In the car
Driving in pregnancy can be a bit uncomfortable but if you feel fine, there’s no reason to be house-bound. In the countdown to the birth, there are obvious signs which remind you that dashing around like your non-pregnant self used to isn’t advisable, partly from a comfort point of view and partly to ensure your health and your baby’s.
If you already have a child to look after, or need to work as far as possible up to the birth, slowing down isn’t always an option though it is important to create time within your day to take it easy, even if this means reorganising your own habits when kids aren’t around or after work hours. However, for many women, whether they are working or not, the last few weeks give them a chance to catch up with friends and family before the big day. Getting around by train or tube can mean an unpleasant crush – and often people won’t give up their seats even for a heavily pregnant woman! – but how safe is it to drive in late pregnancy?
Driving in late pregnancy
If you have not had any problems with your pregnancy and there are no medical reasons such as dizziness which might have made your GP or obstetrician advise against driving, then it is up to you and how you feel. However, there are a few things you might want to take into account.
- Do you feel tired? Not only does the strain of carrying your bump around tire you out, but a raised temperature (the increase in your body’s blood volume during pregnancy affects your body temperature) can make you sleepy. Add to this the fact that nights are often more restless when you’re trying to sleep with a big bump, and you can find you feel groggy all through the day.
Think about this before undertaking a long journey. Make sure you have a bottle of water within easy reach and that you have lots of breaks if the distance you need to travel is quite long.
- How are your legs? That might sound like a silly question, but if you suffer from pregnancy cramps bear in mind that long or traffic-filled drives will mean keeping your legs in one position for long periods and this might bring on one of your cramps. If you only get them at night you may well be fine but it is something worth bearing in mind. Whatever, make sure you try to flex your legs and circulate your ankles when you can.
- Wear a seat belt Don’t let your bump be an excuse to let safety slip.
- Don’t drive yourself to hospital when you are in labour If you know there won’t be anyone to drive you to hospital when you go into labour, discuss this with your midwife in advance. If you find when the big moment comes, that your partner cannot be there to drive you, use a taxi or call the hospital if it seems that an emergency ambulance is needed.