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What To Do After a Car Accident When Pregnant

A five-year study in Canada took a close look at the odds of being in a car accident while pregnant. They studied 507,262 women during those five years. Of that number, 6,922 were in a car accident. As a percentage, this risk breaks down to about 1.3%. It doesn’t seem like much.

There are things to remember, however. Certain areas have higher rates of car accidents. If you reside in a large metropolitan where crashes are common, the odds greatly increase. In 2018, the accident rates were highest in five cities:

  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Los Angeles, California
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Sacramento, California
  • Louis, Missouri

If you drive in one of these cities, the accident rates are higher, but that still doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be in a crash while pregnant. Proactive driving helps keep you safe. If a crash does occur, there are things you can do to keep your baby and yourself safe.

How to Stay Safe

In the event of a crash, wearing a seat belt saves you and the fetus. Make sure the seat belt is placed below your abdomen. You want the lap belt to run from hip bone to hip bone. You don’t want that lap belt over your expanded belly. The shoulder portion of the belt shouldn’t rub against your neck. It should be halfway between your neck and farthest part of your shoulder.

Drive at safe speeds and stay alert. Driving too slowly or too fast is a risk. While you are in motion or stopped at a light or sign, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. You don’t want to start going through an intersection if there’s a car coming from the left or right that is rushing to the intersection. They may not stop.

If you’re tired or having a rough day with morning sickness, ask someone else to drive. It’s not worth risking your safety by forcing yourself to drive anyway.

How Does a Crash Impact the Fetus?

How much impact a crash has on the fetus depends on the severity of the crash and the current stage of fetal development. The amniotic fluid acts as a cushion. In the early stages of pregnancy, your fetus is unlikely to be impacted by a crash at all. The biggest risk is severe injuries that harm you. If you lose a lot of blood or you’re not getting enough oxygen, that could impact the fetus.

As you move into the second and third trimester, the risk increases. The uterus is larger and getting stretched to the max. If you’re not wearing a seat belt and smash into the steering wheel, there is a risk of causing a tear in the uterus that could impact the fetus. The fetus’s head could also get smashed between the bones of the pelvis and the steering wheel, which could cause head trauma.

If the crash causes early labor, it’s important to get to the hospital. If it’s too early, the fetus may not be developed enough to survive. Steroid injections help the fetuses lungs develop quickly if the labor can’t be stopped. If there’s a chance to stop the premature labor, it’s important to extend the pregnancy for as long as possible. That might mean bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy.

What Do You Do If You’re in a Crash?

If you are in a crash, demand that you are taken to the hospital. Have someone call your OB/GYN and ask to be checked. An ultrasound will look for problems. You need to make sure the force of the impact didn’t cause the placenta to separate from the uterine wall. The fetal heart rate can also be checked to look for distress.

Follow the doctor’s orders. If you’re told to stop working and stay off your feet, do so. Don’t let worries about the lack of income put your baby’s health at risk. If the car accident has forced you to stop working, the insurance settlement will cover lost income. If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, talk to a personal injury attorney that specializes in car accidents.

In 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Carpenter & Zuckerman had the most verdicts of all California law firms. Carpenter & Zuckerman’s lawyers have won more than $1.5 billion for their clients. Many of these verdicts have led to substantial amounts for the victims. A person injured by another driver who was texting and driving was awarded $10.5 million thanks to Carpenter & Zuckerman.

If you or your fetus was harmed or a crash led to premature birth, you need to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. Call 1-888-CZR-FIRST for a free consultation. Lawyers are available 24/7, so don’t worry about needing to call late at night if that works best.

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