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Study shows importance of seatbelt use for expecting moms

The aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be serious for anyone, including the drivers of any vehicles involved, their passengers and other road users. In addition to property damage to vehicles and possibly roadways, parties may be on the hook for financial losses while trying to recover from significant injuries.

These stakes may be higher for pregnant women than for anyone else. When an expecting mother's safety is threatened, so is the safety of her baby, which can be devastating to a family. For this reason, it is essential that pregnant women take every precaution on the road.

For decades, some people have believed that pregnant women should forego wearing seatbelts or using airbags in a car. They reasoned that the restraint or impact could be harmful to the baby in utero. However, a recent study shows that isn't the case.

Researchers at Duke University reviewed emergency room records from pregnant women in their second and third trimesters who were brought in after a motor vehicle accident. They found that 3.5 of fetuses died among mothers who were buckled up, while 25 percent of unrestrained mothers lost their fetuses.

Fortunately, we already know that wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the risk of serious injury to the driver and passengers in the event of an accident. And, like in most cases, what's good for the mother is what's good for the baby. Buckling up helps ensure everyone's safety. Similarly, keeping airbags activated has not been linked to any increased risk to the fetus.

Source: Reuters, "Buckle up during pregnancy: study," Kerry Grens, March 8, 2013

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