Any car accident caused by a negligent driver can result in the victims suffering serious injuries or death. However, the dangers are magnified if one of the victims is a pregnant woman. The force of the impact of the collision can cause complications in the woman’s pregnancy and endanger her child. It can also make the trauma of the wreck significantly worse with the worries over the long-term effects on the baby’s health.
Car Accident Risks to a Pregnant Woman and Her Baby
Any auto accident can create unforeseen complications, so it's crucial that an expectant mother seek medical attention immediately after the crash, whether or not she believes she suffered any injuries. Even if her injuries are similar to those that other accident victims suffer, what's happened to the baby may be harder to determine.
Here are some critical health concerns for pregnant women after an accident:
- Miscarriage. Unfortunately, the force of crash impact can cause a woman to have a miscarriage, which is the accidental loss of a fetus before the end of the 20th week of pregnancy; or a partial miscarriage, where part of the fetus is expelled.
- Preterm birth. A mother can deliver her baby prematurely as a result of a car accident. Generally, if a baby is born close to 37 weeks or later, he's less likely to suffer complications. However, if the baby needs to be delivered earlier, he may need to stay in the hospital for a lengthy period of time to be fed through an IV or tube, for breathing assistance, and to be monitored for serious health problems. In addition, the baby could suffer long-term disabilities, cognitive impairments, cerebral palsy, and other serious health problems.
- High-risk pregnancy. A pregnancy is considered high-risk if the woman or fetus suffered injuries and this increases the likelihood of complications to either of them for the rest of the term, during labor, or after birth.
- Coup-contrecoup injury. A fetus can be seriously injured in a car accident even if there's not physical contact. Coup-contrecoup injuries are caused by the sudden stopping of a vehicle, resulting in the brain either receiving damage on the impact side, and/or in the opposite direction against the skull. These injuries often cause irreversible health complications.
- Placental abruption. The force of a crash may cause placental disruption, which is the premature separation of the placenta from the inner wall of the uterus. The baby may be deprived of oxygen and nutrients, and the mother may experience additional complications. If not diagnosed right away, both lives may be in danger.
If you're pregnant and injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by another driver, our experienced and compassionate car accident attorneys are ready to fight for the expensive medical treatments your baby and you may need, your lost wages, and your emotional distress—which can be greater than that of other accident victims. To learn how to hold the at-fault driver accountable, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.