There are few experiences in life as exciting yet anxiety-inducing as pregnancy. While anticipating the arrival of a baby can be joyful, it can also be filled with moments of confusion and worry. As the weeks go on, there are countless changes to be made in your daily life; everything from what you eat to how you dress must be adjusted with pregnancy in mind. The way you get around town would likely need some adjusting as well . After all, as a woman gets further into her pregnancy, she’ll need to account for her growing baby bump more and more.
As you bury your nose in pregnancy literature and read all the do’s and don’ts while you’re expecting, add the following tips to your list. They’ll help keep you and your unborn child safe on the road, whether you are driving yourself to the grocery store for your weekly shopping trip or you’re in the passenger seat racing to the hospital for your delivery.
Can You Drive While Pregnant?
That’s a question many women are curious to answer as they get further along in their pregnancy. Driving while pregnant often means driving while fatigued, nauseated and even unfocused. Add in an ever-expanding belly inching closer and closer to the steering wheel, and the risk for accidents increases exponentially. Every person is different, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not you’re up to the task.
When to Stop Driving While Pregnant
Knowing when to stop driving while pregnant isn’t always clear, but it becomes more and more of a necessity the closer you get to your due date. Many forgo getting behind the wheel after 30 weeks. After this point, many women choose to be chauffeured whenever possible.
When you opt to ride shotgun instead of driving, remember to adjust your seat away from the dashboard and airbag. Even if you’re not actively driving, you’re still at risk of being involved in an accident. Should that airbag deploy, you’ll want to maximize the distance between it and your bump.
Safety Tips for Driving While Pregnant
Know (and Use) Your Car’s Safety Features
It’s a scary reality: pregnant women are more likely to be involved in a car accident than those who are not pregnant. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that the second trimester is the time when pregnant women are most likely to be in a serious collision. No matter what stage in your pregnancy, it’s important to be knowledgeable about your car’s safety features and use them correctly.
You’ve always worn your seat belt, but with a baby bump to factor in, buckling up can become more challenging than usual. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends pregnant women wear the lap portion of their seat belt below their abdomen or on their thighs. Never stretch your seat belt across or above your stomach. Be sure to also use the shoulder portion of the belt, not just the lap section alone.
Seat belts and airbags go hand and hand, and while there are some concerns about the dangers of airbags deploying while a pregnant woman is at the wheel, the benefits outweigh the risks. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends women adjust their seat so that the steering wheel is at least 10 inches from their breastbone. Any closer, and your baby could experience fetal stress should the airbag deploy.
Prepare for Emergencies
A woman’s health is at greater risk when she’s pregnant. That risk multiplies when she gets behind the wheel. Preparing for health emergencies in the car is necessary, regardless of how healthy you think you might be. Pack a car emergency kit complete with a travel pillow, phone charger, toiletries and additional clothing. These items will come in handy especially later on in your pregnancy, should baby arrive earlier than anticipated.
Nutrition is also incredibly important for pregnant women, especially for those who plan to drive. Fail to fuel up properly and you could find your blood sugar at an unhealthy level while on the road. Eat before you leave home to keep your blood sugar in check, and pack healthy snacks for the ride. Always drink plenty of water and bring a bottle along with you.
Seek Medical Attention After an Accident
No one expects to get into a car accident, yet countless collisions occur each day. Should the unavoidable occur, you’ll want to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even minor fender benders that are not considered serious could lead to pregnancy complications. Regardless of whether or not you’re feeling okay after a crash, get examined by a medical professional. Some car accident injuries don’t surface in the immediate aftermath of a crash, but a doctor will know what to look for to ensure you and your unborn baby are safe.
Being aware of the risks associated with driving while pregnant is a great first step to protecting your own health and that of your baby’s. As you amass tips, tricks and other need-to-know information about pregnancy and parenthood, keep driving safety in mind.
Car insurance is one of the best investments you can make when it comes to your family’s safety. Since even the most careful drivers are not immune to getting into accidents, it pays to be prepared. Get a Wawanesa auto insurance quote in minutes. The sooner you’re covered, the sooner you can hit the road with peace of mind.