At Litner + Deganian, we understand how complex and traumatic prenatal injuries can be. We specialize in cases like these, working with injured women and their families to ensure that their current and future medical expenses will be met.
Any car crash is scary, but when you’re pregnant, the potential risks increase. Even a minor fender bender can result in serious medical issues, complications for your baby or even developmental problems down the line.
According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, trauma complicates 1 in 12 pregnancies, making it the leading non-obstetric cause of maternal death. The most common form of unintentional trauma comes from car crashes, with an estimated 207 cases per 100,000 pregnancies. Here’s what to do if you’re involved in a crash:
Start with prevention: Always wear your seat belt
After a car crash while pregnant, it’s critical to get help or contact your obstetrician, even if you don’t feel hurt. But one essential safety measure takes place before you even turn on the car: buckling up. Using your seatbelt, even if it feels awkward, is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and that of your baby. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a great infographic on how to position your shoulder belt and lap belt and what seat adjustments you might need to drive comfortably.
Seek emergency care if you’re hurt
After a crash, call 911 or head to the emergency room if you at any point experience unconsciousness, pelvic pain, fluid leakage or vaginal bleeding. The impact of the crash or the force you experience when slamming on the brakes can cause placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus. This can lead to a drop or even blockage in the baby’s oxygen and nutrient supply, causing:
- Limited growth
- Developmental problems
- Premature birth
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
For the mother, a placental abruption can cause hemorrhaging, potentially resulting in shock, clotting problems, the need for a transfusion, organ failure or, in extreme cases, a hysterectomy.
Car crashes can also lead to spontaneous abortion, uterine rupture and the increased need for a cesarean delivery.
If you are admitted to the hospital, you should be examined by both trauma and obstetrics teams, likely undergoing an ultrasound. If you are Rh-negative, you may be given Rh immunoglobulin in case your blood and the baby’s blood mixed after the accident. Depending on your situation, your obstetrician may recommend follow-up appointments with a perinatologist until your delivery.
Talk to your doctor even if you’re not experiencing symptoms
If you’re not obviously hurt or experiencing troubling symptoms, it’s still important to call you obstetrician after any car crash—no matter how minor. Even a serious issue like placental abruption is not always noticeable.
While on the phone with your obstetrician, you’ll be able to discuss the circumstances of the accident and determine if you should head to the hospital immediately or schedule an office visit with your doctor. You’ll want to seek emergency care if you experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- A change in the baby’s movement
- Severe headaches
The bottom line? Car crashes can cause serious pregnancy complications, sometimes without any obvious symptoms. To best protect your health and that of your baby, make sure you get checked out after an accident.
Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers
If you are pregnant and have been injured in an accident, your medical needs may be complex and ongoing. At Litner + Deganian, we understand the complexities of these types of cases. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation.