Driving While Pregnant
While it is generally safe to drive while pregnant, there are instances when pregnant women should be more cautious. Women who are expecting sometimes feel nauseated and fatigued or find it difficult to maneuver a vehicle. When these challenges affect driving, it can create hazardous situations for the mother and other drivers on the road. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers share important details you should know about driving while pregnant.
Driving during pregnancy is generally safe for most women. However, many expecting mothers find driving difficult due to medical reasons, chronic fatigue, or severe nausea. Others struggle with sitting in the same position for long periods and feel uncomfortable in the driver’s seat. In the later months of pregnancy, some women may have trouble reaching the steering wheel or gear shift to maneuver the vehicle safely.
Although most expectant women can drive throughout their pregnancy, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about any challenges you face and recognize when it might be unsafe. The car accident attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers share crucial information about driving while pregnant.
When Can I Drive During Pregnancy?
As long as you feel comfortable and confident while operating a motor vehicle, you can continue to drive while pregnant. There are no specific laws that restrict pregnant women from driving. Expecting mothers can continue driving a car until the baby is born if they have no reason to stop.
When Should I Stop Driving?
It’s vital to listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any struggles while driving during pregnancy. If the pregnancy makes driving difficult, it may be time to consider taking a back seat. Pay attention to risk factors that can make driving unsafe, including:
When Can I Drive During Pregnancy?
Now that you’re expecting, you must make a few adjustments to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Driving is no exception. There are tips and best practices to follow that will keep you and others safe on the road.
Driving Tips for Long Drives and Road Trips
For pregnant women, a long commute to work or a road trip to visit family or friends can be challenging. However, making long trips while pregnant is perfectly safe if you take extra precautions and plan ahead. Some things you can do to stay comfortable and safe include:
How to Wear a Seat Belt While Pregnant
Wearing your seat belt correctly during pregnancy can prevent injuries to you and your baby if you happen to be involved in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pregnant women should position the lap belt as far under the belly as possible rather than straight across it. The belt should be pulled snuggly against the hips and pelvic bone to hold your body securely in place.
The shoulder belt should sit on your shoulder and run across the middle of your chest, away from your neck. Do not place it under your arm or behind you while driving. You may also need to adjust your seat to minimize gaps between your shoulder and the seat belt and provide as much distance as possible between the steering wheel and your belly.
Even if you’re not driving and are in the passenger or back seat, you should always wear your seat belt in the correct position while the car is moving. Although you might be slightly uncomfortable during the ride, the protection the seat belt provides you and your baby far outweighs any temporary discomfort.
If You Are in a Car Accident While Pregnant
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that pregnant women were substantially more likely to be involved in a car crash during their second trimester when compared to those who were not pregnant. The five-year study results show that the crash rate of test subjects in their second trimester increased by 42 percent from the pre-pregnancy rate.
Because of the forceful movements and impacts a car accident causes, pregnant women can suffer different types of injuries, including:
If you are involved in a car accident while pregnant, taking the right steps to ensure your health and safety is crucial. Here are a few things to keep in mind after a crash:
Take a deep breath: After the collision, take a moment to calm yourself and scan for injuries before doing anything else. It won’t help to panic or become aggravated by the situation.
Get medical attention: Even if you feel fine at the moment, it’s always best to seek assistance from a health care professional after a serious car accident. You or the baby may have injuries that need immediate treatment to prevent further damage. Call 911 or have your loved one take you to the hospital.
Follow all medical advice: Listen to your doctor and follow all treatment recommendations. Attend your follow-up appointments and share any concerns you have or changes you experience.
Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, even if the crash was a minor fender bender or low-impact accident in a parking lot. You or another person with you can call the police to report the accident so there is official documentation of the collision. Also, consider speaking with an experienced car accident attorney if you want to take legal action and claim compensation for damages. However, your health and prompt medical care should always be the priority.
Driving After Giving Birth
The postpartum period is a special time for mothers and their families. It allows new mothers to bond with their babies and recuperate from the delivery. How long it takes for a woman to physically recover after giving birth will depend on several factors, including the type of delivery and if it was a difficult birth.
Women who had a normal vaginal birth may need a couple of weeks to recover before getting behind the wheel again. New mothers typically experience abdominal pain, vaginal soreness, and bleeding after a vaginal delivery, making driving uncomfortable. However, women can sometimes tolerate a short drive after about two weeks.
If you had a Cesarean section, it could take a little longer for you to feel comfortable driving. A C-section is considered major surgery and requires several weeks of no lifting or heavy movement to allow the incision and body to heal. While most doctors caution against driving for at least six weeks, every pregnancy and delivery is unique. Discuss your concerns with your doctor to determine the appropriate timeframe.
Another factor to consider when driving after giving birth is the car seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, newborns and infants should be in a rear-facing car seat. Be sure to purchase the right car seat for your baby and install it a few weeks before your due date. This way, it will already be set up when it’s time to head home from the hospital after delivery.
Whether you had a vaginal delivery or C-section, car seats are typically too heavy to carry for new mothers. You will likely need help for the first few weeks to get the baby to and from the car. However, there are strollers specifically designed to hold a car seat safely, which makes it easier to move the baby around if you have doctor’s appointments or other engagements to attend. Remember to be patient with your body and listen to your doctor’s advice on heavy lifting after giving birth.