you have to go on a long journey, try and share the drive with someone else. Plan additional time to stop regularly (your bladder will probably prompt you anyway). Circle your ankles, have a walk and a stretch. Get the blood flow circulating. Remember to keep well hydrated, this is so important during pregnancy but even more important if you are travelling long distance.
5. Sit with your back flat against the seat
Try and sit with your back flat against the seat rather than slouched. This will reduce the slack on your seat belt and help to keep it tort so if you do suddenly stop or are involved in a collision, your movement will be minimised.
6. Don’t disable your airbags
Finally, airbags are considered safe, so you do not need to have them disabled during your pregnancy.
If you’re in an accident, no matter how minor, you need to call your midwife or doctor for a checkup. You may feel fine but an assessment is needed to make sure there hasn’t been any harm caused to your or your baby. Also, if your blood group is Rh Negative, you may need an injection called Anti-D, don’t worry about this it’s normal protocol.