Seatbelts during pregnancy
Experts agree that everyone, including pregnant women, should wear a seat belt when riding in a car. When used properly, seat belts save lives and lower the chances of severe injury during car crashes.
Depending on how severe the car accident is, pregnant women could be at risk for miscarriage, preterm labor and other serious complications. In fact, the more injuries a mother has during a car accident, the greater the risk to her unborn baby. If the pregnant woman is wearing her seat belt properly at the time of the accident, she and her baby will face fewer injuries.
There are nearly 170,000 car crashes involving pregnant women every year. So it's important for moms in all stages of pregnancy to properly wear seat belts at all times when traveling in a car.
Guidelines for wearing a seat belt
- Always wear both the lap and shoulder belt.
- Buckle the lap strap under your belly and over your hips.
- Never place the lap belt across your belly.
- Rest the shoulder belt between your breasts and off to the side of your belly.
- Never place the shoulder belt under your arm.
- If possible, adjust the shoulder belt height to fit you correctly.
- Make sure the seat belt fits snugly.
Other helpful tips
- Driving can be tiring for anyone. Try to limit driving to no more than 5-6 hours per day.
- Never turn off the air bags if your car has them. Instead, tilt your car seat and move it as far as possible from the dashboard or steering wheel.
- If you are in a crash, get treatment right away to protect yourself and your baby.
- Call your health provider at once if you have contractions, pain in your belly, or blood or fluid leaking from your vagina.
Things to avoid
- Changing cat litter
- Hot baths, hot tubs and saunas
- Lead exposure from old pipes and faucets
- Mercury from broken bulbs and thermometers
- Pesticides and certain chemicals (check labels)