Wearing Seatbelts During Pregnancy

Keep yourself and your baby safe when you get in the car.

About two-thirds of all pregnancy trauma in the United States is the result of car accidents. Research shows that properly wearing a seat belt -- whether you're pregnant or not -- can seriously reduce the risk of injury in a car accident.

Many women have concerns about how to wear a seat belt when they're pregnant -- and with good reason! When lap belts are improperly worn (over the dome of the uterus), they can significantly increase pressure on the baby and may possibly lead to fetal injury.

But that doesn't mean that pregnant women shouldn't wear seat belts. Quite the contrary! In fact, buckling up properly can now potentially save two lives. Regardless of the stage of pregnancy, seat belts should be used with both the lap belt and shoulder harness in place. Here are some guidelines on wearing it properly:

  • Place the lap belt below your expanding abdomen, across your hips.
  • Lay the shoulder belt diagonally between your breasts.
  • Make sure that both the lap and shoulder restraints are as snug as possible without it being uncomfortable.

Seat belt studies have been performed using a crash dummy that simulates a pregnant woman. These studies have shown that when a seat belt is worn properly, there's no potentially damaging force placed upon the uterus or the baby.

Sources: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; University of Michigan Health System

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.

American Baby

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