Being in an accident can be a traumatic experience for anyone. However, the trauma for an expectant mother includes the fear that her unborn child was injured in the car accident. Instead of one victim, there is the potential of two victims when a pregnant woman is in a car wreck.

Dangers to an Unborn Child and Mother During a Car Accident

Pregnant women can sustain a variety of injuries in a car accident. Examples of injuries that a pregnant woman and her unborn child can sustain in a car crash include:

Uterine Injuries

The risk of uterine rupture or tears during a car crash increases during pregnancy because the uterus is enlarged. If the uterus were to tear or rupture, the result could be life-threatening for the mother and the child. Internal bleeding and premature delivery place both lives in danger.

Placental Abruption

Placental abruption is a condition in which the placenta completely or partially detaches from the uterine wall before delivery. The mother may experience painful contractions and vaginal bleeding when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. 

The child’s supply of oxygen and nutrients is cut off if the placenta detaches. Fetal hypoxia or oxygen deprivation could lead to brain injuries, tissue damage, cerebral palsy, stillbirth, and other conditions for the baby.

Injuries to the Unborn Baby

A car accident can also cause direct injury to the unborn baby. The impact can cause the child’s brain to shift within the skull. The result could be severe brain damage

The collision can place an extreme amount of force on the mother’s abdomen. In some cases, the physical trauma to the mother’s body causes catastrophic harm to the baby, resulting in a miscarriage. 

Seat Belt and Airbags for Pregnant Occupants

Even though there is a chance that a seat belt or an airbag can cause an injury during a car accident, it is still recommended that pregnant women leave airbags turned on and wear their seatbelts. If you are concerned about the seat belts and airbags in your vehicle, talk to your doctor.

Pregnant women should not wear the lap belt across or on top of their stomachs. The lap belt should be below the stomach to fit snugly across the woman’s pelvic bone and hips. The shoulder belt should be worn across the center of the chest.

Seats should be positioned in the upright position as far back from the steering wheel, allowing the woman to operate the pedals comfortably and safely. Reclining the seat too much allows a gap between the woman’s shoulder and seat belt. A woman should not operate a vehicle if her stomach touches the steering wheel. 

Signs of Injury to a Pregnant Mother or Unborn Baby After a Car Accident

A pregnant mother should see her doctor as soon after a car accident as possible. The mother and the baby could have sustained injuries that are not immediately known. The doctor can perform a complete examination to determine if the mother or the unborn baby sustained injuries in the car accident.

However, if a mother experiences vaginal bleeding, contractions, physical trauma to the abdomen, or severe abdominal pain, she should go directly to the emergency room. 

Other symptoms that could indicate the mother needs to seek immediate emergency medical treatment include:

  • Changes in the baby’s movement
  • Urgent or painful urination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe headaches
  • Swelling
  • Chills, or
  • Fever.

After a crash, getting prompt medical care could be the difference between a viable pregnancy and a tragic loss.

Filing Car Accident Claims for Pregnant Women

If you are injured in a car accident while you were pregnant, you can file car accident claims for any damages caused by the accident. Your damages might include loss of income, medical bills, personal care, emotional distress, and physical pain.

When a car accident causes a premature delivery, you are also entitled to seek compensation for the damages resulting from the premature delivery. If your baby sustains birth injuries because of a car accident, the at-fault driver could also be liable for your child’s damages, including permanent impairments or disabilities caused by the car crash.

After seeking medical care and taking care of your health and your baby’s health, it is a good idea to seek legal advice from a car accident attorney. Car accident claims involving pregnant women can be complicated. You must prove that the other driver caused the car crash before receiving compensation for your injuries.

However, you must also prove that the car crash caused your injuries or injury to your unborn child. A personal injury attorney helps you locate medical experts who can provide testimony and evidence to help your case. Your lawyer also takes care of all aspects of the legal claim so that you can focus all your energy on your baby’s needs and wellbeing.