Is It Safe to Drive During Pregnancy?

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 10/10/2014

Daily activities often make traveling by car essential. Pregnancy is a delicate period, still it doesn't necessarily prevent having a normal life, provided you behave carefully and adapt to the changes your body is undergoing.

Provided below is an index with the 3 points we are going to expand on in this article.

What is the risky period in a pregnancy?

The most dangerous months during pregnancy are the three first, when the risk of a miscarriage due to collisions is higher, also at low speed, because there is a lower quantity of amniotic fluid.

The other complicated moment is the very end of the pregnancy, when the volume of the uterus makes that the reaction time in unforeseen circumstances is longer, due to the fact that your agility has decreased. For this reason, if it isn't strictly necessary, they suggest pregnant women in the last weeks don't drive, or at least, they don't drive alone.

In case of feeling some discomfort, you should avoid driving, as well as if your gynecologist evaluates that driving is inadequate, or your pregnancy is considered to be at risk. In other conditions, some simple suggestions will improve your security and decrease a possible damage to the baby, in case of accident.

Position and seat belt when pregnant

The seat back should be as straight as possible, and the headrest should coincide in its highest part with your head.

The distance between the steering wheel and the woman should be around 25 cm, she shouldn't drive very close to the wheel: as the pregnancy progresses, the seat will be removed from the dashboard, in order to maintain the distance and the woman to drive comfortably.

The airbag isn't dangerous for the pregnancy, provided it's oriented towards head and thorax, not towards the belly. In case of collision, it will activate before the seat belt reacts, and its jerk will be reduced around the stomach.

Seat belt while pregnant

The seat belt has to be fasten always. If you don't fasten it, because we feel uncomfortable, your and your baby's life could be at stake, due to the possibility of an ejection, of flying out, as well as of being injured for bumps that won't be attenuated by the seat belt pull.

The correct way to put the seat belt for a pregnant woman should be through laying the top strap between the breast and not crossing the belly, and the horizontal strap under the abdomen. In this way, in case of collision, the pressure will split around the stomach and the impact on the fetus will be reduced.

There is a special pad with three anchors that allows to change the tension points in case of accident, and makes the seat belt more comfortable.

The correct use of the seat belt reduces serious fetal injuries in more than 50% of accidents, so: let's drive but carefully, because we're carrying a precious charge!

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 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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