Do You Have to Wear a Seatbelt When Pregnant?

Yes. Doctors recommend wearing a seatbelt when pregnant, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states:

Buckling up through all stages of your pregnancy is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself and your unborn child in a crash.”

Each year, seatbelts save approximately 14,955 lives, and buckling up can save you and your baby, too.

How a Pregnant Woman Should Wear a Seatbelt

If you are pregnant, wear the shoulder strap away from your neck and between your breasts and secure it so it does not fall off your shoulder. Wear the lap belt below your belly and make sure it fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone.

Never place the lap belt on top of your belly and keep your airbags on.

Can Pregnant Women Still Drive?

For the most part, driving during pregnancy is as safe as it is at any other time. As long as pregnant women are comfortable and can reach everything they need, they can still drive.

Nevertheless, pregnant women should drive more carefully than normal, especially during their second trimesters, when pregnancy hormones are running wild.

When driving, pregnant women should adjust their seats to upright, comfortable positions and maintain as much distance as possible between their bellies and their steering wheels. If a pregnant woman can no longer comfortably reach the steering wheel and pedals, she should take a break from driving until she has her baby.

To avoid getting tired, pregnant women should not drive for more than 5 to 6 hours per day.

What To Do After an Accident

Getting into a car accident can increase your risk for serious complications during pregnancy. After an accident, seek immediate medical attention – even if you feel fine. Make sure you and your baby are OK whether you were the driver or riding as a passenger, and watch for contractions, pain in your belly, or blood or fluid leaking from your vagina.

Car crashes can increase the risk of:

  • Preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks)
  • Placental abruption
  • PROM (premature rupture of the membranes)
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • And more

Without seatbelts and airbags, these complications are more likely. You can also get ejected from the vehicle during a crash.

Do what you can to keep yourself and your baby safe, and if something happens, do not hesitate to seek legal help.

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