Car Driving during Pregnancy – Is It Risky?

A pregnant woman driving a car

If earlier it was all about taking bed rest and relaxing at home, the times are changing rapidly as more and more pregnant mothers are opting to continue working through their pregnancy until their final trimester.

In some cases, doctors might ask women to stop travelling altogether if their pregnancy or the baby is at a risk of facing complications. But apart from that, women can enjoy the feeling of driving down roads in their vehicle, pregnant or not.

Is Driving a Car Safe during Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman driving a car

Absolutely. When your pregnancy is free of complications and is progressing just as expected, most daily activities, including driving your car, shouldn’t be a problem.

Of course, it is much safer to drive with a companion along. This is rather important in those times of pregnancy when you tired or feeling nauseous, and would like someone to take over for a little while.

Why is it Necessary to Take Extra Care while Driving during Pregnancy?

Well, because you are pregnant. That should be reason enough to take extra precautions no matter what activity you indulge yourself in. If you are driving while pregnant in the third trimester, these risks increase quite a lot since the act of driving itself might not be at its most ideal. Beginning from the second trimester of the pregnancy, a lot of physical and mental changes are taking place in your body, which can manifest themselves in the form of nausea, untimely sleep, or random mood changes, all of which are not always in your control.

Safety Tips for Car Driving during Pregnancy

Car driving is pretty safe for most pregnant women. But these safety levels could be made even stronger by keeping certain precautions and tips in mind.

1. Opt for Carpools

Especially in your third trimester, driving yourself to work might not be as easy as it seems with your large belly and fatigue. Join a carpool with your colleagues or friends and share the driving duties together.

2. Stick to The Traffic Rules

You might be used to jumping the lights or speeding up a bit if the roads or lanes seem empty. Don’t do that even if there is no one in sight. Any random intrusion on the road could cause you to jerk and result in impacting your car and your body.

3. Wear Comfortable Clothes

No matter where you are going with your car, make sure you are dressed comfortably in such a way that it allows free movement for your legs, and doesn’t get constricting for the rest of your body. You can always change after reaching your destination if you need to.

4. Keep Your Energy Levels High

If you are susceptible to low energy instances or find yourself getting hungry frequently, carry a few snack bars or items that are easy to eat even while you are driving. Choose the ones that are nutritious, light and tasty, helping you stay awake and alert.

5. Stay Hydrated

Along with energy and hunger, manage your thirst as well. Keep multiple water bottles if you need, or pair them with a juice box or so. Don’t forget to use a straw, lest you find yourself tilting your head back to drink it up, and not looking at the road.

6. Prepare your Phone

Carry a car charger or a power bank along, and ensure your phone battery is topped up before stepping out of the house. Make use of the car’s stereo system or a Bluetooth headset so that you don’t have to interact with your phone to take any calls.

7. Expect the Unexpected

As well-serviced and in prime condition as your car might be, there are always chances that things could go wrong at the worst possible moments. Know how you would handle a flat tire or a broken-down car, and keep emergency numbers at hand to ask for any help.

8. Airbags are Mandatory

Don’t skimp on the price required to include airbags when it comes to choosing your car. If possible, get an extra one installed for a seat that might not have it. You may never know that a simple airbag could be the difference between life and death at any moment.

9. Keep your Eyes Safe

While driving on a long trip or in the daylight, protect your eyes by using the windshield visor or even wearing sunglasses. Who says pregnant women can’t be stylish in their own way?

10. Have Fragrances at Hand

Morning sickness is not restricted to mornings, and nausea could strike at an inopportune moment too. Keep your favourite soap or an air freshener close to you.

11. Never Forget the Seat belt

Just because it gets uncomfortable for your belly, don’t avoid wearing your seatbelt. If needed, get your existing ones extended by using a pregnancy attachment.

12. Keep a Good Seat Height

If your belly keeps getting in the way of the steering, adjust your seat height accordingly. But don’t get it too low such that watching the road gets difficult for you.

13. Opt for Better Roads

There might be shorter routes to reaching your destination sooner. But if the roads are bad, choose the one with better roads, even if the route might be longer.

Tips for Long Distance Driving during Pregnancy

Going on long drives while pregnant could give you the break you so desire. These trips can be of great help to you, and following certain tips could make them better.

1. Driving in The Rain

Be extra careful when driving on wet roads, and keep the speed well-below the limits.

2. Driving in The Night

As much as possible, avoid driving when it is night-time. Take a night-stop at a nearby hotel if needed.

3. Using Navigation

Don’t test your exploring skills when you are pregnant. Use GPS to guide yourself properly.

4. Taking Breaks

On long trips, make sure you give yourself and your car a breather every once in a while.

5. Fuelling Up

Don’t keep hoping for a fuel station somewhere down the road later on. Before hitting the highways, make sure your car is topped up and oil levels are good.

6. Car Servicing

If your car hasn’t been serviced for a long time, make sure you get it done prior to the trip. Before leaving, give the important items a quick check and keep alternatives handy.

7. Stretching

Sitting for long hours on the seat while driving could stress out your muscles. Stretch whenever you have the chance.

8. Medical Reports

Keep all reports related to your pregnancy with you in the car, should you require them during an emergency.

9. Seat Comforter

Make use of a hot-water bag or a separate cushion, if your back or butt needs extra support.

10. Repair Tools

If your car hits a roadblock, it is necessary to have the right tools so that any other mechanic can get it fixed.

11. Hygiene

Toilets on the highway may not be the cleanest. Keep your own toilet paper and sanitizer with you at all times.

When to Stop Driving?

It is best to avoid driving your car if it is uncomfortable for you, or you are tired, or you don’t feel alert enough to drive the car safely for yourself.

What to do if the Car Breaks Down when you’re Driving?

Make sure you get your car off the road and onto the side in a safe place. If it is night or an unsafe area, stay inside and use your phone to contact someone or the emergency number. If it is day and a safe area, flag someone down for help.

What to do if you have a Car Accident?

Don’t panic. Keep yourself calm and check for signs of bleeding or injuries, especially on your tummy and vagina. Contact the doctor as soon as possible and urgently, if you feel that premature contractions have set in.

With pregnancy come numerous precautions that ought to be undertaken to stay safe. However, with car driving, a pregnant woman is at no higher risk than any other individual driving a car. Being objective about your own ability to drive a car safely and properly is much more important to keep you and your baby safe throughout.

Also Read:

Driving Two-Wheeler when Pregnant
Car Travel during Pregnancy: Is It Safe?
Travelling while Pregnant