It May Feel Counter-Intuitive To Pull A Seat Belt Over That Giant Belly, But Study Shows Pregnant Women Need To Buckle Up

shutterstock_45281554Everyone knows you need to wear your seat belt. I never get into a car without strapping myself in, even though I am incredibly claustrophobic and actually hate how it feels to be strapped down to anything. It may sound ridiculous, but there is something about securing a seat belt around my giant, pregnant belly that seems a little counter-intuitive. I always find myself thinking, Where should I lay the strap? Over my bellybutton? Under it? Am I the only pregnant woman who feels like she’s doing something wrong when she practices seat belt safety during pregnancy?

Apparently I’m not. Results of a recent study show that some pregnant women don’t strap in or use other safety measures like airbags for fear of hurting their babies. Dr. Haywood Brown, the chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center is the senior author of a new study concerning seat belt use and pregnancy: “Brown said some women will disarm the airbag for fear that it will damage the baby in case of a crash, but ‘it’s not the smart thing to do because it will save your life if the airbag comes out.'”

Obviously. Yes, I admit this is totally obvious. And I do always strap myself in when I get in the car but the apprehension in the back of my mind sort of makes me understand why some pregnant women would be reluctant to strap in. Refraining from using a seat belt is a horrible idea though. Yahoo News outlines the results of the study:

To get a better sense of which women don’t use restraints and how that affects the outcome of their pregnancies, Brown and his colleagues searched through a trauma registry at Duke University Hospital.

They found 126 cases of women in their second and third trimesters who had been in a car crash and cared for at the hospital between 1994 and 2010.

Three fetuses – or 3.5 percent – died among the 86 mothers who were wearing a seatbelt during the accident.

Another three fetuses – 25 percent in this case – died among the 12 mothers who were not wearing a seatbelt.

“The bottom line is, you’ve got to wear your restraint because it decreases the risk not only for your injuries but injury to your child,” Brown told Reuters Health.

Clearly we all need to wear seat belts. It’s legislated and studies show that it keeps us all safer. So if you are a weirdo like me, and you find yourself questioning whether strapping into a car is safe for your unborn baby – rest assured that it is. Here are some guidelines on how to do it safely.

(photo: Dmitry Melnikov/

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