In the past, there were more male drivers than females. Therefore, many car features like seat belts, driver seats and pedals where made and spaced out to fit the average male adult. But as the world continues to develop there are female drivers everywhere, meaning lots of pregnant drivers around. Since there are no special cars built for pregnant women, it's only wise that they learn how to drive regular cars properly without putting themselves or their unborn child in danger.
But how can this be done? Here are some helpful driving tips for pregnant women that will help them stay safe behind the wheels with little or no stress. Note that this article by Naijauto will focus more on women who are 7 months+ pregnant.
1. Drive only when you need to
In the first 6 months of pregnancy, you can still actively do certain chores including driving. But once you get to the final few months before delivery, it's wise you take things easy. During your antenatal, you'll normally be taught to engage in certain exercises that would help you keep fit. Driving is not one of such. It's both physical and mental. Keep in mind that your belly also gets bigger and close to the steering wheel when you sit.
What if there's an accident and your belly hits the wheel? What if the airbags gets deployed and pushes against you and your belly? Therefore, kindly drive only when it's absolutely necessary. Otherwise, take a bus or hire a chauffeur while you seat at the back seat.
2. Drive with utmost care
Nigerians love to tailgate. Don't join them while you're pregnant. You'll end up putting your life at risk. There can be a collision and you'll get injured. Also, avoid distractions while driving. Don't drink, eat or use your mobile phone while behind the wheel. Utmost care is needed when driving to avoid accidents.
Being pregnant, you are more prone to injuries, please focus on the road!
3. Buckle up your seat belt
FRSC officials have complained about pregnant women refusing to strap their seat belts because it makes them feel uncomfortable and they think their unborn child would be affected. Well, that school of thought is not correct. In fact, the seat belt ensures your safety and that of the child. What's important is how you wear a belt. Once you get into your car, pass the shoulder belt in a way that it snuggles in between your breasts and then to the side of the bump not directly above it. Then let the waist strap also go below your bump from one hip to the other. This still ensures your safety, so you won't worry about your child feeling pushed or tied.
>>> This is important for both pregnant women and children, check it! Seat belt syndrome: what you should know to protect your family!
4. Adjust your seat
How your bump was at 4 months will definitely be different from how it will be at 8 months. Therefore, your sitting position and the distance between your seat and the steering wheel should change as well. So adjust your seat till it's a bit far from the steering wheel then tilt it backwards as well. Sit with your hip area backwards than forward. If you wish to lean forward to see better, tilt your chest region towards the wheel, not your belly.
But as much as you can, try not to lean forward. This also keeps you safe for when there's an actual collision and the airbags are deployed.
If you think your health doesn't allow, just catch a taxi or hire a chauffeur instead
>>> And these tips are for your driver! Tips for driving on Nigerian roads - some of the worst roads ever!
5. Do not drive for too long
Do not drive for long while pregnant. This will not only stress you but also the child. Endeavour to take breaks regularly. Just 10 - 15 minutes to stretch your legs and relax your hips, won't hurt. You need blood to circulate around your body properly. Sitting for a long time affects that. Therefore, either you get a driver to take you to your destination or take 10 minutes breaks every hour - if you must drive that long distance.
6. Do not drive at night or during poor weather conditions
You might have the best visibility but you cannot say for the next driver. To avoid collisions that can harm you or your child, avoid driving at night. This also applies to driving when the weather is extremely cold or very hot. You need a lot of fresh air so proper ventilation is usually advised than relying on air conditioning alone - for pregnant women. But if it's foggy, rainy, too sunny or very cold, that cannot be achieved. So wait till the weather is ideal.
7. Go for regular check up
To avoid going into labour while driving, go for regular check up with your doctor. You won't want water breaking or the head of your child popping out while you're on the highway. At a check-up, the doctor will also advise you on whether you should even drive at all - depending on the stage of your pregnancy.
>>> Refer to this list for car components which need to be checked! 10 car components to check before a road trip
Also, make sure to inspect your car carefully before hitting the road
8. Drive slow and steady
Finally, one of the important driving tips for pregnant women is to always drive at a slow and steady pace. Other road users might not like it but it keeps you safe. When there's a collision, you'll likely maintain control and would less likely sustain major injuries - when you're at low or moderate speed.
>>> Catch up with latest car tips and advice on Naijauto.com!