Carrying a child for nine months is hard and dangerous work. Moms always need to be on the lookout for a potential accident — especially while driving. If you are expecting, here are a few things you should know before heading out on your daily commute.
1. The first trimester is most crucial for development
If there is a time to be overly cautious, it’s now. While your baby may still be tiny, it goes through the most important development processes during the first trimester.
Because of this risk factor, minor accidents, such as fender-benders, can make a bigger impact on your unborn baby. In fact, the slight trauma of a car accident during trimester one could even result in placental abruption, miscarriage or premature delivery.
2. You can warn others of your pregnancy
One way pregnant women can protect their child while driving or in case of an accident is by taking steps to alert others of the situation. Using a “Baby on board” sign or sticker on your car can help other drivers become aware of your caution while also reminding them to be careful while driving near you.
Before your pregnancy is showing, you can also alert others of your pregnancy by wearing a pregnancy medical alert necklace or bracelet. If an accident happens, this helps emergency responders react to your pregnancy more quickly. Include important information such as your blood type and due date in case you are unable to relay this verbally.
3. You’ll need to keep adjusting
As your belly grows, you’ll need to continuously adjust your seat and steering wheel to stay safe. Your chest should be at least 10 inches away from the dashboard or steering wheel throughout your pregnancy. While making these adjustments, remember to also adjust your mirrors accordingly and ensure you are able to see the road ahead clearly.
4. Accident risk increases during second trimester
Women transitioning into their second trimester of pregnancy have a higher likelihood of being involved in a crash. During this time, take extra safety precautions while driving by cutting out distractions, following the speed limits, coming to complete stops and signaling turns.
You should also avoid driving if you are feeling nauseous, dizzy, fatigued or otherwise unwell.
5. There’s a wrong way to wear your seatbelt
Pregnant women should take care to put on their seatbelt correctly. The lap belt should not be placed above or across your belly. Similarly, don’t place the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm. Using a seatbelt incorrectly could actually cause harm to your unborn child instead of protecting him or her.
If you are involved in a car wreck, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This can help prepare you to seek medical and damage costs in case the crash contributes to any issues with your pregnancy.