FREE CONSULTATION (573) 341.8336
(573) 341.8336

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Pregnant

A pregnant driver adjusts her lap belt.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), pregnant car accident victims can sustain serious ailments, including fetal injuries, uterine ruptures, and placental abruptions. Due to the significant impact these injuries could have on individuals and their pregnancies, it is important to recognize the steps to take following vehicle accidents. Explore what to do if involved in a car accident while pregnant and see how a Missouri personal injury attorney from Steelman Gaunt Crowley can assist with these legal claims by contacting (573) 341.8336.

What To Do if You Get in a Fender Bender While Pregnant?

“Fender-bender” refers to a to minor vehicle collision. If the accident is mild, the recommended approach is to get a medical examination from a doctor as quickly as possible, regardless of the stage of pregnancy or even if the incident took place while parking a vehicle. Getting a professional medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident helps pregnant individuals to swiftly spot any health care concerns regarding themselves or their unborn child and so that any issues can be addressed early, maximizing everyone’s chances of a safe and happy outcome.

Immediately after the incident:

  • Take a deep breath, stay calm, and evaluate the situation. 
  • Call 911 or have a trusted friend or family member drive you to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
  • Gain a thorough medical assessment with ultrasound to determine the status of placenta and fetus.
  • Receive medical treatment, as indicated. In many cases medical staff may wish to monitor your condition for several hours to ensure that there are no indicators of placental abruption or other post-accident complications. 
  • Once you are released, be sure to follow any recommendations the medical staff give you. 
  • Update any medical professionals who have been involved in your pregnancy care so that they are aware of the potential for complications and can further advise you.
  • Over the next several days, look out for any leaking fluid, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, reduced baby movement, cramping, or sudden contractions, and immediately contact your doctor or midwife if you notice any of these issues.
  • Take care of your mental as well as physical health by contacting a counselor, close friends, or family members if you experience anxiety, unusual jumpiness, or other psychological effects after the incident.

What Happens if You Get Rear-Ended While Pregnant?

When the victim of a rear-end car accident is pregnant, they potentially may encounter one of these scenarios:

  • Premature birth: Pregnant people involved in car accidents could have premature births, usually defined as births that take place before 37 weeks of gestation. While some premature births are relatively uneventful, unfortunately many do lead to lengthy hospitalizations. Infants born prematurely often make prolonged stays in neo-natal intensive care units, and may suffer from persistent developmental issues even after they are released from the hospital.
  • Fetal injuries and birth defects: The force of a vehicle collision can cause fetuses to suffer extensive injuries, such as brain damage. Such injuries may even be associated with some types of birth defect.
  • Placental abruption: Abdominal injuries sustained in a car accident may cause pregnant people to suffer from placental abruption. This takes place when the placenta completely or partially detaches itself from the uterus. Placental abruption can severely impact the fetus’ growth and viability since its access to oxygen and vital nutrients is restricted or eliminated.
  • Premature membrane ruptures: This refers to the tearing of a pregnant individual’s amniotic sac before going into labor. When this happens, the mother and fetus may encounter substantial health care issues, like respiratory distress or placental abruption. This condition can also create a risk of uterine infection. 
  • Emotional trauma: Pregnant car accident victims often experience emotional trauma, which might negatively impact their unborn children. Such incidents can lead to persistent mental stress, potentially causing birth complications.

If you have been involved in a car accident while pregnant, discover how a Missouri-based personal injury lawyer can help individuals fight for their legal rights by arranging a consultation with the experienced team at Steelman Gaunt Crowley.

Tips for Driving Safely While Pregnant

These tips can help pregnant drivers and passengers travel safely and avoid health complications for them and their unborn children:

  • Use a seat belt. Ensure the pregnant person secures their seat belt correctly, using both the shoulder and lap straps. Additionally, place the lap belt below the belly to reduce the chances of experiencing placental abruption.
  • Avoid texting and driving. Texting, calling other people, browsing online, or using cell phone apps can easily distract drivers and cause avoidable vehicle accidents. For similar reasons, it is also advisable to avoid eating, finding items in the vehicle, feeding children, or any other activity that can be distracting while operating a vehicle.
  • Check airbags. In addition to checking that this crucial car safety feature works, the recommended approach is for pregnant drivers to adjust their seats so that there is a distance of ten inches between their breastbone and steering wheel. For tilting steering wheels, adjust the angle so that the nearest point is directed toward the breastbone instead of the head or belly.
  • Have emergency contact details on hand. This might involve getting a contact information card to keep in the vehicle or the pregnant individual’s purse or wallet, so that emergency responders can easily determine which people to contact if necessary.
  • Get a pregnancy bracelet. Such items help healthcare workers to act promptly in emergencies. They typically include vital information about the pregnancy, as due date, and about the pregnant person’s medical history, such as their blood type, allergies, and other key medical details that doctors and other healthcare providers may find useful.

Can Whiplash Affect Pregnancy?

Whiplash can have a negative impact on pregnant people. This type of injury may suddenly force a person’s body in one direction and then again in the opposite direction, causing contrecoup injuries. These have a similar impact on fetuses to shaken baby syndrome sufferers, meaning whiplash may increase the risk of birth defects or developmental delays.

Can You Have a Miscarriage in a Car Accident?

Car accidents can cause a pregnant person to experience trauma, irrespective of the incident’s severity, which can increase the risk of a miscarriage, which according to the NLM is the loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Unlike preterm births, in which the likelihood of infant survival is positively correlated with the number of weeks of completed gestation, a miscarriage always entails the loss of the fetus. As a result, this outcome is often the source of additional emotional distress in addition to any physical suffering the pregnant person feels in the wake of an accident. 

Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Accident Attorney Today

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that almost 43,000 people died in road traffic collisions in 2021 and many more received severe injuries, including pregnant people. Pregnant car accident victims may consider contacting a seasoned car accident attorney to review the available legal options. Learn more about what to do when involved in a car accident while pregnant and find out how a Missouri personal injury lawyer from Steelman Gaunt Crowley can assist car accident victims with their legal claims by calling (573) 341.8336 today.