No matter the circumstances, getting into a car accident is a frightening and sometimes traumatic experience. This fear can multiply tenfold for pregnant women that are concerned not only for their own health but for the health and well-being of their baby.
Our law firm has represented many mothers-to-be injured in car accidents in Maryland and Washington, D.C. There is typically no serious injury to the mother in most car crashes and the mother’s injuries rarely meaningfully impact the unborn baby. But there are several of the more severe injuries that pregnant women can suffer from a car crash.
What Are the Four Major Risks to the Fetus from a Car Accident?
A car accident can pose a significant risk to a fetus. The sudden impact and rapid movements involved in a car accident can cause serious harm to a developing fetus.
- Miscarriage: The force of the impact and sudden movements can cause a woman to miscarry, losing the pregnancy.
- Preterm labor: The stress and trauma of the accident can induce labor, leading to a premature birth.
- Placental abruption: A sudden and severe impact can cause the placenta to separate from the uterus, cutting off the fetus’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.
- Umbilical cord compression: The rapid movements in a car accident can cause the umbilical cord to become compressed, potentially reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.
- Fetal injury: The force of the impact can cause injury to the fetus, including skull fractures, brain damage, and broken bones.
What Is the Greatest Fear After a Car Accident While Pregnant?
One of the most dangerous injuries that can occur is placental abruption. This is a condition in which the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus before the baby is born, which disrupts the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.
According to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, placental abruption causes the mortality rate to increase 12-fold. This spike in the mortality rate is due largely to the correlation between placental abruption and early delivery. A car accident is a significant cause of placental abruptions. At least one study has suggested that broadside car accidents cause the greatest risk of placental abruption.
A placental abruption can lead to internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, premature labor, and miscarriage. What’s even more concerning is that sometimes there aren’t necessarily any noticeable symptoms of placental abruption immediately following the accident. It is potentially fatal to your baby and dangerous to your own health.