Pregnancy and Car Accident Facts

You never want to hear the words “pregnancy” and “car accident” in the same sentence. When these unfortunate situations occur, they can harm both the mother and the unborn child. 

In this article, we’ll go over some common injuries that can occur when a pregnant woman gets in a car accident. We’ll also talk about some fetal injuries that can take place.

Pregnancy and Car Accident Statistics

The first thing you’re probably wondering is, “how often are pregnant women in vehicular accidents?” Here are a few stats about that.

A car accident occurs approximately every five seconds in the US. About 3 million people injure themselves in those accidents.

A 2014 study showed that women in the second trimester are 42% more likely to get in a car accident than non-pregnant ones. It’s interesting to speculate about why that may be. One theory is that the fetus can move and distract the woman, causing them to swerve or commit some other dangerous action.

It’s also possible that because a woman’s stomach extends during pregnancy, that she might not be as comfortable behind the wheel as she usually would be. Whatever the reason, when a pregnant driver strikes another car, it puts both mother and fetus at risk.

What Are Some Possible Injuries to the Mother?

If a pregnant woman gets in a car wreck, there are various injuries and medical emergencies that can occur. Premature birth is at the top of the list.

If a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy have elapsed, doctors consider it an immature birth. If a mother is in a traumatic car accident, her body might react by having the child before it is safe for her to do so.

If the car accident forces an early birth, the baby might die. A placental abruption is also possible. The placenta tears abruptly away from the uterine wall, depriving the baby of nutrients and blood that they need.

A miscarriage is certainly possible. Uterus or placental disruption can cause one, but a severe blow or blood loss can also contribute.

What About Fetal Injuries?

There are equally many fetal injuries that can occur. The fetus might have premature birth complications, such as those from underdeveloped organs. A child born too early can have eye, lung, and heart problems that can bother them for all of the individual’s life.

Brain problems are possible as well if the crash deprives the fetus of blood. Brain injuries at this stage can be lifelong and quite severe. A car crash can give a child learning disabilities.

Death is possible too. A car wreck can jolt the mother and fetus, damaging the baby’s spinal cord, brain, or heart. The damage might be enough to kill the fetus in the womb.

Are Injuries to the Father Possible?

If the father is in the car at the same time, the crash can injure them as well. However, even if the father is not in the vehicle right then, the wreck will impact them just as much.

The father might have extreme emotional distress if the crash hurt the mother, the fetus, or both. If the fetus or the mother dies, and father will likely have a very tough time getting over that.

The father can develop PTSD as well. If the mother or fetus sustain injuries or die, the father may struggle to return to his daily routine for weeks, months, or even years afterward. He may need therapy and medication to get over it, and even then, these accidents can stay with a father for the rest of his life.

These sorts of crashes impact entire families. There is no way for a pregnant woman to be sure that she will not get in a car wreck unless she stays out of vehicles for her entire pregnancy.

For most women, that is not realistic. Many women will want to continue their normal routine during pregnancy for as long as they can, including driving to work, the grocery store, the gym, and so forth.

All a pregnant woman can do is drive very carefully. She would also be wise to avoid driving in bad weather, speeding, or letting something distract her while she is driving.

As for the drivers around a pregnant woman, she cannot affect their behavior. All she can really do is hope that she gets through this time in her life without getting in any accidents, for the fetus’s sake as well as her own.  

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