Health considerations on alcohol and tobacco use and safety tips for the home, in the car and at the gym.

Your body is experiencing many changes. It’s important to think about your safety and how things around you can affect you and your baby’s health.

General safety tips for pregnant women

Travelling

When travelling in a car, always wear a seat belt.

  • Keep the belt over your waist and chest - not under your arm or behind your back.
  • Keep the seat in the upright position. Do not recline your seat while driving, as the belt will then be too loose.
  • Find an alternative to driving. Do not drive if you don’t have to.
  • To create more space between you and the airbag, move the front seat as far as you back as you can.

If travelling by air, check with your airline on their policy for pregnant women. Find tips to improve your comfort when flying.

Zika

The Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended that pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should avoid travel to countries with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks. Learn more about the Zika virus.

Exercising while pregnant

Exercising while pregnant can help minimize some of the not so pleasant side effects of pregnancy like leg cramps, swollen feet, constipation, fatigue, backaches and shortness of breath.

Find activities you enjoy and modify as the pregnancy progresses. Be aware of your body. Your ligaments will be more relaxed in pregnancy, which can put you at higher risk of injury.

When you are pregnant be sure to avoid or limit any sports or activities, for example hot (Bikram) yoga, that may cause your body temperature to rise too high. Find tips on exercising safely. And always speak to your health care provider.

Sex while pregnant

It is perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy (unless advised otherwise by your health care provider).

However, some women may experience changes in their level of sexual desire as symptoms of pregnancy or increased sensitivity of the vulva and breasts may occur. Communication is a key to discovering how to continue to have an intimate relationship throughout pregnancy.

Get the facts on having sex while pregnant.

Relationship safety

Violence, abuse, sexual abuse and trauma all impact the emotional and physical health of pregnant women. Intimate partner violence - a pattern of physical, sexual, or emotional violence - can increase while you are pregnant or after you have the baby. It is not your fault.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, abuse or sexual abuse in your relationship, get help. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Our Embrace Clinic provides follow-up medical care to survivors of recent violence. It is free, confidential medical care with your safety and privacy in mind.

VictimLink BC, a confidential helpline available in 110 languages, seven days a week. It provides information, support and referral services in your neighborhood.

  • Toll free: 1-800-563-0808
  • For deaf and hearing impaired assistance (TTY): 604-875-0885
  • Email: VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca

Transition houses, a safe shelter for women, with or without their babies, may also be available in your area. Visit the BC Society of Transition Houses to learn more.