The Dangers to Pregnant Women in a Car Accident
Pregnancy can be a joyous time, but for expecting mothers, it can also be a time of worry and fear. The health and safety of the unborn child is the top priority. The prospect of getting into a car accident can be frightening for a pregnant woman. Collisions can cause serious complications and even fetal death.
Women and their unborn children can suffer a number of injuries or complications.
The trauma and stress of a car accident can cause a pregnant woman to go into labor early. A baby is considered premature if born before 37 weeks. Premature birth can cause long-term complications and developmental problems. Babies may spend weeks or months in neonatal intensive care due to difficulty breathing, eating, regulating body temperature and other complications.
The cost of premature care can range from $41,610 to $250,000 or more, depending on how early the baby is born. When accidents are caused by negligent drivers and lead to premature birth, auto injury lawyers can help expecting mothers and families seek compensation to cover the cost of care.
Injuries to the Child
A car accident can injure an unborn child, and these injuries can have long-lasting or permanent effects. The sudden impact from the accident can cause placental abruption, which is the premature separation of the placenta from the uterus.
Placental disruption can lead to:
- Premature delivery
- Fetal death
According to the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, placental disruption occurs in 1% to 5% of minor car collisions. No matter how minor the collision, it is crucial for pregnant women to seek medical attention immediately for the sake of her baby’s health.
Babies may also suffer other injuries, including neurological injuries. Research shows a connection between extensive brain injuries in premature babies after a car accident. Neurological injuries can have permanent effects.
Trauma to the belly can cause direct injuries to the fetus, including broken bones and other similar injuries. The sudden jolting and shaking can cause shaken baby syndrome.
Depending on the severity of the accident and injury, the baby may suffer lifelong consequences. Developmental and physical issues may result due to the injury.
Mental Distress and Trauma
Car accidents are frightening experiences, and for expecting mothers, mental distress and trauma are all but inevitable. The more severe the accident, the more severe the distress.
Stress can affect pregnancies in different ways. It has been linked to premature birth and low birth weights in babies. Babies that are too small or born too soon are at an increased risk of health problems.
The psychological and emotional impact of a car accident can greatly affect the health of the mother and the baby. Even if premature birth does not occur, the baby may suffer from mental or physical illness later in life, such as heart disease or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The stress of the accident can also cause the mother’s blood pressure to soar, which is very dangerous, especially if the mother is already high risk. High blood pressure can reduce blood flow to the placenta, which may reduce the baby’s oxygen and nutrients. This can slow the baby’s growth, trigger premature birth or lead to a lower birth weight.
Even when minor, a car accident can be a traumatic experience for the mother and child. Trauma can sometimes cause a miscarriage, particularly if the accident is serious.
Most miscarriages take place during the first trimester, usually before the mother even knows she’s pregnant. Trauma is one cause of miscarriages. In fact, trauma accounts for 1 in every 12 miscarriages. Motor vehicle accidents account for half of all trauma during pregnancies, and the majority (82%) of fetal deaths occur during these collisions.
Fortunately, most accidents are minor and have relatively little effect on a pregnancy. However, expecting mothers should always seek medical attention after any kind of accident just to ensure her health and the health of her baby.
In cases where accidents do injure the child, lead to premature birth or result in the death of the baby, damages can be sought if the collision was the result of someone else’s negligence. Pregnant mothers can seek compensation for medicals bills as well as pain and suffering caused by the accident and injuries.