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by Kerry Haggard a writer and mom to the two most beautiful boys that ever there were. She believes that there’s no excuse not to strap children in with seatbelts or car seats, just as there’s no reason to not have comfortable and practical car that’s still good looking and fun to drive. Follow her on Twitter @KerryHaggard

I’m all done with being pregnant and having babies, but I do recall being five months’ pregnant with my second son and having to draw the line quite firmly at the prospect of being a passenger in my husband’s Mini Cooper S at the time. They’re awesome cars… if you want to feel every bump in the road, and if you’re the driver, who can anticipate tight bends and sharp turns.

The cars that are great for your pre-parenting life are not necessarily the ideal vehicles when you’re driving with a big belly, or indeed when you have a car seat to consider.

If you’re looking for a new vehicle to meet the needs of your new family, start by looking at the size of the boot – can it accommodate a pram AND your Saturday shopping? If you’re brave enough to be expecting baby number three – can the back seat accommodate three car chairs? And, if you’re newly pregnant – look at how and where the airbags are placed, and if the car’s steering can move up and down, as well as backwards and forwards, to make it comfortable when you’re driving later in your pregnancy.

 Some safety tips for expectant mothers from Ford’s safety engineers

 Wearing Your Seatbelt Correctly – Make sure that your seatbelt is positioned below your abdomen, across your hips. The shoulder strap should be between your breasts, and make sure to tug on the belt to make sure it’s nice and snug.

Move Back – Move your seat back to a comfortable distance when you are driving. Reclining the seat slightly can also help. Doing this will protect your stomach in the event of an airbag deployment.

Support Your Back – If you have pregnancy-related back pain, place a small circular back pillow to support your lower back or use a rolled up towel. This will help increase comfort while you’re driving.

Take a Break – If you’re driving for a lengthy period, take regular breaks to increase blood flow to your feet. Feet and ankles are prone to swelling and this can worsen if you sit by sitting for long periods. Take a break to gently move your feet around, rotate your ankles, and wiggle your toes.

Be the Passenger – When possible, be a passenger. Sitting in the backseat is the safest spot in the car for an expectant mother. If you sit in the front seat, make sure to push the seat back as far as you can to protect from airbag deployment.

Have Your Information –Wherever you go, make sure to bring along your pregnancy record card, which includes a detailed list of medical information, test results, and emergency contacts.

Here’s a quick link to a video produced by Ford, to show how they go about designing their cars with the needs of pregnant women in mind.

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