Driving when pregnant: Top tips

Unsure whether driving when pregnant is ok? Read on to get helpful pregnancy driving advice.

Life after having a child will never be the same, and neither will driving.

The changes to your time behind the wheel actually happens before your bundle of joy is born and there’s actually a fair amount of information to take in.

That’s why we’ve pulled together some top tips for driving when pregnant.

Can I drive when pregnant?

The quick answer is yes. Expecting a baby shouldn’t stop you driving as normal for most of your pregnancy. 

The BabyCentre says it’s fine to drive as long as you’re comfortable and can manoeuvre safely.

Towards the end of your pregnancy, your growing bump may feel uncomfortable and get in the way of the steering wheel and could also prove difficult to get in and out of the car.

If that’s the case, you might prefer to stop driving, but there’s no law saying you must.

Driving when pregnant: the basics

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with nausea, too exhausted to concentrate or physically struggling to get behind the steering wheel, don’t do it, stay home, put your feet up and have a cuppa (decaf of course).

If you’re suffering from swollen ankles or cramp in your legs, it’s best to avoid long drives without stops.

It’s also important to remember to take your pregnancy notes with you when you’re in the later stages too, just in case you go into labour when you’re out and about.

And it’s always wise yo have a charged phone with you, it might even be worth investing in a portable phone charger too, that way you know that no matter the circumstance you will always have a charged phone with you.

Wearing a seat belt when pregnant

Road accidents are always a concern, especially when you’re pregnant.

If you do have a car accident, you should always get checked out – even if you feel ok.

There are a few ways to help keep as safe as possible when you jump in a car. If you’re pregnant, you should:

  • Always wear a three-point seat belt
  • Make sure the shoulder belt goes over the shoulder, collarbone and down across the chest, between the breasts
  • Make sure the lap belt is worn as low as possible under the abdomen and the baby
  • Adjust the seat belt to fit as comfortably as possible, and adjust the seat too if necessary
  • If the belt cuts across your neck, try repositioning your seat so it fits better, or get a seat belt pad

Wearing a seat belt while pregnant is compulsory unless your doctor says you don’t have to for medical reasons.

But, if that’s the case, you’ll be given a Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Beat Wearing that you’ll need to keep in your car at all times.

Airbag wise, it’s totally safe to be in a car with them on during pregnancy so don’t turn them off as they’ll help protect you and your baby if the worst happens.

Pregnancy and driving: staying comfortable

You might get uncomfortable sitting down in the same position for a while if you’re suffering from heartburn.

Or you might have a tiny elbow or foot poking you in the ribs and you can’t get up for a move around.

So make sure you leave time to stop and do some simple stretches both in and out of the car, will keep your blood circulating. Sitting for long periods of time can be difficult when you’re pregnant.

Try to take a break at least every 90 minutes for a rest and a much-needed toilet break.

Another thing to remember is to try and avoid going on long car trips on your own. It’s much safer, not to mention more fun, to share the driving duties with someone else.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pregnancy

For anyone driving when pregnant for more than four hours in a car, there’s a risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

During pregnancy, if you drive or are even just a passenger in a car, try to do the following:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat natural energy food like fruit and nuts, and stop regularly for breaks. That should help to prevent fatigue and dizziness, which are common during pregnancy
  • Avoid making long trips by yourself as much as possible and consider sharing driving with someone else
  • Stop every 90 minutes so you can move around and stretch your legs. Oh, and if you’re not the driver, do a few leg exercises like flexing your ankles while on the move too
  • If you’re able to adjust the tilt of the steering wheel, tilt it towards your breastbone rather than your belly

Now you have all the info about driving when pregnant it’s time to think about what happens next, we’re talking car seats.

Taking your new bundle of joy home can be one of the most stressful journeys you can take, so it’s worth making sure your newborn is safe and secure in their car seat, that’s why we’ve pulled together a guide on all the laws surrounding travelling with children.

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