Driving and pregnancy don’t always go hand in hand, particularly once you get into the last trimester. It can be difficult to get into and out of the vehicle, and you may find that squeezing behind the wheel is hard to do, particularly if you have a smaller car without a lot of travel for the front seat. Is it safe to drive while 8 months pregnant?
While statistically the second trimester is the most dangerous time of your pregnancy, by the time you are in your 8th month, the car will start to seem smaller and smaller. The lack of space between you and the steering wheel can potentially be dangerous. If you don't have a safe alternative and do end up driving try to keep a few things in mind:
Your Doctor’s Recommendation: The most important thing to consider here is what your doctor says. If you have an underlying medical condition, your doctor may decide that driving is just too risky. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Sitting Too Close: While it’s perfectly legal for a woman who is 8 months pregnant to drive herself, you should make sure that you’re not sitting too close to the steering wheel. There’s the risk of the steering wheel impacting your stomach and the baby during an accident, but there’s also the chance of sustaining an injury from the air bag if it deploys. Sit as far back from the steering wheel as you can, but make sure that you can reach the pedals and the wheel comfortably. If you can’t, it might be wise to have someone drive you.
Seat Belt Use: No matter what your stage of pregnancy, you must buckle up. Yes, it’s uncomfortable at 8 or 9 months, but it’s vital (and illegal not do so). Make sure the seat belt sits under your stomach and across your hips. The shoulder belt shouldn’t run across your stomach – it should go up and over, then across your chest and finally over your shoulder.
Stop and Stretch: Pregnant women find that their legs begin to cramp after driving for some time. If you’re on a longer drive, plan to stop and stretch periodically. This will keep you more comfortable, but also reduce the chance of debilitating leg cramps.
While it’s perfectly fine for women 8 months pregnant to drive, follow these brief safety tips to ensure that you’re safe and sound behind the wheel. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, have someone drive you.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is It Safe to Drive While 8 Months Pregnant? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.