Precious Cargo : 4 Driving Safety Issues for Pregnant Women
Cars make the world a little smaller, allowing people to live in a suburban paradise while working miles away in the heart of major cities. They bring families together and make vacations affordable. No wonder society has become so auto-centric. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 13 million passenger vehicles are registered, making up the majority of the registered vehicles in the country.
Modern culture may encourage driving, but extensive commuting and travel puts women of child-bearing age at risk. Most at risk are pregnant women themselves. According to a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, vehicle crashes are a leading cause of serious trauma. For pregnant women, they may cause pre-term births or even still births.
It's not realistic to warn pregnant women to avoid driving at all during the nine-month term of a pregnancy, but taking precautions can effectively protect mother and baby.
Wear Your Seatbelt Properly
Wearing a seatbelt can save your life and your baby's too, but if not worn properly it can cause injury to you both. A three-point safety belt, currently standard in most vehicles, should always be worn, with the position of the lap section of the belt securely over your hips under your belly, as recommended in an Atlantic Cities article. The shoulder portion of the belt should cross over your sternum to provide the upper-body restraint you'll need to keep you from being thrust forward in a crash.
Steering Wheels and Airbags
In the event of an accident, you'll want as much room between your abdomen and the steering wheel as possible, in case your airbag deploys. Reedman Toll advises sliding back so that a minimum of 10 inches is between the steering wheel and your breastbone, and to keep sliding back as your belly grows bigger. Depending on the length of your legs, there may be a limit to how far back you can move the driver's seat and still be able to operate your vehicle safely and effectively. Many cars have adjustable steering wheels and, if yours has one, you should tilt it up instead of leaving it facing you directly or tilting it down. Don't disable the airbags, but keep a 10-inch or more distance between you and the point from which the airbag will inflate.
Try to be a Passenger
It's the rare woman who has the luxury of not having to drive frequently. Even if you work at home, or you're in another situation that means you don't have to commute every day, you will still take trips to the doctor, the grocery store or even dinner out with friends that require frequent, if not daily, driving. With careful planning and strategizing, though, you can cut down on the number of times you step into an automobile. Run several errands at once to limit trips into town, invite friends over for a movie night instead of meeting them at the theatre and, whenever possible, be the passenger instead of the driver. As Atlantic Cities points out, if you can reduce your driving miles by half you'll reduce your risk by half, as well.
Review Your Automobile Coverage
There's no time like the beginning of a pregnancy for reviewing your automobile insurance to ensure you have sufficient coverage for your current needs, as well as the needs of your soon-to-be expanded family. Use internet sites such as captaincompare.com.au to compare Australian car insurance. These sites will give you the information you need on a host of insurance companies to help you make sure you have the protection you need in case of an accident.
This article has been written by Kristina Richards for The Pregnancy Centre 2013 - 2016. www.thepregnancycentre.com.au
Kristina is a mum, and now that her kids are older, she has more time for charity work. Kristina spends most of her free time volunteering at a downtown womens shelter.
Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is for general advice only. Seek further specific advice from your local health practitioner about your individual needs.