driving during pregnancy

Do you talk to your patients about driving during pregnancy?

What is some of the information you offer them? Do you give them statistics about the real risk and offer solutions to help reduce the risk?

Let’s take a look at some quick facts:

  1. Many pregnant women find wearing a seat belt uncomfortable and some admit to not wearing it because of the discomfort. A 2004 study of women attending prenatal clinics by McGwin et al., reported that only about 45% of women always wear their seat belts (both before and during their current pregnancy).
  2. There are no federal seat belt standards specifically for pregnant women nor was the standard seat belt configuration tested to see if it offered optimum safety for pregnant women. As of yet, there is also no protocol for testing the various devices now available to position the seat belt for pregnant women
  3. Since the mid 1970s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown a picture of a women with the seat belt low across her abdomen as the correct position in which to wear a seat belt during pregnancy saying to have the seat belt below the fundus. However at 16 weeks the fundus is directly under the NHTSA recommended lap belt location. This is in direct contradiction to their recommendation and the position gets worse as the pregnancy progresses.

“The fact is that it is not possible to position the lap belt in a way that would prevent crushing the fetus in a frontal crash. Clearly lap and shoulder belts alone are not appropriate for use by pregnant women.” — James Hofferbirth, 2013, Prevention of Fetal Injury in Motor Vehicle Crashes

Let’s take a look at some quick statistics:

  1. Based on University of Michigan estimates, about 170,000 pregnant women experience car crashes every year.
  2. While, as you understand, reporting pregnancy loss is not required and inconsistent prior to 20 weeks gestation, an estimated 800 to as many as 5,000 pregnancies are lost (we settle on an average of 3,000 based on these and additional studies) every year due to car crashes. (Klinich et al, 1999 and Pearlman, 1997)
  3. A more recent study shows the risk of fetal death from a car crash is 5 times the risk compared to the first 9 months of a baby’s life. This is only based on the 227 pregnant mothers who also died during the crash compared the 60 infants who were fatally injured in crashes in 2012. This risk comparison does not take into account the high number of pregnancies lost in which the mother survived.

“Traffic safety is an established part of pediatric care and the low rates of motor vehicle traffic fatalities during infancy indicate that such efforts are effective. The current data highlight that such prevention needs to start even earlier as a part of standard prenatal care. Specifically, pregnant women should be advised by their physicians on the even greater importance of road safety before the baby is born.” — Evans and Redelmeier, 2015, Traffic Deaths Before and After Birth

While about half (48.7%) of prenatal care providers counsel pregnant women about using the seat belt during pregnancy. Only 27% of pregnant women recall any such discussion. (Weiss et al, 2007)

Even if all those women who heard their provider talk about driving remembered,  half of the pregnant women who never had a discussion with their provider.

Prenatal care providers have a lot of ground to cover, often in very little time. Let us help you cover this important topic.

As a prenatal care provider, what can you do?

tummy shield pregnancy seatbelt adjuster1. Learn about the options available for positioning the seat belt and consider whether they have a proven safety aspect.

The Tummy Shield™ is the only pregnancy seat belt positioner we’ve found that can actually increase safety for a pregnant women and her baby in the car. At Safe Ride 4 Kids, we consider to be Baby’s First Car Seat™.

  • The Tummy Shield has undergone incredible amounts of testing from strength tests to crash tests to ensure the seat belt still performed at least as well with the Tummy Shield as it had without. Some tests show improved crash energy results.
  • If you haven’t yet, download our Tummy Shield report for more information. This report has been written specifically for healthcare providers.
  • Our vision is the Tummy Shield being accepted as the standard of care, best practice recommendation for all pregnant women who drive or ride in motor vehicles.

2. We invite you to offer this potentially life-saving information to every pregnant women you see in your office with our healthcare provider kit.

Our healthcare provider kit which includes:

  • 3 exam room 8.5×11 posters about the Tummy Shield,
  • 100 rack cards sharing information about the Tummy Shield and offering your clients/patients to download the Safer Driving During Pregnancy guide
  • and/or 2 of the Safe Driving During Pregnancy guides printed and bound for your waiting room.

The Safe Driving During Pregnancy guide is about 10 pages with all a mom-to-be needs to know about the risks of driving and several tips to reduce the risk of injury if she does experience a crash.

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