Is It Safe to Wear a Seat Belt During Pregnancy?

There are lots of things you have to consider when you're pregnant, including normal everyday activities. This includes travelling by car. In this article, we’ll look at whether it’s safe to wear a seat belt during pregnancy.
Is It Safe to Wear a Seat Belt During Pregnancy?

Last update: 12 March, 2019

It’s inarguable that wearing a seat belts helps saves lives and can reduce the possibility of sustaining serious injury from a car accident. That’s why it’s important to wear a seat belt during pregnancy.

Many women who have reached full term pregnancy wonder if it really is safe to wear a seat belt during pregnancy. It’s important to note that, although the baby is protected inside the mother’s body, it’s essential to wear a three-point seat belt (lap and shoulder seat belt) every time you travel.

This will increase your level of protection, even in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

A seat belt should have three fastening points. This means that it should have one strap across the lap and another coming over the shoulder. These types of belts help keep the pressure of the mother’s body off of the baby after a car accident.

You should also adjust the lap strap across your hips and thighs and wear it underneath your bump, not across it. If the lap strap is placed across the bump, the pressure can cause problems with the placenta and can harm the baby. You should make sure that the seat belt is as tight as possible.

Wearing a seat belt during pregnancy is vital

If there’s one thing we should all do when travelling in a vehicle, it’s wear a seat belt. The same is true for pregnant women, and this applies to all seats in the car.

You can only travel without a seat belt during pregnancy if you have a medical reason not to and have a certificate to prove this.

Is It Safe to Wear a Seat Belt During Pregnancy?

However, as pregnancy progresses, it can become uncomfortable to sit in a vehicle for prolonged amounts of time. If you need to make a long journey, plan to take a short break roughly every 90 minutes to prevent your ankles and legs from swelling.

In addition to this, you can try placing a cushion behind your lower back to prevent back pain.

If you do have an accident, even if it’s not serious and you feel fine, you need to consult your midwife or doctor as soon as possible, to make sure that you and your baby are unharmed.

“Everyone, including pregnant women, should wear a seat belt when travelling in a vehicle.”

Advice for wearing a seat belt during pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and want to travel by car, you should bear in mind the following tips on how to wear your seat belt:

  • Make sure that the shoulder strap goes between your breasts.
  • Make sure that the lap belt is as low as possible, across your hips and under your bump.
  • If you’re driving and you need to make room for your bump, don’t move the seat to a position where you can’t reach the clutch, break and accelerator. This may affect your reaction times.
  • If you move the seat, make sure that you have the mirrors in the correct position.
  • You should always wear your seat belt, even when sitting in the rear seats.
  • Position the front passenger seat as far back as possible, so that you’re positioned far away from the airbag.
  • The lap strap should go underneath your bump; it should fit comfortably over your hips and pelvic bone.
  • The shoulder strap should go between your breasts and around your bump. Seat belts should never go directly over your bump.
  • Never put the shoulder strap behind your back or arm. If possible, adjust the height of the seat belt so that it fits correctly.
  • Always use both parts of the seat belt: the lap strap and the shoulder strap. Make sure that both remain tight.
Is It Safe to Wear a Seat Belt During Pregnancy?

Is it safe to use an airbag when you’re pregnant?

You should never disconnect your airbag, whether you’re pregnant or not. If you’re sitting in the front seat, position the seat as far back as you can, to maintain the largest distance between your bump and the steering wheel or dashboard.

As your baby grows, it’s possible that there won’t be enough space between you and the steering wheel. If the car has a tilt steering wheel, make sure that it’s facing your sternum, never your bump or head.

Also, don’t forget that the airbag works with the seat belt to protect you and your baby from any accident or mishap that you might suffer.

Finally, remember that wearing your seat belt when you’re pregnant is obligatory, unless you have a certificate stating that you’re exempt for medical reasons. If this is the case, you should present this certificate if the police request it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.