Pregnancy Information Seat Belt

Many mothers-to-be wonder if wearing a seat belt while pregnant could be harmful to their unborn child. In the event of a car accident, will the seat belt pressure cause fetal injuries?

The short answer is no, it will not. Wearing a seat belt while riding in a car is very important for a passenger’s safety, pregnant or not. However, there are still a few precautions that can be taken when riding in cars while pregnant, as well as ways to make wearing a seatbelt while pregnant less uncomfortable.

The Importance of Buckling Up

Strapping on a restrictive seat belt over a pregnant belly can be uncomfortable. Despite the slight discomfort you may feel, research shows that pregnant women need to buckle up. Wearing a seat belt correctly can reduce serious injuries to you and your unborn baby in a car accident, including miscarriage or early labor.

According to recent studies, about 200 fetuses are lost per year due to mothers not properly wearing their seat belts.

How to Wear a Seat Belt While Pregnant

For some pregnant women, strapping on a seat belt can be awkward — particularly later in a pregnancy. However, by buckling up correctly, you can minimize this discomfort.

If your seat belt does not fit around your belly, it’s suggested you buy a seat belt extension. The best protection for you and your baby is using both the lap and shoulder belt together.

From the moment you first discover that you are pregnant, it is a good idea to follow these helpful seat belt guidelines:

  • Do not place your lap seat belt over your belly; place the lap belt underneath your belly and on your hips. If you are involved in an accident, the belt will press against your pelvic bone, which minimizes impact to the uterus.
  • Double check that your seat belt restraints are secure.
  • Place the chest strap between your breasts. The position of the strap will keep you in the seat in case of an accident.

Air Bag Safety

Similar to seat belts, vehicle air bags are also an important safety measure to have while pregnant. Doctors recommend that pregnant women keep their air bag feature on. If possible, maintain a 10-inch distance from the airbag deployment spot. If your steering wheel has a tilt option, move it so it is aimed at your breast-bone. If the airbag is deployed, these adjustments will prevent the airbag from applying excessive force directly onto your abdomen.

When adjusting your seat, remember to allow yourself full access and control of the floor pedals and steering wheel for a safe drive.

Additional Safety Tips

Wearing a seat belt while pregnant can definitely help avoid injury during a car accident. However, practicing safe driving in general is an equally important safety measure. Some safety tips to follow are:

  • Do not search for things while driving.
  • Do your best not to be distracted while driving.
  • If something/someone needs personal attention in the vehicle, then find a safe place to park and address the situation.
  • Avoid talking on your cell phone or use a hands-free device.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.

Resources

Bilich, K. Wearing seat belts during pregnancy. Retrieved April 7, 2008, from the Health Discovery Web site: http://health.discovery.com/centers/pregnancy/americanbaby/seatbelts.html.

Paul, K. (April 2008). Buckle up baby. Retrieved April 7, 2008, from the Newsweek Web site: http://www.newsweek.com/id/130040/output/print.

Women’s Health Care Topics (n.d.). Seat belts during pregnancy. Retrieved April 7, 2008, from the Women’s Health Care Topics Web Site: http://www.womenshealthcaretopics.com/preg_auto_restraint.html.