An auto accident is always a scary and disruptive event. Even more so if you are in an auto accident and you or your loved one is pregnant. Whether a minor collision or a serious crash, if you are pregnant, it is imperative that you see your doctor or head to the emergency room as soon as possible. Being pregnant and having any kind of jarring event to the abdomen is cause for real concern. Even if you feel that you may be ok still get checked as there is a high risk for injury that can occur to an unborn fetus in these accidents. Preferably you should get checked at the closest ER immediately after the accident.
Specific Issues With Car Accidents and Pregnancy
The impact of a car accident can be sudden and jarring. The main concern for the pregnant occupant is a placental abruption. This is where the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. By its nature, the womb offers the unborn fetus protection from an impact, but even if the jerking and slamming of the brakes did not seem severe it can still potentially lead to a separation of the placenta.
The separation of the placenta can lead to other serious problems if not discovered. Hemorrhages, miscarriage, or premature labor. The real danger is that even if you are not feeling any symptoms, these events can still occur.
When you are checked at an ER, and you are stabilized, a full obstetric exam should be performed with an ultrasound to check the fetus and the placenta. You may be observed for several hours for any additional issues such as bleeding or contractions.
If you are then sent home watch for vaginal bleeding, leaking fluid, contractions, cramping, and abdominal pain. Also, stay alert to any less movement of the baby. If any of these issues occur seek additional medical attention.
These events are scary and highly emotional, so it’s important to gauge your mental health as well. Talk to friends, family members, or professionals about what you are experiencing.
Safety While Driving Pregnant
Experts recommend you follow these tips while pregnant and driving:
- Always wear a properly fastened seat belt throughout pregnancy. This means ensuring that a three-point seatbelt, complete with both the lap and shoulder straps, is in the proper location. Don’t wrap the lap belt above or in front of your belly as this can lead to placental abruption during an accident.
- Don’t text and drive. While it may seem like sending a quick text is harmless, it’s easy to be distracted and not see an accident that could have been avoided. Other distracted driving that can lead to an accident includes eating, feeding a child or finding a toy for them, using your GPS system, and putting on makeup.
- Make sure your car’s airbags work. Try to keep ten inches between the steering wheel and your breastbone. Consider angling the steering wheel, if it tilts, towards your breastbone rather than your belly or your head.
- Keep emergency contact information with you. This can be something as simple as a card in your wallet that lets first responders know who to call if need be.
- Consider a pregnancy ID bracelet, engraved with your due date, your blood type, and any other medical information that would be crucial for an ER physician to know in case of an emergency.
If You are Injured or Suffer a Miscarriage
If you are injured in a car accident while pregnant, you may have certain rights to be able to recover against an at-fault driver. While in Ohio, any pain and suffering entitles you to recovery, Michigan requires that you are able to show that you suffered what is referred to as a threshold injury (i.e., an injury that results in a serious impairment of a body function).
If you or your loved one suffered a miscarriage as a result of another driver’s negligence, then you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The laws in this area can be very fact-specific, so it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney.
Reach Out to Our Legal Team Today
Any accident can be traumatic, but if you or a loved one is pregnant and in an accident the consequences and the emotions involved can be totally overwhelming. Seek proper care and then contact our compassionate and experienced team of lawyers to listen and help you through an accident involving yourself and your unborn baby. Call Charles E. Boyk Law Offices and speak with an experienced lawyer regarding your case today.