Pregnant women drive themselves all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, expectant moms should understand that their risks are higher than those of other drivers. Interestingly, the riskiest time for moms to be behind the wheel is during the second trimester of pregnancy. The second riskiest period is the first trimester. So is it safe to drive during the third trimester?
While it's always preferable that someone gives you a ride, there are times when that is not possible. When you do end up driving yourself, keep a few things in mind:
Changing Symptoms: The symptoms that cause your unsafe situations to increase during the first and second trimesters have largely abated. Morning sickness should be a thing of the past, and you should find your energy levels are more stable. That doesn’t eliminate the risk, but it does reduce it.
What Your Doctor Says: Always follow your doctor’s orders, regardless of the stage of pregnancy. If there’s cause for concern about the health of the baby or you have a medical condition that makes driving more dangerous, have someone else drive you.
Adjusting Your Seat: Other than getting into and out of the car, the most challenging aspect of driving safely during the third trimester of pregnancy is correctly adjusting the seat. You need to sit as far from the wheel as possible while still being able to reach it to steer. During an accident, you can hit the steering wheel with your stomach, or the air bag might cause an injury when it inflates.
Seat Belts Matter: Women in their final trimester of pregnancy often find wearing a seat belt challenging. They’re tight. They’re restricting. They’re uncomfortable. They’re also essential. Wear your seat belt at all times (and make sure you wear it properly). Route the lap belt over your hips and under your stomach. Make sure the shoulder belt is routed around your stomach, over the top, then across your chest and over your shoulder.
Driving in the third trimester of pregnancy is less dangerous than driving during the first or second trimesters, but you should still exercise caution when getting behind the wheel.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is It Safe to Drive During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.