Should You Use a Seat Belt While Pregnant?

Pregnant driving on her way to the hospital.

Pregnant driving on her way to the hospital.Wearing a seat belt while pregnant may seem like a no-brainer, but did you know that it could be the ultimate safety measure for you and your little one? At Butler Kahn, we believe in the power of protection, especially on the road. Not only does buckling up keep you secure during unexpected turns, but seat belts and airbags used together can safeguard you and your baby if you should be in an accident. 

Should You Wear a Seat Belt While Pregnant?

Medical professionals agree that pregnant women should continue to wear seat belts. Seat belts and airbags are the most effective means of protecting you and your baby in a collision.

How Dangerous Is Being in an Accident While Pregnant?

Being in an accident while pregnant can be incredibly dangerous for the mother and the baby. One in twelve pregnancies is complicated by trauma, and one of the leading causes of non-obstetric pregnancy trauma is motor vehicle crashes. According to American Family Physician, 90 percent of traumatic injuries pregnant women suffer are classified as minor. However, even minor trauma can result in pregnancy loss. A traumatic injury can result in miscarriage or preterm labor.

A car accident can also cause placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus, resulting in serious bleeding and a lack of oxygen for the baby. In rare cases, the impact of a crash can cause a uterine rupture, which can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby. Pregnant women should always wear a seat belt to minimize the risk of these complications.

Are Seat Belts Mandatory in Georgia?

According to Georgia Code Section 40-8-76, all drivers and front-seat passengers in a motor vehicle must use a safety belt or child restraint system when riding on a public road unless they qualify for an exception, such as having a physician’s statement that says the person cannot wear a seat belt due to physical or medical reasons or delivers mail or newspapers. If a child under eight years old is riding in a motor vehicle, they must be properly restrained in a child restraint system or booster seat, and if the child is under 17 years old, the child must always use a seat belt.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) emphasizes the importance of wearing a seat belt and the seatbelt’s role in reducing fatalities and severe injuries in motor vehicle crashes. A seat belt violation can result in a fine of up to $50.00 and one point on your driver’s license.

Are Seatbelts Safe While Pregnant?

During pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends wearing a seatbelt to protect the mother and baby. While pregnant, you should wear a lap belt under your belly and across your hips. Be sure to wear shoulder straps over the chest.

Are Airbags Safe While Pregnant?

Airbags can provide additional comfort and safety in a car accident. But, they can pose a risk to a woman who is pregnant. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), airbags can potentially cause severe or fatal injuries if the vehicle occupant is too close or comes in direct contact with a deploying airbag.

This is because airbags deploy with a significant amount of force and can cause blunt-force trauma. However, the NHTSA also states that the benefits of airbags outweigh the risks in most cases.

Car Safety Tips to Follow While Pregnant

Pregnancy can bring about many changes to a woman’s body. That’s why taking extra precautions before getting on the road is wise. Here are some car safety tips that pregnant women should follow:

  • Wear a seatbelt and ensure it fits correctly: Position the lap belt under the belly and snugly across the hips. You should place the shoulder strap between your breasts and away from your neck.
  • Sit as far away from the airbag as possible: Keep the steering wheel at a distance, but make sure you can still reach the pedals.
  • Avoid long road trips: It’s important to take breaks and stretch your legs to prevent blood clots and swelling in the legs.
  • Adjust the headrest: Position the headrest to support the head and neck and help prevent injuries in the event of a car accident.
  • Seek medical attention after an accident: Even if there are no visible injuries, it’s important to see a doctor after a car accident to ensure both the mother and the baby are safe.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident While Pregnant?

Being involved in a car accident while pregnant can be a traumatic experience, but it’s essential to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of both the mother and the unborn child. Here are some steps to follow after a car accident while pregnant:

  • Seek medical attention: No doubt you immediately went to the doctor after your accident to be sure you and the baby were safe. Be sure to continue under your doctor’s care, and have every test or visit with a specialist they recommend. This not only ensures that you get the care you need, but it also provides documentation of any injuries you or the baby sustained in the accident.
  • Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Hire an Atlanta car accident lawyer: If another driver’s negligence caused the accident, an Atlanta car accident lawyer could help you recover compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. They can get copies of the police report, obtain information about the at-fault party’s insurance policy, and gather evidence to support your case.
  • Keep a pain journal: Make notes in a journal every day about any symptoms you’re feeling, record any medical visits, procedures, or tests you undergo, and write details about how the accident has affected your ability to function as usual in your daily life.

Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

At Butler Kahn, we understand the challenges and concerns that come with being injured in a car accident you didn’t cause, especially while pregnant. If you have been hurt in a crash, our team of experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys is here to help. We invite you to reach out to us for a free consultation at your convenience to discuss your situation and explore your legal options. If you’re ready to talk about your accident, call us or contact us online today.

Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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