Driving safely while pregnant

With snow in the air there is a lot of attention paid to driving carefully in bad weather conditions. At this moment in time my wife Hannah is 34 weeks pregant. She hates driving in the snow anyway but with a growing bump to consider also there are also some things to consider while driving when pregnant. So if you’re in the same boat, take a look at these do’s and don’ts!

1. Is it safe to drive?
Yes, as long as you do so safely. If you’re driving for long periods of time it’s best to stop and take regular breaks to stretch your legs, relieve back ache or visit the services. One thing to keep in mind is how easy it is to get in and out of your car, and is there sufficient room between your bump and the steering wheel?
There aren’t any rules set in stone but many women prefer to stop driving around 30 weeks. If you feel ok to continue driving then try to make sure you have a passenger with you.

2. Should I do anything to the seatbelt?
You must wear a seatbelt at all times when driving. Your belt should fasten diagonally and sit above your bump and the lower part that covers your lap should be placed under your bump, not over or on it. There are maternity seat belts on the market which are worth investigating.

3. How close to the steering wheel can I sit?
You should sit as far back from the steering wheel as your legs will allow.

4. Are air bags safe?
Most experts agree that air bags are safe and can protect pregnant women from head injury. Never turn off the air bags just because you’re pregnant. Air bags should not be seen as an alternative to seat belts. If your car is fitted with air bags, to be safe, you should move the seat back and tilt the seat to get some distance between your bump and the steering wheel. As your tummy grows you should adjust your seat further away from the steering wheel.

5. Travelling as a passenger
Make sure that you still wear a seat belt and try to sit as far back from dashboard as possible. This will allow more leg room to stretch and sit comfortably.

Hints and tips
* Don’t drive if you’re feeling tired or faint. If you’re too tired to concentrate ask somebody else to do so.
* Keep air circulated in the car.
* Make sure you’re not running on empty; ensure there’s extra fuel than your planned journey.
* Pack water and extra snacks, especially if you’re on an long journey – you never know when you might break down and don’t want to go hungry.
* Pack some travel toiletries, a pillow and a blanket…you never know, you little one might make an early appearance!
* If you make regular long journey invest in breakdown cover.

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