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What To Do After A Car Accident While Pregnant

What To Do After A Car Accident While Pregnant

The excitement and anticipation involved with being pregnant are unlike anything else. However, pregnant women also have to take extra precautions in their day-to-day lives, such as when driving cars, to protect themselves and their unborn children. For many pregnant women, the first step in safeguarding themselves and their babies is learning about the risks involved in being in a car accident while pregnant and preparing a plan for what to do if this occurs.

What Should a Pregnant Woman Do After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, an essential step for a pregnant woman to do is to stay as calm as possible and seek medical attention. The pregnant woman and her unborn child have experienced a traumatic event and need time to settle their nerves. Further, worry can cause additional stress to both parties and lead to further injury due to inattention or anxiety.

Pregnant women should first go to the emergency room or nearby urgent care to identify any threats to their health and their babies. The medical team will likely perform a full evaluation and use scans to search for and locate any internal injuries to the pregnant woman or her child. After she receives urgent medical attention, the pregnant woman should then make an appointment with her obstetrician to address any possible concerns about the baby or the mother’s health stemming from the accident. The mother should also document her symptoms to monitor and identify worrying signs or changes and bring these to her doctor.

What Are the Risks of Getting into a Car Accident While Pregnant?

Car accidents pose a serious risk to the mother and her unborn child. According to the National Library of Medicine, car accidents are the leading cause of death for expectant mothers and their babies. Another study published in the National Library of Medicine found that motor vehicle accidents are, unfortunately, one of the most common causes of direct harm to the fetus during pregnancy, which is relatively uncommon otherwise.

On type of direct harm that a baby can experience is placental abruption. As the Mayo Clinic explains, placental abruption is when the placenta separates from the uterus, interrupting the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the developing fetus. This can cause permanent brain damage or even death. Placental abruption also poses a threat to the health of the mother as well.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Have a Miscarriage?

Because of the force involved in a collision, an auto crash can so greatly damage the baby or the mother that a miscarriage occurs. Pregnant women may experience a miscarriage immediately after a car accident, or, in some cases, the miscarriage can occur days or weeks afterward. Women who were in a car accident while pregnant might consider contacting a car accident lawyer to help them understand and assert their legal rights.

The factors that impact the likelihood of a miscarriage after a car accident include the severity of the accident, how far along the woman’s pregnancy is, and whether she sought medical attention after the crash. Unfortunately, even relatively minor accidents can pose a risk to the mother and her baby. Mothers who see a doctor after a crash may still experience adverse pregnancy-related events related to the collision.

Can Whiplash Affect a Pregnancy?

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash occurs when a person is forcefully thrust in one direction and then another due to a sudden impact, such as from a car accident or sports injury. Whiplash can cause localized pain, discomfort, and stiffness to the pregnant woman’s neck and shoulders and typically impacts the range of motion of her head and neck. In serious cases, the pregnant woman may also experience vision changes, sleep disturbances, and other adverse effects.

In some cases, especially if the whiplash is severe, it can impact the pregnancy because of the stress it has on the mother’s body. In most cases, however, whiplash, on its own, does not cause direct harm to the unborn baby. The baby is more likely to experience direct or indirect injuries from the force of the collision rather than the mother developing whiplash.

Can a Car Accident Cause Birth Defects?

Babies may develop birth defects stemming from injuries they experienced during a car accident while in their mother’s womb. Birth defects may be caused by placental abruption, which cuts off the baby’s access to nutrients and oxygen through the placenta. Direct trauma, such as if the mother is struck in the abdomen during the crash, may likewise harm the baby and cause other interruptions to the normal developmental process.


Because of the delicate process involved with growing life, traumatic events such as getting into a car accident while pregnant can harm the mother and her unborn baby. Seeking a car accident attorney and medical attention after the crash, tracking her symptoms, and staying in contact with her OBGYN can help a pregnant mother and her baby stay healthy and address any concerns. By identifying the risks and developing a plan for what to do if she is in a crash, the expectant mother can help to protect herself and her baby.

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