Driving while pregnant is usually absolutely fine, however there are some things to keep in mind. Here we provide safety guidelines on travelling by car during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, if you drive or you are a passenger in a car, keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Always wear your seatbelt when driving whilst pregnant, unless you have been given an exemption certificate from your GP. If you're stopped by the police and you're not wearing your seatbelt, you will be asked to produce your exemption certificate.
- When putting on your seatbelt, make sure the top part goes over your collarbone and between your breasts, whilst the lower strap lies across your thighs and hips and under your bump. You should avoid ‘lap only belts’ as they have been shown to cause serious injuries to unborn children in the event the car suddenly brakes.
- Airbags are considered safe for pregnant women to use. However, to be safe, you should move your seat back and then tilt it to get some distance between your bump and the steering wheel. As your tummy grows you should adjust your seat further away from the steering wheel.
- Avoid long distance travel during pregnancy if possible. If you do have to go on a long journey, try and share the driving with someone else. Plan to stop at least every 90 minutes for a toilet break and to stretch your limbs. Be sure to eat and drink regularly too.
- If you are in an accident, no matter how minor, it's best to get checked out by a doctor to be safe.
As with anyone driving, make sure your car is maintained and serviced, you have relevant maps or navigations devices (if you need them) and your phone is charged, especially if you're driving on your own and/or at night.
NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.
NHS Choices has further information on travelling whilst pregnant and the EHIC card.
General advice for women driving alone is posted by the AA.