Pregnancy: Car Safety
Be it in the house or outside the house, for that matter be it anywhere, safety should be the first priority of every individual. Safety of an unborn child is also as important as the safety of an individual. An unborn child is completely dependent on mother for safety and well-being. Therefore, it is very important that mother-to-be learn all the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. Most mother-to-bes think and know that diet, rest, and exercise are very important during pregnancy. But many are unaware that they are other things also that matter during pregnancy. One such very important thing which is ignored or not considered important, is car safety. This article helps such to-be-mothers to know more about car safety, long travel, wearing a seatbelt, using an airbag, and importantly what to do if her car is crashed.
Wearing a seatbelt
Many women do not prefer to wear a seatbelt while they are pregnant as they feel it is really uncomfortable. But during pregnancy, the best way to keep the baby and the mother safe is by wearing a seatbelt. The leading cause of fetal death in a car crash is mother’s death, injury to the fetus, which is closely related to the injury to mother. This could be prevented to a considerable extent by wearing properly fitting seatbelt on every ride. Safety belts are designed in such a way that they keep the person in seat, and allow gradual and slow jerk during a crash. During crash, the safety belt helps to spread the force of the crash on larger and stronger parts of the body like chest, hips, and shoulders.
Proper ways to wear a seatbelt during pregnancy
A seat belt consists of a lap strap and a shoulder strap. The lap strap and shoulder strap prevents being thrown away from the car during a crash and the shoulder strap also helps to keep away the pressure of the body away from the baby. Wearing a seatbelt correctly is very important. Always wear both shoulder and lap strap. The lap strap should be buckled far below the tummy, in between the pelvis and the thigh. The shoulder belt should be placed off the tummy and across the center of the chest. Always wear the shoulder belt away from neck, and never wear the shoulder strap under the arms. Make sure that the belt fits properly as too loose or too tight on belly can result in broken ribs or injury to the belly. Do not slip the upper shoulder strap away from shoulder or behind the back.
Airbags and pregnancy
Now-a-days all cars come with an airbag that is placed inside the steering wheels and the dashboard, placed in front of the passenger seat. Some cars even have airbags to protect people, if the car is hit from the sides. Airbags actually works along with the seatbelts to avoid maximum banging over the steering wheel or the wind shield. Pregnant women should not turn off their airbags as it provides extra protection to mother and the fetus. When in a car, wear seatbelt both shoulder and lap strap. Remember that the steering wheel should be atleast 10 inches away from the breast bone. But maintaining a gap of 10 inches becomes difficult if the belly is big, in such case, some cars come with a tilt steering wheels, turn the steering wheel to an angle that it faces the breast bone and is away from the belly and head or else adjust and move the seat back to get some distance between the belly and the steering wheel. It is important that pregnant women should adjust their seat so that they sit as far back as possible from the air bags. This will provide them plenty of space to move their legs during long travel.
If not driving where to sit?
The place where a mother sits doesn’t show to affect the safety of an unborn baby, if the car is crashed. But however, it is better that a pregnant woman sits in the back seat as less injury is caused to people who sit in the back seat. Wherever the person sits, it is important to wear seatbelt.
In case of car crash
Car crashes happen in two ways: either the car goes and hits something or some other vehicle hits the car. In both the cases, pregnant woman should contact their family physician immediately, even if she feels that she is not severely injured. The physician may ask the patient to come right away to the hospital to check the heartbeat of the baby, which is followed by a thorough check up to make sure that the baby and mother are fine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women who have met with an accident and had no injury at all are also at greater risk of preterm delivery. Another risk would be placental abruption, where the placenta detaches itself partially or completely from the fetus and increase the risk of premature delivery, hemorrhage or miscarriage.
Signs to watch for after a car crash
Immediately after a car crash a pregnant woman should watch for signs of bleeding from the vagina, leakage from the vagina, pain in the belly or uterine contraction. Call emergency immediately in such cases.
Safety is very important no matter whether the travel is for shorter distance or a long journey. It is very important that you protect yourself and your baby before and after birth, especially while in a car it is important that the person follows all safety precautions. Wear the seat belt, prefer to sit in the back seat, do not turn off the air bags, and maintain distance between the steering wheel and the belly. These few simple steps will ensure a safe ride for you and your unborn baby.