How to stay safe when driving while pregnant

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Car insurance policyholders who want to continue driving when pregnant are nothing new, as many soon-to-be mums still have to continue their normal commute well into their third trimester. They want to know, can you travel when pregnant?

This could involve travelling to and from work, getting in some essential food or purchasing those baby products in preparation for the special new arrival.

However, while it is fine to get behind the wheel during pregnancy, there are some tips that should be followed to make sure that both mother and child are kept safe and protected.

Wearing a seatbelt when pregnant

All motorists should wear their seatbelts, regardless of if they have a baby bump or not, as this is a road law of the UK.

However, when it comes to driving while pregnant, it is not just clicking in a seatbelt that is important.

The most comfortable way to wear one of these items for both the mother and baby is to allow the waist strap to rest below the bump, while the shoulder strap should slide effortlessly across the chest.

Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, has highlighted that "correct use of seatbelts by pregnant women is important, as incorrect use can cause harm to the fetus and fail to protect the woman in the case of an accident".

How to sit in the driver's seat

No-one wants to be seated uncomfortably when driving a car, with this being more important when a baby bump is involved too.

As a result, it is advised that pregnant women make sure they are sitting flat against their seat and at least ten inches away from the steering wheel.

The latter point is not only needed to keep the bump hitting the bottom of the wheel, but also so that the mother-to-be is at a safe distance should the air bag deploy.

Of course though, motorists want to make sure that they are not too far back from the air bag that it becomes defunct in the case of a road incident, so it is best to find a comfortable middle ground.

Remember though, collisions can be reduced significantly by pregnant women taking some general driving tips, such as refraining from tailgating vehicles in front by following the three-second rule.

Don't forget too that this distance should increase as the road conditions worsen, in a rain storm for example.

Filling and stocking up

It is not just the car that needs to be kept topped up during a pregnancy, this is also essential for the mother-to-be behind the wheel.

Some of the most important factors for a mother to think about include keeping blood sugar to a healthy standard and steering away from fatty foods.

Extra snacks such as bottled water and fruit should be carried when on a long road trip, in case of a breakdown and the driver becoming stranded.

Meanwhile, a travel pillow, toiletries and additional clothes are also recommended so that a pregnant driver can keep comfy while waiting for help to arrive.

Plus, those who are far along in their pregnancy could find these items particularly handy if a little one decides they are not going to be patient and a delivery needs to be suddenly carried out.

By following these tips, upcoming mums can continue to enjoy the pursuit of driving while pregnant without danger, all the way up until the new family member is ready to be ushered into the world.

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