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Pregnant Women: Wear a Seat Belt

Submitted by jrlaw on Apr 2nd, 2008

While many women question the safety of wearing a seat belt, a University of Michigan study released today found that pregnant women who wear a seat belt greatly reduce the chance that their unborn babies will be seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle accidents. That's important, since the study found that 6 to 7 percent of pregnant women are involved in some type of car crash during their pregnancy.

Approximately 370 fetuses are killed in car crashes each year in the US. If all pregnant women wore seat belts, the researchers found that about 200 of those lives would have been spared. Through detailed analyses of past crashes, the study found that the risk of fetal death or serious complications in a motor vehicle accident involving a woman at least 20 weeks pregnant was reduced by 84 percent if that woman was wearing a seat belt. The study also found that the mothers' lives were more at risk if not wearing a seat belt.

The study's leader, Dr. Mark Pearlman, suggested the following tips for proper seat belt use by pregnant women:
- The lap strap should be placed under the belly as much as possible, across the hips.
- The shoulder strap should be placed between the breasts and to the side of the belly.
- Seat belt straps should not go directly across the stomach and should be below the belly button as low they can comfortably go.
- The seat belt should be snug, not loose.

This is key information that will hopefully serve to protect many unborn babies and their mothers when they're involved in a motor vehicle crash.