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Tips for driving while pregnant

In the old days, driving while pregnant was rare mostly because women were expected to stay home, cook, clean and prepare for giving birth. In modern society, things have changed a bit. Nowadays, mothers-to-be only get a chance to be at home for their maternity leave for between two and four months. As a result, driving while pregnant is inevitable, and seeing as you now have two lives to protect, there are more things to consider when you’re out on the road.

Here we explore the intricacies of driving when pregnant:

Driving while pregnant simply means adjusting to your new body.

Image by Jason Rogers

Tips for driving while pregnant

1.  Seatbelt position

Always strap your seatbelt appropriately. The best way to get strapped in, is to ensure that you keep the lower line of your seatbelt tucked firmly below your belly. At the same time, the top line of the belt needs to be positioned in between the breasts. This will ensure that when the belt becomes taught upon any kind of impact, that the belly is not constricted. This is the safest option for the baby who can be injured without this precaution. 

2.  Be aware of your posture and positioning

The main thing that you should be trying to achieve is preventative driving. Basically, if you implement practical measures such as leaning back away from the steering wheel, you’ll minimize the risk of it hitting your stomach. At the same time, tilting your stomach slightly upward is another way to ensure that, upon collision, the baby is as safe as possible.

3.  Cautious and responsible driving

While it goes without saying that most women are extremely aware of their babies when driving preggers, many do not implement the right precautions, which can save lives. Keeping a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you is one of the most important pieces of advice that pregnant drivers should action on. The consequences of most accidents can be avoided by driving slowly and putting on hazards immediately should you have to unexpectedly stop.  By taking precautions like not racing through an orange robot when you’re unsure, you’re lessening the risk of getting into an accident.

4.  Stop and regroup 

During pregnancy, there can be a number of issues that affect your body. The further along you are, the more difficult it will be to keep your body in a natural position that doesn’t affect your back badly. So, you need to take regular breaks to reposition. This will also help you to maintain circulation in your legs and keep you alert and awake after being up at night with discomfort or hot spells.

5.  Prepare your body for driving while pregnant

Being in a car for a long time can affect any driver, however, moms-to-be need to be healthy, nourished, comfortable and alert. Eat before you get in the car to drive somewhere. Low GI food is best before long driving trips. Also, make sure to pack snacks for in case you end up without food for some time and start to feel dizzy.

6.  Create a personalised emergency travellers kit

When you’re pregnant for the first time, you may enjoy a rude awakening as to what life with a child is like. Even the most practiced moms can benefit from the organisation that having a child forces you to nurture. This can start with your driving. Be sure to have a toiletry bag that will not only keep you fresh and comfortable but can prove vital should you go into early labour. Water bottles are also imperative because dehydration and overheating are potential hazards.

7.  Minimise driving later on in your pregnancy

It’s difficult to give up your mobility when you’re used to it, but in the later months, driving becomes dangerous. A loose guide to reducing your driving would be to avoid driving while pregnant in the third trimester. This is simply because the risk of harming the baby is greater.

8.  Stay focused

During pregnancy, you'll experience a whole lot of challenges with everything from porridge brain to sleepiness. In order to improve your focus out on the road, you should take out décor and accessories inside the car and may draw your focus away from the road ahead.

9.  If you are prone to nausea, treat it

Natural ways of dealing with motion sickness or nausea in the car are to focus on the horizon for example. However, as the driver you won’t always be able to do that. Instead, eat non-greasy, light snacks, such as granola bars.

10.  If you’re in a collision – don’t panic

Any collision, even a small one, can lead to early labour as well as some other complications. It’s therefore best to get checked by a medical professional as soon as possible, even if you aren’t directly feeling any effects.

Good luck with your pregnancy! We'll be right here when you decide to hire a car for your first family road trip. Car seat and all.

Jacqueline Freer

Jacqueline Freer Title: Blog Contributor
Affiliation: Drive South Africa Blog Jacqueline has a career background consisting of nightlife eventing and entertainment fused with hospitality then blending with branding and business and over the past few years focusing on digital media. Her personal passions include the arts, travel, food, film and photography. Please visit the Inrichmint Media Studio website.
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