There are endless jokes about women drivers, but feeling confident, comfortable and alert before getting behind the wheel is not a joke when you are driving during pregnancy. There are no laws or restrictions about driving while pregnant, however, it doesn’t hurt to review some safeguards. Here is your guide to driving while pregnant.
Pregnancy and Our Daily Routines
You already know what we mean. Even though I am “with child” I can still do everything and anything I did before. Many moms-to-be fit into this description. Nothing is going to change their daily routines and activities. That may be mostly true, but let’s take a minute to review certain things.
You probably won’t be jogging much as the pregnancy progresses. Happy hour is a thing of the past. Painting your dining room ceiling will have to wait, and you might need to eventually take a break from your job that requires you to stand for 8 or 9 hours a day.
Driving is a daily activity for most people, and as long as it is safe for you and your baby.
Driving Safely While Pregnant
Let’s be real. There can be medical issues that will affect your daily routine as your pregnancy continues into the second and third trimester. Check with obstetrician Michelle Wood, MD, FACOG if you may be at risk.
Here are some tips for safe driving:
- Only drive if you are feeling rested.
- Be sure your safety belt is firmly in place. The belt should be below your new and increasing belly. The shoulder strap should be exactly over your shoulder, not behind your back.
- Never let the belt lie across your stomach.
- Position your seat as far back as you can and still reach the necessary pedals.
- Take snacks and water if you are driving any distance. In addition, expect to stop and take breaks, especially if you are drinking that necessary water to stay hydrated.
- Don’t drive if the weather is inclement or during high traffic times. Consider the risks.
- Remove unnecessary layers. Stay comfortable.
- Try to avoid sudden fast turns and hard braking as much as you can.
- Let someone else drive when possible.
We don’t mean the ones on the road. We mean flashing red lights that tell you to stay home and not drive today.
Any distraction is a warning sign. If you feel light-headed, nauseous, your back hurts, have heartburn, are overly stressed, or just not able to focus well, take the day off or call someone else to drive you.
Pregnancy fatigue is a real thing. Sometimes even a good night’s sleep doesn’t help. Skip driving if you are tired and just want to close your eyes.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational hypertension or high blood pressure, this can make driving unsafe. This is the time to speak with your obstetrician about the risks. In fact, it’s a good idea to speak with your physician about any restrictions you may have.
In short, use common sense about being safe and driving while pregnant. Contact Florida Women’s Health at (352) 369-5999 with any questions or concerns.