Pregnant Women and Seat Belt Safety

seat belt

seat belt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traffic accidents are a huge risk not only for the general population, especially for pregnant women. It’s not uncommon for women to worry about the baby getting severely injured because of the seat belt during an accident. However, experts are warning expecting women that not buckling up could end in tragic results.

Risking Injury

Many expectant mothers drive until their expected dates for various reasons, ranging from work to casual driving, without incident. Some are in accidents that could cause them to lose their unborn children.

In some cases, pregnant mothers decide go without wearing their seatbelts. This behavior puts the woman and the baby at a high risk of injury. They incorrectly believe their unborn child is safer this way. Others simply don’t wear their seat belt properly.

Recent studies reported that pregnant women who are unrestrained during an accident are at a higher risk to lose the baby than mothers wearing their seat belts.

The study further reinforces the results of previous studies that connected seat belts and the chances of both the baby and mother surviving.  Experts concluded that the safety the belt provides from injury protects not only the expecting women, but for their unborn children as well.

Safety Studies

Researchers learned more about why using a seatbelt influences the outcome of a pregnancy. 126 expectant mothers, located in Duke University Hospital’s trauma registry, were studied. Women who were involved in collisions while within their second or third trimesters became the focus.

These women who had been in a car crash during their second and third trimesters were treated at Duke between 1994 and 2010. Within this group of mothers, 86 had their seatbelts during their car crashes while 12 didn’t.

In this study, each group contained three women who lost their pregnancies. This means 3.5 per cent of the mothers who wore a seat belt lost their baby, in comparison to the 25 per cent of mothers who didn’t have their belt on.

Additionally, 17 women driving or riding in vehicles without airbags had a larger possibility of their unborn children sustaining injury. The primary reason for the baby’s death is most likely from the placenta tearing away from the wall of the womb. This condition can be deadly for both the mother and the fetus.

How To Wear Your Seat Belt

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that seat belts are to be worn securely and low across your hip bones, just under your belly. They also recommend that your belly is located from the steering wheel as far as possible. Make sure to take extra care to drive without distractions like cell phones, eating or while tired.

There are some newer vehicle models that have a button so you can change the height of the brake and gas pedal as necessary. This feature can often be purchased as an option. If your car doesn’t have this feature, you can also buy a pedal extender to give you some more space between your stomach and your steering wheel.

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