Getting into a car accident is always a scary incident. However, if you’re pregnant when you get into a crash, the stress levels and concerns for your baby take the experience to a whole new level. How can you make sure your baby is safe? Will any injuries result in pregnancy complications? What can you do to hold accountable the person responsible for the accident?
6 Common Car Accident Injuries While Pregnant
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic fetal deaths. For this reason, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has specific recommendations about how to wear a seatbelt when a woman is pregnant: The shoulder strap should go between the breasts, and the lap belt should lay low across the upper thighs – under your belly. This reduces the risk of injury to both the mom and the baby. This advice is crucial, since pregnant women are 42 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident. As a result, between 3,000 and 5,000 pregnancies are lost during car crashes.
Some of the most common car accident injuries experienced by pregnant women include:
- Placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus. This is a serious injury, as it could deprive your baby of oxygen and nutrients. Symptoms of placental abruption include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, contractions, and tenderness.
- Maternal shock. This can be the result of a condition called hypovolemic shock, which occurs when a person loses at least 20% of their blood supply. When a woman experiences hypovolemic shock, her heart does not receive enough blood to pump through her body, affecting her organs and her baby.
- Fetal trauma. Even if a fetus survives the blunt force of a car accident, the trauma could result in serious injuries to the baby’s brain, which can have long-term consequences for the child once born. This is because the head is the largest part of a fetus’ body, making it more susceptible to injury.
- Premature birth. Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks. A car accident may cause you to go into early labor. If you give birth before 32 weeks, your baby will not be able to breathe, stay warm, or obtain nourishment on their own. In addition, depending on how early the baby is born, their organs may still not be fully developed. Depending on the circumstances, your baby may be able to survive this type of trauma, while in some instances, it can be fatal.
- Miscarriage. This could occur as either injury to the baby or the mother losing oxygen, blood, or going into cardiac arrest.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden back and forth movement of your neck, typically associated with car accidents or being violently shaken. Typically, this condition can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, some of these medications may interfere with your baby’s development.
What Do You Do if You’re in a Car Accident While Pregnant
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If you’ve been involved in a car accident while pregnant, always seek medical attention immediately. It doesn’t matter how minor you perceive the accident to be or how far along you are into your pregnancy. In fact, even if you managed to avoid a serious collision by slamming on the brakes, such an abrupt movement could still have an effect on your baby.
As soon as you get into the emergency room, notify healthcare professionals that you are pregnant. Time is of the essence to prevent complications and save your baby’s life.
Monitor Your Symptoms After Leaving the Hospital
After leaving the hospital, monitor your symptoms: Check for any vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal fluids, abdominal or pelvic pain, or any changes in your baby’s movements.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss the Incident
Once you have received all the required medical attention for yourself and for your baby, speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss the incident. Filing a claim could help you recover medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for mental anguish, for both you and your baby. This can also be critical if your child will require long-term medical care as a result of a traumatic injury while in utero.
In addition, you won’t have to be making phone calls and trying to understand complex issues on your own while undergoing one of the most difficult moments of your life. Your attorney will take care of all of the legal issues while you can focus on being there for your baby or spending time with your loved ones in the event of miscarriage.
Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.