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Pregnancy, as beautiful and wondrous as it is, has a slew of limitations for expectant carriers. In addition to being unable to throw away kitty litter, take a dip in the hot tub, or cross the country via air travel, pregnant mothers are being told to be extra vigilant when driving. Why? A 2014 study found that accident rates during the second trimester of pregnancy rose by around 42 percent, with researchers attributing the rise to hormonal changes like fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and stress that give way to driver error.


 Discomforts of any kind will affect drivability, and diet, health, and a lack of exercise may cause cramps and other pains as well. If you’re pregnant or expect to be driving with someone who is, here are some precautions you should take before going on a long (or short) drive:



Re-Evaluate How You Drive

 Anytime there is a major change in your life, you should take the time to reevaluate your daily habits. Pregnancy is no different. Before starting your car, take a minute to properly adjust your mirrors, seat position, and the status of your car’s mechanics, like if you need gas, the air in your tires or a warning light indicates you need an oil change. As your pregnancy progresses and sitting comfortably behind the wheel becomes more and more of a challenge, you might want to consider investing in a tummy shield, which helps you comfortably and correctly wear a seat belt.


It also helps to consciously take in road conditions, your route, and where you’re going. With GPSs declaring directions to you at every turn and phone notifications demanding our immediate attention, it’s easy to put your mind and body on autopilot and forget to focus. 



Prepare for Emergencies

 Emergencies don’t always have to be dire or directed at you. There might be a road hazard, like a fire, which shuts down the road, leaving you stuck in traffic for long stretches of time. Stocking your car with everything from blankets and snacks to medical supplies and mechanical gear is a good way to ensure you’re equipped for a roadway emergency. Keep your supplies organized inside a single back inside your trunk so they’re easily accessible should you need them. 


 And since emergencies are by nature unexpected, you should always let people know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive, particularly if it’s outside your daily commute. While it might seem odious, it’ll ensure people know where you are before emergency strikes (and it’ll force you to actually leave on time).


It also helps to review how to safely pull off to the side of the road, a skill few people realize the essentiality of until it’s their time to pull off the highway and change a flat, check to see if they’ve hit some debris, or otherwise address an emergency situation.



Sleep (But Not When You’re Driving)

 Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. The stress of pregnancy alone can make getting an adequate amount of sleep difficult; add-on work and other life stress and it’s easy to see why a pregnant woman would be tired when they’re hitting the road. 


In addition to hitting the hay earlier, try keeping electronics out of the bedroom, drinking more water (being hydrating helps you stay alert and energized), and napping when you can.


Go Public

Public transportation can be fairly daunting for some people, but it comes with some significant advantages for those who worry about the financial drain driving in a city often incurs.


Take the city of San Diego’s roads, for example. While San Diego is well known as a hotspot destination for travel and leisure, the city is also infamously riddled with potholes. Potholes are road dangers which aren’t just annoying and costly when they damage your car but pose a threat to your safety as drivers swerve unexpectedly to avoid them.


When it comes to cities, it might just be best to avoid driving and instead opt for public transportation. In addition to being relatively cheap and convenient, you’ll be able to ride back home while relaxing in the safety of an unencumbered train or a large, visible, slow-moving bus, an assertion supported by research on the subject.


But if public transportation simply isn’t an option for you because of your geographical location or it unnaturally lengthens your commute, ask coworkers or other employees in your building if they’d be interested in carpooling. This option will come in handy the closer you are to your due date as it’s definitely not a good idea to drive while in labor.



Driving While Pregnant

 As much as data might suggest increased risks, that doesn’t mean there should be a stigma against pregnant mothers driving. It just means being more cognizant of our bodies and our focus when preparing to get on the road, whether we’re expecting soon or planning for the future. 

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