Driving safely is always a concern, but especially so when you're pregnant. The risk of harming yourself and your unborn child is something that a lot of women worry about. And yet few doctors give clear advice on driving during pregnancy. The question of whether or not you should drive really depends on your personal feeling. However, there is no real reason why you shouldnt' drive as long as you feel comfortable and you fit behind the wheel. As long as you can keep to the various safety tips listed below, driving during pregnancy should be absolutely fine...
Obviously, being able to reach the pedals of your car properly is extremely important, not least because you need to be able to get to the brake fast if necessary. Some models of car allow you to adjust the height of the pedals, which can help. If you find that you're not able to reach the pedals properly from a good sitting position, then you do need to stop driving.
Many pregnant women are worried about air bags in their cars going off and injuring their baby. Some women even adjust the steering wheel so that it's pointing in a more upward direction to avoid the chance of an air bag hitting their stomach. However, experts say that the adjusting of your steering wheel, which will effect how your car handles, is more dangerous than any risk from the air bag itself. Engineers wear empathy suits and do stress tests on air bags to make sure that they are as safe as possible for pregnant women. Don't adjust your steering wheel, an air bag that goes off in the correct position should be alright.
Once you get a bump, wearing a seat belt can be uncomfortable and a little confusing. The correct way to wear a seatbelt during pregnancy is to put the lap belt below your bump, just above your upper thighs. The top belt should be adjusted so that it comes between your breasts, circling the bump slightly, but does not touch your neck. Lowering the level of the top seat belt on the side of the car should help.
One thing that is a factor with pregnant women driving is that they tend to tire more easily than non pregnant women. Driving while tired is dangerous. Do not get into the driver's seat if you're feeling fatigued, instead get someone to drive you where you need to go.
Some women are worried that the stress of driving will be bad for their baby, and there has been talk of driving making a baby's heart beat faster. However, a recent Japanese studt found that there is no evidence of this at all, and that there was no difference in the health of a child whose mother had driven and one whose mother had never driven.
The Last Month
Because it can be hard to determine when a pregnant woman will go into labour, experts recommend that in the last month of your pregnancy you should always drive with someone else in the car. Labour can begin unexpectedly, and obviously once it begins you should not drive at all. Having someone there to take over responsibility should your labour start is a good safety measure to take.
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Driving during pregnancy should be fine, as long as you take the appropriate safety measures. Never adjust your steering wheel away from you, and don't even think about not wearing a seat belt. As long as you can do these things, the risks of driving whilst pregnant are relatively low, and you should feel free to continue as long as you feel comfortable doing so.