Wearing Seatbelts In Pregnancy: Do I Have To?

Wearing seatbelts in pregnancy is one of those issues that people can be divided on. Some Moms believe that wearing the safety belt may harm their unborn babies. Others don't have any problem with wearing seatbelts in pregnancy.

So let's examine this rather important 'Pregnancy Myth' that seat belt wearing is dangerous during pregnancy. In fact the opposite is true and in order to protect your unborn baby it is imperative that all pregnant women wear their safety belts when traveling by car. That is whether you’re the driver or a passenger.

It's interesting to know that during pregnancy you’re at an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident. The University of Michigan did research and found that an alarming 6% - 7% of pregnant Moms are involved in a car crash during their pregnancy.

Not wearing your safety belt will put your unborn fetus at risk of serious injury and even death. They actually said that 200 fetal deaths could be prevented each year in America if all pregnant women wore their seat belts correctly.

How To Wear Safety Belts (seatbelts) Correctly

Many women are not aware of the correct way to position the seat belts. Current recommendations by the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and others suggest lap belts should be placed snugly under the abdomen and shoulder belts positioned diagonally across the chest. The shoulder portion of the belt should fit snugly between the breasts and cross the chest and abdomen diagonally. See below for more details and video.

Also, pregnant women should sit at least 10 inches back from the air bag or dashboard of the vehicle.

General Advice For Driving While Pregnant:

• During your 1st trimester wear your safety belt as you would normally.

• Follow all the regular automobile safety rules throughout pregnancy.

• If you’re having twins then you may have to stop driving before the end of your pregnancy – see how it goes & keep an open mind.

• Check the seat belt law in your area and follow it!

• If you have placenta previa ask your Ob/Gyn about driving.

• From your 2nd trimester on put a small cushion or folded blanket under your butt to raise you up so that you’re sitting on a flat surface. This can reduce the chances of a posterior baby and reduce the chance of back pain in pregnancy .

• Do not disable the air bags, as it can provide further protection for you and your unborn baby if there is a serious crash.

Also the American Academy of Family Physicians made these suggestions for pregnant women while travelling by car:

• Wear your seat belt with the lap belt beneath your belly and the shoulder strap positioned between your breasts and to the side of your belly.

• Move your seat back as far as possible if you have airbags. Tilt the seat to give your belly more space.

• If you aren't driving sit in the back seat as it’s the safest place to sit.

• Always see your doctor immediately after a car accident, even if you don't feel that you were hurt.

Here's a good Video on wearing seatbelts in pregnancy:

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