Preparing for a new baby is an exciting time in your life, and you naturally want to make sure you do everything you can to protect your partner and baby-to-be. Yet, one of the most commonly overlooked safety risks is one that your partner most likely engages in every day. According to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, approximately one out of every fifty women will be involved in a car accident during pregnancy. Fortunately, you can minimize the risk of serious injuries during an accident by informing your partner about the following precautions pregnant women should take while traveling in a vehicle.
Show Her How to Buckle Up Correctly
As your partner's pregnancy advances, they may find that using a seat belt becomes awkward. However, wearing a seat belt is a must, and using one the proper way is quite simple. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends placing the lap strap just beneath the woman's belly so that it rests high on her thighs. The shoulder strap should also go off to the side so that no part of the seat belt ever goes directly across the stomach. This can reduce the possibility of a seat belt injuring the baby in an accident.
Increase the Distance from the Steering Wheel
Towards the end of pregnancy, your partner's belly will inch closer and closer to the steering wheel. EMS World reports that the most common fetal injury resulting from an accident is head trauma that occurs due to the baby being compressed between the mother's pelvic bones and the steering wheel. Encourage your partner to sit at least ten inches away from the steering wheel, and adjust it so that it tilts toward her breast bone rather than her stomach.
If necessary, you can get pedal extenders to make sure she can comfortably reach the controls. If contact with the steering wheel does occur during a vehicular collision, then the baby's development will need to be monitored more frequently for the duration of the pregnancy, which can add up to increased medical costs that a car accident lawyer can help you recover.
Know How to Handle an Accident
If an accident occurs, it is important for your partner to call their doctor right away. Ideally, they should be examined for potential injuries that may not be noticed immediately. If your partner experiences any abdominal pain, cramping or bleeding, then they should seek emergency treatment. Once your partner has received medical care, you will then need to begin working with a car accident attorney who is experienced in these types of cases, since maternal and fetal injuries increase the liability costs involved in your claim. Seeking treatment and representation right away can protect your partner and baby from further harm.
Although the safest way for a pregnant woman to travel is in the passenger seat, that just may not be practical for your growing family. As the expectant dad, you have a powerful role to play in protecting the people you hold dear from harm. As you coach your partner on the safest ways to drive while pregnant, make sure to add the numbers to her doctor and a car accident attorney to your phone contacts so that you always have the information you need should an emergency arise.