Pregnancy is a beautiful time during a woman's life, but there are everyday risks and discomforts along the way. In the early months of pregnancy, routine experiences, such as driving may become more difficult due to pregnancy symptoms. As the months go by and a woman's baby bump grows larger, there are extra precautions she may want to take while driving or riding in a car.
Always wear a seat belt
Whether driving or riding in the front/back seat, expectant mothers must wear their seat belt in the car. As the belly expands due to baby's growth, the seat belt might feel uncomfortable, and restricting, but it is necessary to continue to wear it through out the entire pregnancy. A pregnancy pillow can be used in some cases, to minimize discomfort. Remember to keep the shoulder strap situated across the chest, and to keep the lower portion of the seat belt underneath the belly, across the hips. Never place the seat belt over the belly.
Be the passenger, if possible
In the event of an auto accident, it's safer for the expectant mom to be on the passenger side, as opposed to the driver's side. There is a much greater risk of coming into contact with the steering wheel when driving while pregnant. If you have to be behind the wheel, scoot the driver's seat back away from the steering wheel a bit. Make sure you can still see properly, and reach the gas and brake pedals.
Pay attention to your condition
Pregnant women can easily succumb to their pregnancy symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, etc. If you experience hotheadedness, do not get behind the wheel. Pregnant women also become tired easily during their first and third trimesters. Falling asleep at the wheel is a real danger, so expectant moms should get plenty of rest before driving, and never get behind the wheel if they are feeling tired. It's a good idea to have someone else drive you to your doctor's appointments if you are feeling ill, under the weather, tired, or if you know you'll have to have blood drawn.
Avoid driving in bad conditions
Driving in poor weather conditions makes driving more dangerous for all drivers. Far too many pregnant women are involved in auto accidents every year. If the road conditions aren't good for driving, don't go out, unless you absolutely have to. If possible, ask someone with experience driving in snowy conditions to drive you during poor weather.
Always stay alert. Pregnant women are urged to avoid caffeine, which may make them seem to be more tired than usual. A common pick-me-up is a quick cup of coffee or pop, but pregnant women need to rely on their instincts even more. Pay attention to other drivers at all times- when on the road, in parking lots, etc. Accidents can happen anywhere, so stay alert and be ready to make quick decisions, if need be. In the event of an accident, seek medical attention immediately.
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