Pregnancy and Car Accidents: 4 Things You Need to Know
Ryan Zavodnick | February 1, 2021 | Car Accidents
The idea of being in a car accident during pregnancy is petrifying. Unfortunately, sometimes scary things happen. If you are pregnant, it is important to understand a few things about pregnancy and car accidents.
By knowing the risks surrounding pregnancy and car accidents, an expectant mother can better protect herself and her growing baby. Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy and car accidents.
Risk of Injury From Car Accidents Increases During Pregnancy
In one way, it makes sense that the risk of injury from car accidents increases during pregnancy. Pregnant women are more vulnerable to many kinds of injuries, from soft tissue injuries like whiplash to separation of the placenta.
But pregnant women are not only at increased risk of injury. The likelihood of serious injury following a car crash increases during pregnancy, too.
According to research studies in Canada, after becoming pregnant, women who are in car accidents are forty-two percent more likely to require a visit to the emergency room. The increased risk of serious injury is so high that it deserves attention during prenatal care.
The research studies were not designed to account for the reason pregnant women are more likely to be in car accidents with severe injury, but there are several theories.
Car accidents are frequently caused by distracted driving. However, distracted driving itself has causes. Some causes of distracted driving include general tiredness and intermittent nausea.
General tiredness can be caused by sleep disruption, often suffered by expecting mothers. Likewise, intermittent nausea is a classic symptom of pregnancy, commonly called morning sickness, even though it can occur at any time.
Car Accidents are the Leading Cause of Fetal Death
Not only are pregnant women more vulnerable to car accidents, but car accidents are the leading cause of fetal death related to maternal trauma. Car accidents are more common than more frequent fears, like slip-and-fall accidents during pregnancy.
Car accidents beat out several other causes of traumatic injury, including drug overdose and gunshot wounds. This means that not only are women more likely to be in car accidents during pregnancy, fetal deaths are most commonly caused by car accidents.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the increased risks.
Crashes During Pregnancy Linked to Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes
When an expectant mother is in a car crash while driving, research has shown she is more likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes. It is unclear exactly what causes the increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Pregnancies are more likely to involve the following adverse pregnancy outcomes if the mother experienced a car crash during pregnancy:
- Preterm birth
- Still birth
- Separation of the placenta from the uterus
- Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM)
One data point that has been established is that these adverse outcomes were even more likely if the mother was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Usually, birth injuries caused by medical malpractice differ from those caused by car accidents. For example, the following types of fetal injuries are not typical after car accidents:
If your child suffered an unexpected birth injury, you should talk to an attorney about your legal rights, whether or not you were in a car accident during pregnancy. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries suffered by you or your child.
What are the Symptoms of Pregnancy Complications Caused By Car Accidents?
Doctors recommend that pregnant women seek medical evaluation after any car accident. Even if you feel fine, the injuries suffered by the mother or the fetus might not be immediately apparent.
After a car accident during your pregnancy, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of potentially serious injuries. Some symptoms include:
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking discharge
- Contractions or abdominal pain
- Changes in your baby’s movement after the accident
If you feel unwell in any way following a car accident, you should contact your medical provider.
Bonus: Is Pregnancy a Pre-Existing Condition and Why Does it Matter?
Some insurance companies argue that pregnancy is a pre-existing condition. While you may still recover compensation if you have a pre-existing condition, in general, you can only recover to the extent that the accident caused the condition to worsen.
After a car accident, normal pregnancies become high-risk pregnancies. You may be entitled to damages you incur as a result of a high-risk pregnancy, such as lost wages while confined to bed rest.