Healthy Living

Experts give advice on driving while pregnant

Monday, May 16, 2011

Doctors don't give a lot of detailed medical advice when it comes to driving when you're pregnant, but women do have concerns, and experts say every year, about 170,000 car crashes involve pregnant women.

With her first pregnancy, Sharon Duda, drove until the very end. Now, she's pregnant again and drives around with her 1-year-old Houston.

Safety is always her on mind, and she has concerns about the airbag.

"I do aim my steering wheel up," she said.

The engineers at Ford are aware of airbag concerns and recommend pregnant women sit as far back as they can in their seat, but still reach the pedals.

"Certain vehicles have pedal adjustments, so you're able to adjust the pedals all the way up," said Ford spokesman Alex Tamez.

Tamez said engineers wear an empathy suit to understand a pregnant woman's perspective. In crash tests, they use pregnant dummies and virtual computer programs to see where safety improvements can be made.

"There's been a lot of issues with how to sit in the car, how to use a seatbelt properly," Tamez said.

The correct way to use a seatbelt is to place the lap belt part under your abdomen across your upper thighs. Position the shoulder harness between your breasts, and adjust your seating position so the belt crosses your shoulder without cutting into your neck.

Some women think that a seatbelt will harm their baby in the event of a crash, but experts say if you wear it properly, there is no clear evidence that safety restraints harm the baby or your uterus. If you want to survive a crash, you must wear a seatbelt.

"I think everybody should wear a seatbelt, as long as you wear it properly," Tamez said.

No one can predict when a woman will begin labor, so some doctors recommend driving with another adult during your last month of pregnancy. Doctors also advise not to drive or sit for more than two hours to prevent blood clots.

Don't wear seatbelts with bulky clothing, and don't slip the shoulder harness under your arm. In the event of a crash, this may harm you and your baby

"Just be safe," Duda said. "Don't text, don't talk on your cell phone."

Ford is also including illustrations in all their manuals on the proper way to wear a belt while pregnant.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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health, pregnancy, healthy living, denise dador
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