Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of fetal mortality and serious maternal injury, and around 93,000 expectant women are affected every year.
Risks to Pregnant Women After an Accident
Premature Birth – A premature birth (meaning before the 37th week of pregnancy) can happen after a car accident due to the stress on the mother’s body during and after the accident.
Birth Defects – Babies who are born prematurely are at a risk for birth defects. The earlier the baby arrives, the greater the chance of disabilities.
Miscarriage – Miscarriages aren’t common after an accident due to the fact the amniotic fluid protects the baby. However, they can occur if a women’s stomach or uterus is punctured.
Placental Abruption – This is a very serious condition that’s caused when the placenta partially or totally separates from the uterus prior to the baby’s birth. Women who sustain abdominal trauma during an accident have an increased risk for this condition.
Medical Attention After an Accident
Pregnant women should see their doctor immediately after an accident, especially if they have any of the following symptoms:
- Constant headaches
- Swelling in the face or fingers
- Pain in the abdomen or shoulders
- A noticeable change in the baby’s movements
- Fever or chills
- Vomiting unrelated to morning sickness