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Spring is in the air, and it seems that every week someone new announces they’re expecting. While there are many things to worry about while pregnant, driving safety is almost always overlooked.

A new study recommends that pregnant women avoid driving (or riding in a vehicle) if possible. The study found that getting into a car is nearly as dangerous as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol—big no-no’s for expecting moms.

While this might sound preposterous, the data backs it up. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of traumatic fetal mortality and serious material injury during pregnancy in the Unites States.

While it is not realistic for pregnant women to stop driving, it is something that doctors should begin discussing with their patients – as they would any other safety concern. Pregnant women should consider driving less if possible. If you are pregnant and must ride in a vehicle, it is very important to properly wear your seatbelt. This means wearing the belt low and snug over the hips, and wearing the shoulder harness. While this may be uncomfortable, especially later in pregnancy, it can make a huge difference.

Other recommendations include being far from the steering wheel (in case of air-bag deployment), and taking extra care not to drive with distractions such as cell phones.

In the future, the risks of driving will be one more thing expecting parents discuss with their doctors. If you are pregnant, just be careful when undertaking this additional risk. As with most things during pregnancy, try to drive in moderation.

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