Pregnancy is definitely a time to be extra careful in all aspects of your life. Driving is no exception. A lot of women think that it’s better to refrain from driving the car while pregnant, and some are mistakenly convinced that not wearing a seat belt during pregnancy is better for the baby.
But despite all the rumors that wearing a seat belt may hurt the baby, doctors know that precisely the opposite is true and advise that moms-to-be wear their seat belt during every trip and in every car seat. Buckling up while you’re pregnant is an essential part of your and your baby’s safety.
Research has shown that the best way to protect your unborn baby is to protect yourself. A fastened seat belt is the best protection in the event of a collision. However, it should be used correctly.
The US Department of Transportation answers the top 5 questions on adjusting your car and wearing a seat belt during pregnancy.
Besides correctly using your seat belt during pregnancy, don’t forget to adjust your seat and always maintain at least 10-inch distance between the steering wheel and your chest and belly. Experts also advise:
- Take plenty of breaks to stretch your legs during long trips. Generally doctors recommend not to drive or sit for more than 2 hours at a time to prevent blood clots.
- Avoid long trips close to your due date and stay within a short driving distance of home or the hospital.
- During your last month of pregnancy, drive with another adult in the car, since no one can predict when you’ll begin labor.
- Don’t wear a seat belt with bulky clothing, and don’t slip the shoulder harness under your arm.
- Don’t drive if you are tired. Pregnancy can make women extra sleepy, so make sure you feel good and stay focused on the road.