SAFETY ON THE ROAD FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
- HOW CAN PREGNANT WOMEN STAY SAFE ON THE ROADS WHILST DRIVING
- ARE THERE ANY SIMPLE TECHNIQUES TO AVOID STRESS DURING DRIVING
- CAN THE CORPORATES HELP IN ANY WAY TO COUNTER STRESS DUE TO DRIVING AMONST EMPLOYEES
Commuting is highly unavoidable in the entire term of pregnancy. The changing weathers, rain, and chaotic traffic bring all the hazards especially for the pregnant women when it comes to driving and being on road. Taking an example of Bangalore, it brings turbulence in the already increasing Bangalore traffic in its wake due to potholes and flooding. As per a Civic agency, there are more than 500 potholes in Bangalore city which can lead to accidents, injuries, death etc. This has a direct impact on the physical and mental health of an individual and the public in general. This situation poses a substantial risk to expecting mothers both for the mother and the baby. Considering the increase in career women commuting long distances to work and back, a few safety tips will go a long way to make driving safer and less stressful.
Driving two wheelers during pregnancy
It is not generally advisable to drive two wheelers during pregnancy due to risk of falling, losing balance and fewer safety features. Pollution related nausea, light headedness also may contribute. As pregnancy progresses, balancing the vehicle during turning etc may become difficult.
Driving four wheelers during pregnancy
- Wearing the seat belt correctly- The recommendations are to wear the shoulder portion of the belt over the collarbone and running across the chest between the breasts and the tummy portion under the bump and across the upper thighs, as low as possible.
- Try to be a passenger- Whenever possible, and as the pregnancy progresses, try not to drive and instead be a passenger. The central seat in the rear is the best place to be for a pregnant passenger and if possible, with the seat best across your thighs.
- Positioning- If possible, try to position yourself at least 10” from the steering wheel and tilt the steering wheel towards your chest instead of the belly.
- Air bags are considered safe for the pregnant woman.
- If there was any collision or a big jerk whilst driving, it is important to inform the doctor and take the necessary advice. Be aware that even if there was no direct injury to your bump, there may be a risk of some complications. In general, your baby is quite safe and protected inside with all the layers of the abdomen and the fluid around the baby.
If driving on a long journey as a passenger, the following tips may help:
- Taking frequent breaks and stretching your legs and doing some simple leg and feet exercises such as rotation, walking forwards and backwards will help blood circulation and relieve aches.
- Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated especially in the hot climate will prevent fatigue.
- Avoiding eating anything in the roadside restaurants and dhabas may avoid food borne infections.
- Using rest rooms only in good hotels and restaurants or relieving yourself in the open with due caution will help avoid urine and skin infections. Keeping hand sanitizer and toilet tissue comes in handy.
- Please carry your doctor’s notes with you wherever you go.
How to avoid stress during driving
- Preparation: Having a good breakfast; carrying a picnic basket with fruits, yoghurts or cereal bars or rolls etc with you will help you beat hunger. Of course, avoid eating on the go. Drink plenty of water but avoid plastic bottles. Empty your bladder just before leaving your house.
- Avoid bumpy roads and map your travel well.
- Practice deep breathing whilst driving.
- Assume an attitude of forgiving towards those vehicles around you who are breaking rules, overtaking or honking etc.
- A board of caution such as Expecting Mom-on-board may help other drivers steer clear.
- Try to maintain a good gap between the vehicle in the front. In general, you must be able to see the rear bumper of that car clearly.
- Listen to good soothing music on the go instead of loud music with beats etc.
- A calming relaxing car perfume may help some to avoid nausea and stay calm.
- Of course, following traffic rules, being hands-free and avoiding calls entirely whilst driving can help reducing stress.
- At every junction, practice deep breathing, watch greenery around you and relax your legs and feet and do some stretches of upper shoulder and back.
How can employers or corporate help pregnant women travel to work?
It is important for everyone to realize that commuting to work is a stressful part of one’s day especially for pregnant women. Hence, the following recommendations may help in maximizing productivity and maintaining good health of the employees
- Schedule a short period of unwinding time for all employees.
- Provide water dispensers at the lobby
- Provide charts or standees for various stretching exercises, deep breathing and relaxation in a specified area or on the laptop screensaver etc.
- Provide pregnant women enough time between their jobs to stretch, walk around and hydrate themselves.
These tips help you look after your health and stay safe. However, it is better to consult your Obstetrician to know what is good for you as it differs from person to person.