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Fact vs. Fiction Regarding Seat Belt Use While Pregnant

Pregnant woman buckling seat beltIt is no secret that riding in a vehicle without wearing a seat belt puts your life in danger. It also puts drivers in Texas at risk for fines of up to $200 when they don’t buckle up. Seat belts save lives by preventing occupants from being ejected from the vehicle and from hitting their heads against the windshield. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and death by about half. Of the teenagers aged 13 to 20 who died in car crashes in 2012, about 55 percent of them were not wearing their seatbelts.

Wearing a Seat Belt When You’re Pregnant

After knowing all of the reasons why you should always wear a seat belt when in a vehicle, it’s difficult to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to. Pregnant women, however, have valid concerns about the harm seat belts could cause their unborn children, especially during collisions.

The concern among expectant mothers is primarily the lap belt and the damage it can cause to the unborn baby. Lap belts often rest against the area in which the placenta is located. A lap belt that places a large amount of pressure on that area can cause a variety of problems, including damage to the placenta, which can lead to bleeding, preterm labor, and death to the baby. Quite often the potential problems can occur during an accident, when the seat belt is activated and keeps you in place. All that pressure and restraint can result in the seatbelt harming the baby.

The Risk of Not Wearing a Seat Belt While Pregnant

Although wearing a seat belt while pregnant does present a risk, the danger of getting into an accident while not wearing a seat belt is far greater. Being involved in a car crash puts expectant mothers in danger of:

  • Miscarriage. The sheer stress of being involved in a car accident can cause a woman to miscarry, as can any internal or external injuries that can happen. A miscarriage occurs when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Placental abruption. A blow to the stomach can cause placental abruption, in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. This serious condition can mean certain death for the baby, as the placenta supplies the baby with food and oxygen throughout the pregnancy.
  • Stillbirth. A mother who is involved in an accident is at risk for experiencing a stillbirth, which is defined as a baby who dies in the womb after the 20-week mark.
  • Preterm labor. Stress from a car accident can cause a woman to go into preterm labor. Preterm labor occurs when a mother goes into labor before the 37-week mark. If the mother goes into labor too early, the baby risks serious, life-long health complications, as well as the chance of death.
  • Premature rupture of the membranes. This potentially serious condition can occur as the result of being hit in the stomach area with an object during a collision. When the sac around the baby ruptures before the mother goes into labor, he runs the risk of being born too early. 

Expectant Car Accident Victims Have Rights

If you are an expectant mother who was injured in an accident that was no fault of your own, you may be entitled to receive compensation that can help cover medical costs, vehicle repair, and time lost from work. The attorneys of Wayne Wright know what you have gone through because of your accident, and will do what it takes to remove some of the burden of the accident from you. Schedule your consultation to speak with an attorney about your case by calling 800-237-3334.