Do you know how to stay safe and legal as a pregnant driver? If not, read on and make sure you, and your baby, are protected while on the road.
Car insurance - you and the bump
Some people may think you can't drive while pregnant because of car insurance issues, but that simply isn't true. Insurers are very happy to cover women who choose to drive while pregnant so long as they feel safe doing so – this position is shared by all insurers, whether they offer black box car insurance or otherwise.
Is it safe?
Fortunately, a number of studies have looked into the impact of pregnancy on driving - "are pregnant women safe drivers?" - as well as the impact of driving on pregnancy - "is it safe to drive while pregnant?" And the overwhelming answer is "yes" to both questions.
Sometimes, as the pregnancy progresses, long journeys may become more difficult for physical reasons, and pregnant drivers may find they need to stop more regularly to stretch and to refuel with drinks and food. So, as long as the driver feels comfortable, they can continue driving as long as they want into the pregnancy.
Is wearing a seatbelt dangerous to mother or baby?
Researchers in the UK, America and Australia have carried out various studies, all of which conclude that wearing a seatbelt is the safest way to travel, and that applies for both mother and unborn child.
Dr Mark D. Pearlman, M.D. vice-chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan published a paper in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. In the report he said that his research had proved "pregnant women should wear a seat belt every single time they're in a car".
The study stated that if all women wore their seatbelts during pregnancy, ideally with the lap belt positioned under the pregnant abdomen, approximately 200 foetal lives would be saved each year and this figure does not include the prevention of an unknown number of pre-term births and placental abruptions that result in brain injury and other long-term disabilities when unrestrained pregnant women are involved in car crashes. *
Am I excused from wearing a seatbelt in the eyes of the law?
Despite the obvious difficulties of wearing a seatbelt when heavily pregnant, mothers-to-be are still legally obliged to wear one. The only exception to this would be in circumstances where the woman's doctor has provided a medical certificate exempting her from doing so. In the event that the woman is then stopped while not wearing her seatbelt, the exemption note will need to be handed over to police.
How to wear a seatbelt when pregnant?
Pregnant women should always wear a 3-point lap and diagonal seat belt positioned specifically to help keep forces clear of the bump and, as a result, the unborn baby.
Lap belt sections of the seat belt should be positioned under the abdomen; fitted over the pelvis and pubic bone and across hips. The cross-body strap should be placed away from the abdomen, the belt should run between the breasts. It is important that pregnant drivers spend time adjusting seatbelts until they find that they are safe and comfortable.
Many safety organisations advise that pregnant women buy a specially designed maternity seat belt adapter which will help to ensure the straps are positioned correctly on the woman's body.
When to stop driving?
As the due date looms and the bump becomes larger, some may feel it necessary to stop driving purely because it gets more and more difficult to squeeze in behind the steering wheel and still reach the pedals. Although there is no set date at which pregnant drivers should stop, most find that by the 30-week mark they feel the need to stop driving.
Black box car insurance for all drivers
Whether you are male, female, pregnant or not pregnant, Drive Wiser gives you the opportunity to receive great value black box car insurance which can help you become a safer driver and warns you of any dangerous or potentially risky driving behaviour, which could put you or other road users at risk.
If you've been involved in a car accident or you need to make a claim, the black box becomes a fact box and can help reveal the recorded facts of the incident. The in-car smart technology will be able to confirm details such as speed, road position and force of impact at the time of the accident. All these things can help your insurer to settle a claim quickly and if you are not at fault, we may be able to prove this, thereby protecting your No Claims Discount and your excess.
Plus, if your car is stolen, we can help the police track it (as long as you have a crime reference number).