Car crashes are always dangerous, but exponentially more so when there is a pregnant woman involved. Pregnant women not only have to worry about themselves but also any harm that could come to their unborn child. No matter how minor the accident, always go to a doctor for a check-up after an accident, especially if you are pregnant.
Risks through the trimesters
The first twelve weeks of pregnancy are the safest for motor vehicle travel for both the mother and child. By the second trimester, risks increase by around 42%. In both the first and second trimester, sudden violent jolts can cause serious injury to both mother and child, more specifically placental abruption.
Placental abruption, the most common injury in a car accident involving a pregnant woman, occurs when the stomach is jolted violently causing the placenta to detach from the uterine lining and therefore detaching the child’s access to nutrients and oxygen, putting them in extreme danger. Miscarriage, hemorrhaging and preterm delivery are other injuries that can be sustained in the first and second trimester during a car accident.
The third trimester is the most dangerous of the three, seemingly innocent bumps to the stomach can cause severe injury. Premature birth, stillbirth, extra bleeding during delivery, and neurological injury to newborns are some of the most common side effects of accidents in the third trimester.
What is a Uterine Rupture?
A uterine rupture is when the uterus is torn or ruptured stoping oxygen flow to the unborn child. It is the most dangerous and complicated pregnancy injury because the child must be delivered instantly to avoid death or serious permanent injury from lack of oxygen.
Uterine ruptures are not very common in car accidents, but can occur when a seat belt is worn wrong, or not at all and a pregnant woman’s abdomen hits the steering wheel or dashboard.
Impact of emotional trauma
Along with the physical impacts, emotional distress can seriously affect your pregnancy. Even if an accident wasn’t physically severe but has caused you extreme stress, like sleep loss and difficulty eating, it can still seriously harm your unborn child.
Safety tips for driving
There are always ways to make driving safer, especially when traveling for two. A properly fastened seat belt is extremely important for a pregnant woman. This means wearing a seatbelt with a shoulder and waist strap and making sure that the waist strap is below the stomach. If the seat belt is over the stomach it can cause placental abruption if in a crash.
Avoid distracted driving, don’t text and drive, avoid reaching for food, doing makeup, talking on the phone, etc. Make sure the airbags are working, and if possible try to adjust the steering wheel to be facing your chest, instead of your head or stomach. Keep emergency contact with you in case of an accident, and think about including information about blood type, due date, and other important information in case of an emergency.
If you or a loved one are pregnant and have been in a car accident and wish to file a personal injury claim, contact Larson and Gallivan PLC. We’re here to help.
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