Pregnant women should follow the below guidelines to ensure safety for themselves and their babies when travelling by car.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, approximately 32,800 pregnant women in the US are related to motor vehicle accidents. And these accidents are the leading causes of death and serious injuries during pregnancy.
Therefore, many pregnant women often wonder if they should travel by car or drive a car or not. The answer is yes, but what should they do to keep safe for themselves and their babies?
Here are 5 principles which pregnant mothers should apply to ensure the safety of mother and baby when they travel by car.
1. Fasten seat belts properly
In spite of traveling on any transportation means, pregnant mothers must always remember to fasten seat belts properly. This may make you uncomfortable, but that’s the basic safety principles for mother and baby. Fastening seat belts properly can protect mothers and fetuses from injury risks in the crash.
- How to fasten seat belts properly:
- The shoulder belt should be centered on the collarbone (Between the neck and the upper part of the arm).
- The lower portion of the seat belt should be positioned under the belly and hips, in as low a position as possible, grasp and pull it from the hip side to the other hip.
- The lower portion of the seat belt should not be positioned on or cross the belly.
- The lap belt portion of the seat belt should be positioned comfortably. If possible, adjust the length of the crossing belt to fit your belly.
- Never leave the crossing lap belt under the arm.
- Make sure that the seat belt is fastened properly; do not fasten the seat belt too tight or too loose.
2. Avoid driving a car
If possible, pregnant women should not be drivers, especially when fetuses are more and more developing and their bellies are bigger and bigger, closer to the steering wheel. Bellies will easily be bumped into the steering wheel during an accident. Ideally, you should not drive when you have already had a quite big belly to ensure the safety of the mother and fetus.
3. Sit right away from the steering wheel
When you drive a car, the distance between the seat and the steering wheel is as far as possible (adjust the farthest distance at which you can still drive safely). The position of a pregnant woman and the steering wheel should be at least 25cm. Also, make sure the steering wheel should be tilted towards the breastbone instead of toward the belly.
4. Avoid letting the body be ahead
Selecting a position and a seat is also a way to help women feel more comfortable. When driving a car, you need to adjust the back of the seat in order to sit with back comfortably positioned against the back of the seat and to press the accelerator pedal conveniently or brake timely. This will also minimize the possibility of face and belly bumped into the steering wheel before the airbags could inflate to protect you.
5. Always fully tighten the seat belt parts
In spite of a driver or a passenger in the car, always make sure you fully tighten the seat belt parts, including the lap belt portion and the lower portion of the seat belt. Never only tighten the lower portion of the seat belt across the hips. The middle seat in the back seat row is the safest place in the car. If it has one seat belt with a full of parts, it will be the safest choice of pregnant mothers.
6. Things pregnant women should bring in the car
- Bottled water.
- Healthy food
- Earplugs and neck pillows in order for you to sleep a bit (of course, when you are a passenger).
- Low slippers or socks for you to put on (if you’re a passenger).
- Waterproof backpack for you to store your belongings when you are tired.
- Oil blotting paper or wet tissues.
- A notebook and pen (if you’re a passenger) to rewrite what happens in your thoughts during pregnancy and it’s a good opportunity to list what you love.
- Always let blood be circulated by taking a rest and relaxing out of the car after at least 90 minutes of sitting in the car. You need to stop to go to the toilet frequently. Driving on the road side where there is space to park your car in order to walk around and sprawl for relaxing.
- If you are a passenger, remember to wear comfortable low-heeled shoes such as sandals or flat shoes. Sit with back against the back of seat comfortably, remember to fasten the seat belt and try doing some simple exercise: Stretching the legs, stretching the feet ahead and slowly bend and straighten the leg muscles help with blood flow; and then rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.
- Remember to drink enough water to reduce the risk of the blood coagulation in the legs.