The good news is that it’s absolutely safe to keep driving when pregnant. But there are some steps you can take to boost safety, no matter the size of your bump.
It’s important that you continue to wear a seatbelt when pregnant, unless you have been given an exemption certificate by your GP.
Being pregnant is not in itself a reason to get an exemption. Your GP will need to establish why it is inadvisable for you to wear a seatbelt and will suggest that you look into various devices which can ease any discomfort from wearing a seatbelt.
Make sure you keep that certificate in the car as well. If the police pull you over and you aren’t wearing your seatbelt, you will need to produce the certificate in order to avoid censure.
It’s also important that you let your insurer know if you have been given a medical exemption from having to wear your seatbelt.
Avoid ‘lap only’ seatbelts
If you are going to be a passenger, it’s a good idea to avoid using seatbelts which only consist of a strap across your lap.
These can potentially cause injury to unborn children in the event of sharp braking.
What about the airbag?
It’s natural to be a little concerned about whether an airbag going off might hurt the unborn baby.
Don’t panic though, it’s perfectly safe, though you may want to move your seat further back, particularly if you have a large bump.
Keep journeys short
It’s a good idea to keep the amount of time you spend at the wheel to a minimum as it can cause discomfort, plus you’re likely tired already.
As a result, it’s a good idea to stick to short journeys.
If you are going on a long journey, then be sure to schedule in plenty of breaks so that you can get out of the car and stretch your legs. The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) recommends stopping at least every 90 minutes or so.
Stock up the car
Put that glove compartment to good use by keeping some water and healthy snacks in the car. This can help you keep hydrated and boost your energy levels.
Think about your clothing
Before heading off on a drive, think carefully about what you are going to wear. This is purely for practical reasons - many pregnant women suffer with ankle swelling, so going for comfy shoes is crucial. Similarly, you may prefer to go with clothing that won’t be tight around your waist if you’ve been at the wheel for an hour or more.
Make sure your phone is charged
It’s always a good idea to be able to contact your loved ones if something happens when you’re behind the wheel, whether you’re pregnant or not.
But as the due date gets closer, it becomes even more important to be able to get in contact with them, for example if your waters break. As a result, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
You may want to invest in an in-car charger.
See the doctor
If you are in any sort of incident, no matter how minor, be sure to go to the doctor and get checked over.