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Seat Belt Use Tied to Better Crash Outcomes for Pregnant Women

Casey Woodruff

When a woman becomes pregnant there are many things she must routinely think about. In addition to avoiding behaviors dangerous to a growing fetus such as smoking or drinking, certain foods must be passed over and sometimes different sleeping positions adopted. As it turns out, there is another thing all pregnant mothers should be sure to do–wear a seat belt. Car accidents are a daily occurrence throughout the Chicago area. These crashes involve individuals of all ages and genders, including women who are pregnant. While the message to buckle-up is commonly communicated, previously, some pregnant women may have foregone the practice out of fear that the seat belt could in some way injure the fetus they are carrying. A recent study however indicates that a woman and her unborn child’s best chance of surviving a car accident is when the woman is restrained by a seat belt. The study, which was conducted using a trauma registry from Duke University Hospital, looked at the medical records of pregnant women who had been admitted to the hospital after a car accident, during a 16 year span starting in 1994. All of the women were in either the second or third trimester of pregnancy. The results of the study are quite clear. Of the 86 pregnant women who were wearing seat belts at the time of an accident, only 3.5 percent lost the fetus due to injuries. On the other hand, 25 percent of the 12 mothers-to-be who were not wearing seat belts lost their unborn baby. Regardless of the circumstances, recovering from serious injuries suffered in a car accident can be a long and painful process, in some cases forever changing the life of the injured individual. If the injury inducing crash was due to negligent actions on the part of another person, a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. 

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Buckle up during pregnancy: study,” Kerry Grens, March 8, 2013

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