Car accidents occur every day, and, unfortunately, everyone is just as susceptible as the next. As a pregnant woman, however, you have more to worry about, as it is your priority to ensure the safety of your unborn child. Any time you are involved in a car accident while pregnant, regardless if it is a minor fender-bender or a severe collision, it is in your best interest to get examined by a doctor or medical provider as soon as possible.
In fact, it is even more important to get evaluated if you experience any blow or impact to your abdomen during pregnancy, no matter how many months you are into your pregnancy. Unlike any other car-accident scenarios, a motor vehicle accident while pregnant has unique risks.
What to Know About Car Accidents While Pregnant
Various aspects must be considered while treating a pregnant person since their biology is temporarily different. According to professional physicians, decreased reflexes, muscle capacity, balance, or changes in circulation can lead to fainting or even reduce the ability of a pregnant woman to respond to an accident. Moreover, the life expectancy of a woman and her unborn child depends mainly on medical management.
For example, radiological examinations may not be done on the mother for fear of damaging the child with radiation. However, the risk of such a procedure is small compared to not having a maternal trauma diagnosis following a car accident. X-rays and CT scans should be used sparinging.
Furthermore, the Institute of Clinical Evaluation Sciences explained that even if a car accident is minor, the crash can have severe consequences for a woman and the developing fetus. It is rare for a single collision to affect the fetus. However, if the trauma is severe, the placenta might detach during the car crash, becoming a direct threat to the life of the child and mother. The placenta is the connection for the fetus in utero for blood and is essential for survival.
Emergency Premature Delivery Following a Car Crash
Even if the fetus survives after a car accident, emergency delivery of a child that has not reached full term could be necessary. Medical professionals can best judge this need and help you balance the risks and benefits of premature delivery. Premature delivery comes with various risks to the baby, including the following:
- Bleeding in the brain
- Low body weight
- Low blood pressure and other heart problems
- Weak immune system
- Low body temperature
- Anemia or other blood problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Lung immaturity
Most of these are short-term conditions that can be resolved once the baby reaches the original due date. However, premature babies might experience long-term issues that can follow them through infancy and childhood. Some of the long-term complications of premature birth are:
- Hearing and vision problems
- Behavioral and psychological challenges
- Learning disabilities
- Chronic health issues
Steps to Follow After a Car Accident While Pregnant
As an expectant mother, it is recommended that you take the following steps after the accident:
Call for Help
As mentioned before, the top priority is ensuring you and the child are safe. Call 911 for emergency assistance, or if the crash is minor, contact the police using the non-emergency line. A dispatch must be notified if a pregnant woman is involved in a car crash.
Get Medical Attention
After an accident, regardless of how minor it may seem, it is crucial to get medical help. Signs that you or your baby could be in distress include:
- Severe headache
- Chills or fever
- Vaginal bleeding
- Painful or urgent urination
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in your extremities
- Dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
Even if you show no signs of distress, a visit to a healthcare provider or the emergency room is always recommended to ensure your baby is healthy and safe.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Motor vehicle accidents involving pregnant women are far more complex than routine car accident claims, mainly because two or more lives are involved. As a pregnant woman, you should always consult an attorney after being injured in an accident. Here at Brown & Gessell, our car accident attorneys can help you reach fair compensation based on your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses.
If you have been the victim of a car crash while pregnant, it is vital to speak to a knowledgeable and skilled Stockton car accident lawyer as soon as possible. We understand how traumatizing such an accident can be, but beyond the emotional and physical trauma, you may incur considerable expenses as well. Extended hospital stays, neonatal care, or premature delivery costs can be significant.
Safety Tips for Driving While Pregnant
Many women reduce driving as much as possible during pregnancy, but avoiding driving is not feasible for some. Before driving while pregnant, consider the following tips:
- Never drive when you are sick. Dizziness and nausea are common, especially in the first trimester of your pregnancy. If you feel sick or are prone to passing out, wait until you feel better or get a ride with a family member or friend.
- Buckle-up safely. The NHTSA recommends that pregnant women wear a lap and shoulder belt, with the lower strap placed under the stomach and across the thighs.
- Position your seat strategically. It would be best if you moved your seat as far away from the steering wheel as possible. Moreover, tilt the steering wheel toward your breastbone and away from your stomach.
- Consider a pregnancy ID bracelet that can include your due date, allergies, blood type, and any other medical information that would be critical for an ER physician to know in an emergency.
- Do not text and drive.
- Consider being a passenger. Riding as a passenger will considerably limit the risk of contacting the steering wheel. The center middle seat is arguably the safest out of all the spots in a car.
Contact Brown & Gessell
Every car crash and its circumstances are different, including those involving a pregnant woman. If you were injured in a car crash and your baby suffered any trauma, do not wait. The car accident attorneys at Brown & Gessell can help you build a solid personal injury case based on the facts of your accident so that you can obtain the maximum compensation for your damages and injuries.
The decision to hire a car accident attorney following a motor vehicle accident is vital, but our legal team is ready to fight for your rights. Contact us at (209) 430-5480 for a free consultation.