Since recent research has highlighted the link between car crashes and possible adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes, it’s absolutely critical for pregnant women to remain as safe as possible during automobile travel. Safercar.gov offers pregnant women a variety of safety tips for driving and riding in cars.

Automobile Crashes during Pregnancy

A study out of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health found that when compared with women who were not involved in car accidents, pregnant drivers had elevated rates of preterm birth, placental abruption and premature rupture of the membranes after a single wreck. They also found that non-seat belt use and lack of airbags were associated with elevated rates of selected adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Tips for Safe Travel During Pregnancy

• Always wear a seatbelt properly. Safercar.gov recommends placing the shoulder belt across your chest (between your breasts) and away from your neck. Additionally, make sure to secure the lap belt snugly below your belly, so that it is snug across your hips and pelvic bone. Never place a seatbelt under an arm or behind your back.
• Don’t turn the car’s airbag function off. Doctors still recommend pregnant women use airbags, when available.
• Adjust your seat. Safercar.gov recommends adjusting your seat as far back as possible when driving, making sure you can still comfortably and safely reach the pedals. Adjust your seat so you always keep at least 10 inches from the center of your chest and the steering wheel or dashboard.
• As a passenger, the backseat is always the safest location in the event of a crash.

Preparing for the Baby

Don’t wait until the last minute to get a car seat. Appropriate seats for newborns are typically installed in the rear-facing position in the back seat. Don’t forget to make sure your particular seat is compatible with your automobile. Not every seat fits in every car. You should install your car seat at least three weeks before your due date. Also, it’s a great idea to have it checked by a certified car seat technician prior to bringing the new baby home. Since keeping the baby safe is the number-one, top priority for new parents, it’s important to get the appropriate, properly-installed car seat before the little bundle of joy arrives.

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