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Tips for driving while pregnant

A pregnant woman at the wheel.

Do you have a baby on the way? So long as you aren't suffering from symptoms that could put your safety at risk while on the road, getting behind the wheel should be fine.

Still, whether you're in the driver's or passenger's seat, there are some extra precautions you should take to keep you and baby safe, particularly as your bump grows bigger. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Wearing a seat belt

As the Gov.UK website explains, pregnant women must wear a seat belt unless their doctor excuses them on medical grounds. If you're exempt, you'll get a certificate from your GP and must carry it in the car with you – you'll be asked to show it if you get pulled over by the police for not wearing a seatbelt.

According to an NCT article, when wearing a three-point seat belt you should place the top over your collarbone and breast, and lower strap underneath your bump along your thighs and hips.

Avoid wearing a lap belt, as they have been found to cause serious injuries to unborn babies in the event the car breaks harshly and suddenly.

Airbag safety

While airbags are deemed safe to use, it's a good idea to move your seat back and tilt it slightly to create some distance between the steering wheel and your bump – making sure you can still comfortably reach and control the wheel.

Of course, as your bump grows, you'll need to create more room by moving the seat back from the wheel. When you've nearly reached full term and find it difficult to reach the wheel and get in and out of the car, it's best to stop driving.

Long journeys

Long trips in the car should be avoided as much as possible when pregnant. Particularly as sitting for long periods of time can make your feet and ankles swell, legs cramp and give you heartburn, writes Baby Centre.

If you absolutely must make a long journey, share the drive with another person if you can, and load up the car with water and healthy snacks to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up. Aim to stop at least every hour – you may well need to visit the loo, anyway!

If you feel a little achy when you pull over for a break, there are some stretches that'll help. These include extending your legs and slowly flexing your foot to stretch your calf muscles, rotating your ankles whilst sat down and wiggling your toes.

If you're involved in an accident

If you're involved in an accident, even a minor collision, it's always best to get yourself checked over by a doctor. Forceful braking and jolts can lead to complications, such as a partially-separated placenta. If you're in pain, notice bleeding or experience contractions, see a doctor straight away.

Baby Centre explains you should tell the doctor if you have a rhesus negative blood group, as you might need an anti-D injection.

If the accident is more serious, you'll be taken straight to hospital. Make sure you tell the emergency services you're pregnant straight away and by how many weeks.

If your insurance is due for renewal, Hastings Direct provides a range of cover options for an affordable price. All of our policies are Defaqto 5 Star rated, helping to keep you and your unborn baby safe on the road. Get a quote today.

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