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Seat Belt Use by Pregnant Women Could Save 200 Fetuses a Year
Date:4/2/2008

Those in car crashes where baby is injured or dies are unbelted 62% of the time

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to some popular folklore, pregnant women should wear seat belts, not only to save themselves in the event of a car accident but also to save their fetus.

According to a new study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, almost 200 fetuses each year -- or half of all fetal losses in motor-vehicle crashes -- could be saved if pregnant women buckled up properly.

"This validates the current advice that we give to women, but puts it in a very nice perspective because they [the study authors] took all factors in any accident or crash into the picture," said Dr. Salih Yasin, vice chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of obstetrics at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Simply stated, added Dr. Richard Jones, assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, "Pregnant women need to be properly wearing seat belts," with the best type of seat belt the three-point restraint.

"That's basically what all of us have now," said Jones, who is director of the maternal fetal medicine program at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. "It's the lap belt that's integral with the shoulder belt."

An estimated 170,000 motor vehicle crashes each year in the United States involve pregnant women, and some 90 to 369 fetuses are lost as a result. That's more than the number of children under 1 year of age who die in such crashes and more than the number of children who die from bicycle accidents, the study authors stated.

Even if a fetus survives, premature delivery as a result of the crash can lead to low birth weight, respiratory problems and long-term physical or neurological problems, the autho
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