Car developers in the UK are formulating production models with the pregnant driver and passenger in mind. The new model is called - Expecting and plans to change how automobiles are designed to increase the safety of pregnant drivers and passengers.

As women grow and change during pregnancy, the cars they drive do not change. The steering wheel becomes all too close to the abdominal area and the seat belt does not fit comfortably around the tummy. Growth in the breast and thigh area tend to change the way pregnant mothers sit behind the wheel or in the passenger seat, which accounts for even more danger in the car.

Automobile designers are taking the health of the pregnant women very seriously with the creation of the Expecting computer model. The model was created by Serpil Acar, Department of Computer Science at Loughborough University, Alix Weekes of Thatcham MIRRC and David van Lopik of Atkins Aviation and Defence Systems. The researchers call the UK home where thousands of pregnant women are involved in car accidents every year.

The trip measured 100 women who were at different times in their pregnancy. A total of 48 measurements were taken from each woman in various seated positions. The result of these measurements was the Expecting computer model.

Expecting is an auto model created with a 38-week pregnant woman in mind. Taken into account are the position of the abdomen, placenta, and fetus within the abdomen. Researchers are now using the model as part of their crash test simulations to reveal the potential risk to both baby and mother in the event of a car accident.

The Expecting model could be used by auto manufacturers to create vehicles that are safe for every driver and passenger, including those carrying an additional passenger on board.


Source: International Journal of Vehicle Design - 2009