Pregnant behind the wheel? Here are some safety tips to keep in mind
It should be safe for a pregnant mother to drive as long as they are feeling well. Besides, having a car is an added advantage since it makes movement easier as the bump grows. However, the growing tummy might get in the way, making it harder to get in and out of the car. Additionally, driving may exhaust the would be mother out. Here are ways to ensure you are safe as you drive.
Wear a seatbelt
While you might be pregnant, road safety rules still stand and, if you are stopped by a traffic officer and found without a safety belt, you will not be exempted from a penalty.
“For the safety of the unborn baby, a three-point safety belt is ideal. The diagonal part must be placed over the collarbone then between the breasts. That way, it will rest on the shoulders rather than the neck. This will avoid putting avoidable pressure on the baby, more so when one suddenly applies the brakes,” Ivan Kutesa, a driving instructor, says.
He adds that you are only exempt from wearing a seatbelt if you have a letter from the doctor giving reasons why you should not wear one.
Ensure you are comfortable
Many people want to be as close to the steering wheel as possible. However, a pregnant woman is better off sitting as far from the steering as possible. Sam Mutesasira, a driving instructor, says some cars have adjustable pedals.
“For those that cannot be adjusted, the woman can recline to make space between the tummy and the wheel,” he says. Mutesasira adds that while cars with airbags are considered safe for pregnant women, they should adjust their seat back.
“Nonetheless, when involved in an accident, ensure you get properly checked by your doctor,” he advises.
Have a designated driver
When pregnant, chances of getting tired, even after a short drive cannot be ruled out. It even gets more apparent as the pregnancy advances.
“When going for a long journey, please take someone who can get behind the wheel when you need rest. Besides this, it is advisable that the mother takes a break every 90 minutes, at least to stretch. It is also advisable that you eat and drink regularly as you drive,” Mutesasira shares. If you can help it, avoid driving in your last trimester.
Go for comfortable clothes
When driving, comfort is somewhat disturbed for a pregnant woman and you would not want to aggravate that by wearing tight clothes. Opt for lighter clothes such as light tops as well as freer clothes because the car interior may easily become hot. The trousers should also have elastic waistbands for your comfort.
Check car condition
Before you set off for any journey, regardless of the distance, ensure the car is in good condition. Have the tyre pressure checked and refilled if low. Ask someone or your mechanic to check the engine to ensure that the coolant, wiper water and oils are all sufficient for the journey,” Jacob Musinguzi, a mechanic shares.
Besides that, ensure the fuel tank is sufficiently filled to avoid getting stuck by the roadside.
In all, always listen to your body and act accordingly. If you do not feel like you have the energy to drive, ask your designated driver to step in. Your safety and that of your baby should be priority.