A car accident could cause harm to a mother-to-be and her unborn child. According to a University of Michigan study, about 200,000 pregnant women are involved in auto accidents every year. Even a minor accident could cause catastrophic injuries to the mother and endanger her baby. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that car accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in pregnant women. Car accidents are also linked to about 400 fetal deaths per year. These alarming statistics affirm that pregnant drivers and their unborn babies have significantly greater health risks when on the road. Understanding the unique risks faced by pregnant drivers can help prevent more injuries or even deaths.
A trip to the emergency room for a full diagnostic medical exam is in order for any pregnant driver or passenger who is involved in an accident. If the initial examination shows the baby is healthy and the mother is not seriously injured, extended rest and other at-home care will be needed. The mother-to-be should rest in bed as much as possible for at least a couple of days.
While at home, the pregnant mother should monitor her condition. A fever could indicate infection. If any bleeding occurs, it is critical to notify the doctor as soon as possible. Any pain, discomfort, or other concerning symptoms after a car accident should be immediately reported. It is also critical to go to all follow-up care appointments.
Any appearance of amniotic fluid following a car accident is cause for alarm. An immediate trip to the doctor is needed to help provide the best possible outcome for the mother and child. Other symptoms pregnancy-related issues that could arise after a car accident include dizziness and fainting. These symptoms could mean dangerous changes in blood pressure. Fluctuating blood pressure might be dangerous for the baby.
Unusual Risks That Pregnant Drivers Face
A pregnant driver does not have as much room in the seat, which makes using a seat belt much more difficult and uncomfortable. The bottom of the steering wheel is just inches away from a pregnant woman’s belly. If even a minor accident occurs, a pregnant woman might suffer a serious injury, such as a hemorrhage or sudden or early delivery. A hemorrhage might cause light bleeding, but heavy bleeding could be a sign of something much more serious.
Any pregnant driver who is in an accident should immediately undergo medical diagnosis and treatment. That is the best way to prevent possible injury to the mother and/or baby.
What Are the Risks for Unborn Babies?
Death is not the only risk that an unborn baby faces in a car accident. A premature birth could occur and make the infant vulnerable to a variety of potential life-threatening injuries. An infant might also suffer neurological issues due to injuries from a car accident.
If the mother is injured and begins to bleed heavily, the unborn baby could be affected as well. If a premature birth occurs and the mother bleeds heavily during the delivery, it could be life-threatening for the baby.
There are many possible treatments for injured pregnant drivers, which is why it is critical to go to the doctor after a collision. Even if a pregnant mother-to-be feels okay after an accident, they should still go to the doctor as soon as possible. You should get medically evaluated after any type of accident because you may have a hidden injury. Some injuries do not show up until days or even weeks later.
What Are Important Safety Tips for Pregnant Drivers?
Speed and deployment of air bags are the two biggest factors in causing pregnancy-related medical issues due to a car accident. Research shows an accident that occurs at 50 miles per hour or higher is much more dangerous for a pregnant driver. The deployment of airbags, which would injure the fetus, is also a risk for a pregnant driver. A pregnant driver needs to do her best to abide the posted speed limits and follow at a safe distance, just like all other motorists.
You also can wear a seat belt that is situated below the belly with a lap restraint. The shoulder restraint should go around instead of across the belly to help prevent extreme pressure during an accident.
Some mothers feel that they should not wear a seat belt during pregnancy because of the potential risks. However, doctors recommend to still wear a seat belt. You should also avoid turning off the airbags.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Protect the Rights of Injured Pregnant Drivers
Pregnant drivers and their babies are vulnerable in car accidents. If you have been involved in a car accident that caused an injury to you or your unborn baby, our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. You can contact us online or call us at (302) 427-9500 to schedule a free consultation today. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.