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You can keep driving throughout your pregnancy – unless your midwife explicitly advises against it – but you may need to make a few adjustments as your pregnancy progresses. Get practical tips to make driving more comfortable and find out about learning to drive and taking a driving test when pregnant.

Travelling by car

If you’re enjoying a complication-free pregnancy, there’s no reason to stop driving. You can continue for as long as it feels comfortable, provided you can reach the wheel and controls.

But for some women, pregnancy symptoms can mean that driving becomes impractical; if you’re feeling exceptionally tired, for example, or you’re suffering from morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum. Always follow the advice of your midwife and if you’re unsure, ask.

Safe driving in pregnancy

If you feel OK to continue, here’s how to make driving when pregnant safer and more comfortable:

  • Adjust your seat as your bump grows. Reclining may help but make sure you can still reach the wheel.

  • Your lap seat belt should run underneath rather than across your bump, and your shoulder belt should run above your bump, across the breast bone.

  • Airbags should be switched on; they are still safe to use and will protect you and your bump in the event of an accident.

  • Take breaks to avoid over-tiredness. If you’re suffering from swollen ankles, stretch and flex your legs to boost circulation when you stop.

  • When getting in and out of the car, go slow and swivel around completely, placing both feet on the floor before standing. This will help to avoid straining any ligaments in your hips and pelvis, and reduce the discomfort cause by SPD (Symphysis Pubis Disorder).

  • A lumbar pillow placed behind you can support your spine, while a coccyx pillow can be used to raise you up to a more comfortable angle.

  • Being a passenger can make <pregnancy nausea> worse. In which case, take a pillow and try to sleep through it.

  • Make sure you always have your mobile phone in the car – and that it’s charged.

  • Keep your car well maintained. If it’s been a while, now is a good time to get your car serviced.

If you are involved in an accident, however minor, or your car’s airbags are deployed whilst driving, see your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

View references

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1. Davies, S., Lum, J., Skouteris, H., Byrne, L. and Hayden, M. (2018). Cognitive impairment during pregnancy: a meta-analysis. The Medical Journal of Australia, [online] 208(1), pp.35-40. Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2018].

2. Redelmeier, D., May, S., Thiruchelvam, D. and Barrett, J. (2014). Pregnancy and the risk of a traffic crash. Canadian Medical Association Journal, [online] 186(10), pp.742-750. Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2018].

3. GOV.UK. (2018). Driving test: cars: If you have a disability, health condition or learning difficulty - GOV.UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2018].

4. National Sleep Foundation. (2018). Sleep Topics - National Sleep Foundation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2018].

Last reviewed: 9th February 2018

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