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Seat belt use among pregnant women in the United Arab Emirates: the Mutaba’ah Study
  1. Aminu S. Abdullahi1,
  2. Yasin J. Yasin1,2,
  3. Syed M. Shah1,
  4. Luai A. Ahmed1,
  5. Michal Grivna1,3
  1. 1 Institute of Public Health, United Arab Emirates University, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  2. 2 Department of Environmental Health and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia
  3. 3 Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Second Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czechia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Michal Grivna, Institute of Public Health, United Arab Emirates University College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE; m.grivna{at}


Introduction Motor vehicle collisions are a major cause of death and injury among pregnant women and their fetuses. Seat belt use compliance during pregnancy varies in different populations. We aimed to study seat belt use among pregnant women and factors affecting seat belt use during pregnancy in Al Ain City, the United Arab Emirates.

Methods This cross-sectional analysis used the baseline data collected from pregnant women participating in the Mutaba’ah Study from May 2017 to November 2022. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires. Variables included sociodemographic, gestation periods and seat belt-related information. All pregnant women who responded to the questions related to seat belt use were included (N=2354).

Results Seat belt use before and during pregnancy was estimated at 69.7% (95% CI 67.9% to 71.6%) and 65.5% (95% CI 63.6% to 67.4%), respectively. The reasons for not using seat belts during pregnancy included being uncomfortable to wear, habitual non-use and considering them unsafe for pregnancy. Age, higher levels of education of the pregnant woman or her spouse, being employed, having a sufficient household income, lower gestational age, and using a seat belt before pregnancy were positively associated with using a seat belt during pregnancy in the bivariate analyses. Pregnant women in their third trimester had independently significant lower odds of using a seat belt compared with those in the first trimester (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.76).

Conclusions The findings indicate decreased compliance with seat belt use during pregnancy and as gestation progressed. The decrease was related to several reasons, including feeling uncomfortable wearing seat belts, habitual non-use and unsafe for pregnancy, necessitating appropriate measures to increase awareness. Raising public awareness about the advantages of wearing seat belts during pregnancy and the involvement of healthcare professionals in educating pregnant women are warranted.

  • Motor vehicle � Occupant
  • Behavior
  • Attitudes
  • Risk Perception
  • Driver
  • Passenger

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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  • Contributors LAA and MG contributed to the study’s conception and design. ASA, LAA and MG contributed to the acquisition and coding of data. ASA analysed the data. ASA and YJY drafted the manuscript. LAA, SMS and MG critically edited the paper. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript. MG and LAA are the overall content guarantors.

  • Funding This work was supported by a grant from the Zayed Center for Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University (31R183).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.