Is It Safe To Drive During Pregnancy?

For an expecting mother, the last few months of pregnancy are a very exciting time. Between attending showers, setting up the baby’s room, and brainstorming to pick the perfect name, there are so many joyful things for mothers, their partners, and their loved ones to do as they eagerly await the newest arrival. Whether mothers are young and expecting their first child or adding another child to the family, there is so much to look forward to as the due date gets closer and closer.

But after a fatal accident over the weekend in Pasco County, one young woman is never going to experience such joys.

Pregnant Teen Killed in Crash

The crash occurred on Sunday night in Little Road in Hudson. The victim, who was sixteen and seven months pregnant, was in the passenger seat of a Ford Ranger when another vehicle pulled out of a private driveway and into their path. The pregnant teen and her unborn baby were killed during the collision, which heavily impacted the passenger’s side and caused both vehicles to flip, but the 19-year-old driver of her vehicle survived with minor injuries. ABC Action News did not report on the condition of the other driver, a 75-year-old woman.

The loss of a teenager and an unborn child is a massive tragedy. It also raises questions about the safety of driving and traveling while pregnant. Is it safe for pregnant women to drive? Should they avoid cars entirely?

How Pregnancy Impacts Driving

During the second trimester of pregnancy, the risk of being involved in a car accident rises by about 41%. This means that for every 1,000 women, there are about 7.7 visits to the ER per year during the second trimester. Many times, accidents occur due to the reckless or negligence of other drivers, but pregnancy also presents a unique set of risks.

During pregnancy, women may experience symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Mood swings
  • Body pains
  • Cramping

If a woman experiences these kinds of side effects while behind the wheel, it could affect her ability to drive. For example, fatigue could lead to poor judgement or a slowed thinking process, while nausea or cramping could distract them from focusing on the road. Even when a woman is a great, responsible driver, pregnancy can still have a negative impact on her driving abilities or lead to drowsy or distracted driving.

However, being pregnant does not mean that a woman should give up driving or riding in the car completely! It does not have to hinder everyday activities, and doesn’t necessarily have to get in the way of work, travel, errands, or anything else that involves getting behind the wheel.

The Importance of Seatbelts

Pregnant women, like everyone else, should always wear seatbelts. According to most sources, the proper way to wear a seatbelt while pregnant is underneath the stomach. If a seatbelt is lying across the abdomen, a sudden jolt during an accident could tear the placenta. Expecting mothers should also continue to use airbags in their cars. While the force of airbags seems like it could hurt the baby, it actually protects both the mother and baby, as long as the seatbelt is being worn properly. To alleviate concerns about airbags, pregnant women can also adjust the steering wheel. They should tilt it farther away from their stomach.

Since accidents often happen as the result of other drivers, they are unfortunately not always preventable. After an accident, a pregnant woman should still check with her doctor, even if she feels fine. A doctor can determine if they are any complications caused by the accident.

Pregnant women, like all other drivers, should listen to their bodies and instincts. If someone feels too tired, sick, or distracted to drive, regardless of their situation, they should not get behind the wheel. While driving, always be safe. Everyone, not just expecting mothers, have other people counting on them to get home safely.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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