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Experiencing a car crash is always a traumatic experience. For expectant mothers, the trauma increases when you have another life to worry about other than your own. Unfortunately, car crashes involving pregnant women are the leading cause of fetal death and maternal injury in the U.S., according to a study from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.
The study estimates that 92,500 pregnant women suffer injuries every year due to car accidents. Women who are pregnant in a car accident experience unique risks to themselves and their baby. While most minor accidents may be nothing to worry about, it’s always important to be safe than sorry. Before hopping in a car, here are some of the potential risks of car accidents and pregnancy.
Possible Risks of Suffering a Car Accident During Pregnancy
The most common serious injury from a car crash during pregnancy is placental abruption. This injury occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterus wall before the baby is ready and often results in an emergency c-section birth. Placental abruption accounts for 5% of low-impact accidents and 30-50% of high-impact injuries.
Women who are pregnant in a car accident may also experience uterine rupture, although it’s much rarer. Uterine disruption occurs when the uterus walls tear or rupture, and the baby must be delivered immediately to avoid permanent injury or death. Other possible risks include maternal shock when the pregnant woman experiences severe blood loss or the risk of direct fetal injury to the fetus. However, direct fetal injury is very rare as the womb has plenty of protection and insulation for the fetus.
The study published by American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine estimates that 92,500 pregnant women are injured in car crashes in the U.S. each year. While the specifics are not known around each crash, it suggests that pregnancy symptoms such as overall fatigue, nausea, and changes to the brain can lead to an increased risk for having an accident during pregnancy.
Can a Car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?
Women who are pregnant in a car accident may experience a miscarriage. Even in low-impact accidents, placental abruption can occur in 5% of accidents. Without medical attention, this can result in a miscarriage. A couple of weeks after a car crash, miscarriages can still occur. Sometimes the miscarriage and accident are linked but are not always documented as such.
According to a study by The University of Michigan, proper use of a seat belt can prevent 84% of serious fetal adverse outcomes such as disability or death from a car accident. For those with serious fetal adverse outcomes, 62% of pregnant women were not wearing seat belts.
What to Do if in a Car Accident While Pregnant
Even pregnant women in a car accident with no physical injuries need medical help. While the possible consequences of getting rear ended while pregnant or other minor fender benders are likely insignificant, expecting mothers should still seek medical attention. No matter the severity of the crash, most paramedics are trained to take all pregnant women to the hospital.
The safety of the mother and baby should be the number one concern for those in a car accident while pregnant. Besides this, expectant mothers will want to follow the usual steps after suffering a car crash. Ensure that all passengers from each vehicle are okay. Call law enforcement and an ambulance. Collect contact information from all witnesses and the insurance information of all involved in the crash.
Being pregnant in a car accident is a scary situation that you shouldn’t have to go through alone. Our team at Avrek Law can help you navigate the difficult situation should you or your baby experience serious outcomes because of a car accident. We have worked on over 10,000 cases and recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation or read more about our no win, no fee policy.