The moment you find out you are pregnant, you start asking your doctor what you can do and what you can’t. The fear of harming the baby is taking you over, especially if it’s your first pregnancy. But there is one question few expectant mothers ask: am I allowed to drive?
Taking a look at the studies
A study conducted by Canadian doctors reveals that pregnant women are more prone to car accidents, especially in the second trimester. Considering the fact nausea, fatigue and distraction are common in the first and last trimesters, the conclusion of the study is quite unexpected. This might seem strange, but it’s the effect of too much confidence; when you feel better, you become too confident and allow yourself to relax too much behind the wheel.
But this doesn’t mean mothers to be have to sell their cars for cash and use public transportation until they give birth. What they should do is take some precautions during their pregnancy months, to prevent accidents and protect themselves and the baby.
Wear the seatbelt
When your pregnancy belly becomes prominent you might be tempted to skip the seatbelt, which is a major mistake. You need to wear the seatbelt, even if you are pregnant, but you should position it above and below the belly, so it doesn’t press on the baby.
Leave 25cm between the belly and the wheel
One of the biggest dangers of driving while pregnant is having your belly pressed against the steering wheel. To avoid this, you need to leave at least 25cm between the wheel and your belly. Slide your chair backwards, as much as you can. If you can’t reach the pedals anymore if you leave enough space for the belly, it would be safe to stop driving until you give birth.
Do leave the airbags on
You might be tempted to turn off the airbags, but this is a big mistake, so leave them on.
Adjust the seat
As your belly is growing, you need to adjust the seat and the steering wheel each month or week, to stay comfortable. You should adjust the seat in order to keep your back as straight as possible. Your legs should also stay comfortable and you need to wear flats, which allow your feet to maintain their natural position.
Avoid long trips
When you are pregnant you should avoid long trips. First, you might become nauseous or you might need to pee frequently, which is going to bother you on a long trip. As your blood circulation is already under pressure, as your body is growing a new human inside, keeping your legs down for long periods of time can promote swelling of the ankles. Pregnant women often experience cravings, which need to be satisfied as fast as possible, which is another reason not to drive for long periods of time.
Depending on the pregnancy and how you feel, if you listen to your own body you will know when it is time to stop driving. For most women this moment comes in the last two months of pregnancy, when the driving seat becomes uncomfortable.