Guest post by Beau Peters
As a pregnant woman, you’re probably already doing everything you can to stay healthy and keep your baby safe. But the world doesn’t stop for anyone. And these are particularly uncertain times, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traveling has become a bit of an issue all over the globe.
If you’re working, planning for the upcoming holidays or you just need to take a longer trip for personal reasons, it’s important to consider some of the driving risks and how it might affect your pregnancy. While most airlines are fully operational again, there are still some major risks involved and you may not feel comfortable on a long flight. So, driving seems like a viable option to get you where you want to go this holiday season. After all, what’s better than a road trip?
When you’re pregnant, though, there are more risks to long-distance drives than you may realize.
Let’s look at some of those risks and how you can keep yourself (and your baby) safe if you do have to drive or sit as a passenger for a long period of time.
What Are the Risks?
Perhaps the biggest risk of driving while pregnant, especially long distances, is an increased likelihood of getting into an accident. One Canadian study found that pregnant women in their second trimester were in 42% more crashes than non-pregnant women. There are a variety of factors that could play into that, from fatigue to different distractions.
Some of the other risks for pregnancy and long drives include:
- Seat belt injuries if you’re in an accident
- Feeling tired or drowsy
- Cramping or discomfort from long periods of sitting
The further along you get in your pregnancy, you may also be running a risk if you’re far away from your doctor or hospital on a road trip. While no one wants to think about complications, they do happen from time to time. Being close to your preferred medical professional or having a plan is important if anything happens.
How to Protect Yourself and Pregnancy on Long Drives
If you do have to or want to drive long distances during pregnancy, you can keep yourself and your unborn child safe by putting a few precautions in place. First of all, never drive if you’re feeling nauseous, dizzy, or fatigued. Pregnancy hormones can fluctuate quite a bit and you might feel more tired than normal. If that’s the case, have someone else be the driver for a while.Download our free PDF guide: Safer Driving During Pregnancy
It’s also important to take frequent breaks while you’re on a long trip. Doing so will help you to stretch your legs, reduce the risk of cramping and go to the bathroom (since most pregnant women know what it’s like to have a little one constantly pushing on your bladder!).
Other tips to keep in mind, especially as you get close to your due date include:
- Keeping a cell phone in the car with you
- Putting a towel on your seat if you’re worried about your water breaking
- Listening to your body’s warning signs that you should take a break
In the unfortunate event that you do get into an accident, there are still things you can do to ensure you and your baby stay safe. The best thing is to seek medical attention immediately after the crash, even if it was minor. Calling 911 right away should be your top priority whether you think you’re injured or not.
Keep a journal of your symptoms and any pain you might be experiencing for several days after the accident, and report any changes to your doctor. If there was damage to your vehicle or other people involved, it’s important to take responsibility for that, too, but if your passenger can get insurance information and take pictures, your main focus should be on the health and well-being of your child.
Should You Be Driving While Pregnant?
There is no reason you can’t drive locally or run errands in your car while pregnant, as long as you’re taking the right safety precautions. Accidents can still happen, even on short drives. Things like a seat belt positioner like the crash-tested Tummy Shield can help to protect you and your baby when you’re behind the wheel. Not only is it a good idea for safety, but it can make driving while pregnant more comfortable.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to drive during pregnancy. Whether you’re going on long drives or just making quick trips around town, the best thing you can do is to prepare yourself with as much information and as many resources as possible.
Stress isn’t good when it comes to pregnancy, and it can lead to a shorter gestation and even complications in neurodevelopment. So, alleviate some of that stress by doing what you truly feel is right when it comes to transportation. You’ll be doing yourself and your unborn child a big favor.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.
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