Pregnancy & Car Accidents: Know the Risks

Posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2021 at 7:59 pm    

Most moms worry about their children getting bicycle injuries or other childhood injuries, like broken bones, scraped knees, or dog bites. During pregnancy, expecting mothers worry, too.

Expecting mothers inhale information from every available source about the risks they may face during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a list of pregnancy risks, including:

  • Anemia (low iron)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia

Perhaps the most commonly-known pregnancy complication is hyperemesis gravidarum. Also known as “morning sickness,” it can actually strike pregnant women at any time of day.

However, expecting mothers do not hear as much about the risks involved in an activity many of us do every day: driving a car.

Pregnant mothers should be aware of the increased risks involved in being on the road. Not only are expecting mothers more likely to be involved in a car accident, but they are more likely to suffer an injury that sends them to the emergency room. And the risks don’t end there.

Why Are Expecting Mothers More At Risk of Car Crashes?

According to researchers in Canada, pregnant women are forty-two percent more likely than they were before pregnancy to be in a car accident that sends them to the emergency room.

While the researchers did not study why pregnant women are more likely to be in a car crash and sustain a serious injury, some of the common complications of pregnancies may provide some insight. Morning sickness brings intense bouts of nausea. Tiredness and weakness are symptoms of anemia.

Whether or not they were driving, the pregnant women in the study were more likely to go to the ER following a car crash. If any of the pregnant women drivers were suffering from nausea, tiredness, or weakness, it’s easy to see how they may not have been able to devote their full attention to the road.

Are Car Crashes During Pregnancy Linked to Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes?

We have come to understand that certain activities are not appropriate for pregnant women. For example, certain amusement park rides warn that they are unsafe for expecting mothers.

But research has also shown that car crashes during pregnancy are linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Some adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with car accidents during pregnancy include:

  • Separation of the placenta from the uterus
  • Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM)
  • Preterm birth
  • Stillbirth

In all situations, an expecting mother is at even more risk of these outcomes if she is not wearing a seatbelt. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of fetal death relating to maternal trauma.

What Should Expecting Mothers Do After a Car Accident?

If you are expecting and you were in a car accident during pregnancy, medical experts recommend that you seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Injuries suffered by an expecting mother or her vulnerable fetus may not be visible.

Following a car accident during pregnancy, an expecting mother should remain aware of the signs and symptoms of potential fetal injury. Some warning signs include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal fluid discharge
  • Contractions or abdominal pain
  • Noticeable change in the baby’s movement

In utero, a baby may suffer spinal cord injury or even brain damage following a car crash. An expecting mother should always take extra precautions to protect her baby.

After a car accident, an expecting mother will be categorized as a “high-risk pregnancy.” Usually reserved for pregnant women aged 35 or older, cigarette smokers, or multiples (twins, triplets), high-risk pregnancies can involve more frequent medical appointments and tests.

Along with these increased observation methods comes additional costs. A reputable personal injury attorney can help you understand the rights you may have to compensation as a result of being in a car accident during pregnancy. As with seeking medical treatment, seeking legal advice after a car accident is an important step in protecting your baby.


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