If there is anything more terrifying than being in a serious car accident, it is being in a serious accident while pregnant. An expecting mother who is involved in a car crash has so much to worry about. The worry goes far beyond her own injuries. Many pregnant accident victims worry about whether the crash will have a negative impact on their pregnancy or cause problems for the baby. Some estimates suggest that as many as 5,000 fetal deaths might be attributed to auto accidents each year.
Pregnant Women Face Special Concerns About Driving
Not all crashes will result in a fetal death. Still, a pregnant woman should be aware of different types of injuries and complications that could arise in an auto accident:
- Abdominal pain – This can be a sign of internal bleeding, fetal distress or other complications.
- Painful, difficult or irregular urination – This could be a sign of bladder injury or other internal injuries.
- Excess vaginal bleeding – While many women experience periodic light spotting during pregnancy, heavy or continued bleeding could be evidence of trauma to the uterus and, in extreme cases, may signal a miscarriage.
- Dizziness – Rapid changes in blood pressure can spell problems for an expecting mother as these changes can signal problems for the mother and the baby.
- Fainting or passing out – Rapid changes in mental status or drops in blood pressure can be very serious and should be treated immediately.
- Excess swelling – Often this can lead to things like varicose veins. It can also be a sign of more serious health problems.
- Headaches – Persistent and/or intense headaches may be a sign of hormone imbalances, which may or may not be caused by an accident. However, headaches can also be caused by other conditions like whiplash and muscle strain, which can, in turn, can make pregnancy much more painful and uncomfortable.
- Change in your baby’s movement – Perhaps one of the most telling signs of a potential threat to the unborn child is a change in movement. If your baby typically kicks and moves a lot and suddenly stops after an accident, you should treat this as an emergency condition.
- Bruising to your stomach and chest – Seatbelts often do not position the same way as they did before you had a large stomach in your way. This can cause abnormally severe bruising or serious trauma to your stomach and chest in a collision.
It is important to make sure that you have the proper safety equipment in your vehicle, including airbags. Many women worry about airbags creating a danger to them and their babies. However, as one study out of the University of Washington found, when an airbag is used correctly in combination with a safety belt, the risk of not having an airbag is far greater than any potential harm that can be caused by one.
Take These Steps After a Car Accident If You Are Pregnant
If you are in a car crash while pregnant, you should take it seriously. Here are some quick steps to follow:
- Go to the hospital – Hospital staff will likely connect you to a fetal monitor to check your baby’s heart rate and other vital signs. They will monitor you for signs of fetal distress and other potential problems. They may also do other tests like ultrasounds, X-rays, urine tests and blood tests. You should expect the examination to take some time – but it will be worth it in terms of protecting your health and your baby’s health.
- Call your obstetrician right away – Let your obstetrician know that you were involved in a motor vehicle crash and keep the doctor in the loop as you receive treatment for your injuries.
- Keep all of your records – Make sure you keep track of where you were treated for your injuries and attended to you. You will likely need to obtain these records later to establish a claim for damages.
- Get follow-up care – Make sure to follow the treatment plan that your doctor establishes.
- Stay calm and keep relaxed – One of the most important things you can do during your pregnancy is to remain relaxed. Try to avoid stressful situations during the aftermath of the crash. Delegate tasks when possible.
- Hire a lawyer – One way to delegate stressful tasks is to have an experienced attorney handle your case for you. While you recover, you should be focused on getting medical care and taking care of yourself and your baby. Let an attorney handle the investigations and dealing with insurance companies.
Our Virginia Car Accident Attorneys Are Here for You
Marks & Harrison has a history of service that goes back more than 100 years and, today, features 10 offices located throughout Virginia. Every day, we help people just like you who are injured through no fault of their own, whether by drunk, distracted, or otherwise careless motorists. We know the pain and difficulty you face when recovering from a serious injury, and we want to help. No one should have to suffer and worry alone.
You deserve to be represented by attorneys who will help you to understand what is happening and will explain your rights in a commonsense way. You deserve to have attorneys who will work to protect your rights so you don’t get taken advantage of by insurance claims adjusters. You deserve a firm with the resources to handle all matters arising from your car crash. Our attorneys are sensitive to the unique needs of expectant mothers and the challenges they face after a collision. If you need help with your auto accident case, trust Marks & Harrison. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Joel R. McClellan is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Valparaiso University School of Law who has represented hundreds of personal injury victims throughout Virginia as an attorney with Marks & Harrison. Joel is licensed to practice in Virginia, the District of Columbia and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. He has also chaired the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association’s Young Trial Lawyers section and served on the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Advisory Council and on the Executive Committee of the Richmond Bar Association’s Young Lawyers section.