When a woman is expecting, there are always health risks associated with her pregnancy. Most women make vehement efforts to lower the risk of complications by strictly adhering to their doctor's orders. During the typical pregnancy, expecting mothers make a conscious choice to stop consuming alcohol and eating certain foods, and make sure they aren't exposed to substances that would harm their unborn child. But many may overlook the dangers they face every time they enter their vehicle to go to a doctor's appointment, drive to work, or run errands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average pregnant women has a 1 in 50 statistical risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash at some point during her pregnancy. This translates to about 170,000 car crashes every year that involve pregnant women - an alarmingly high number considering the risks that are posed to both the expecting mother and her baby in the event of an accident.
What to Do After an Accident
No matter how serious or minor a car accident may seem, women are presented with a unique risk of increased complications when they are with child. They not only have to consider their own health, they must also consider the health and wellbeing of their unborn baby. In the event of an accident, pregnant women are urged to seek immediate medical attention even if they feel as if nothing is wrong, but experts say that mothers should especially check themselves into the care of medical professionals if they experience any of the following symptoms in the aftermath of an accident:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain in the pelvis or belly
- Loss of consciousness
- Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
- Swelling in the face or fingers
- Persistent vomiting not related to morning sickness
- A severe headache
- Chills or a fever
- Pain in the abdomen or shoulders
- Dizziness and/or faintness
- The baby's movements feel less frequent or more frequent
Risks to the Mother
A baby's health depends heavily on the overall condition of the mother. Since the fetus shares nutrients, oxygen supply, and blood with her mother, the trauma that a mother experiences may affect the fetus. As with any other victim in a car accident, a pregnant woman may suffer the following injuries:
- Severe bruising
- Loss of blood and oxygen
- Broken bones
- Loss of oxygen
- Emotional trauma
- Head trauma
When an expecting mother is involved in a car accident, she may need to see a specialist, commonly referred to as a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, that handles patients who are likely to have a high-risk pregnancy. Having a high-risk pregnancy entails receiving more medical assistance to ensure that a woman sustains good health throughout a pregnancy and that the delivery goes as smoothly as possible. This means that a mother may attend more prenatal appointments and be monitored more thoroughly by medical practitioners. Although a mother may have a high-risk pregnancy, it doesn't guarantee that she or her baby will experience problems during the delivery process.
Risks to the Fetus
Equally as important, an expecting mother must be aware of the injuries that could adversely affect the fetus. As mentioned above, the only way to ensure that the fetus is in good health is to immediately seek medical attention from a practitioner after an accident. A car accident could result in the following injuries for an unborn child:
This type of injury occurs when the placenta - a source of nourishment for the baby - separates from the uterus before a delivery. As a result, the baby is stripped of the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to survive. When a placental abruption is left undiagnosed it can endanger the lives of both the mother and her baby.
The impact of a car accident on a baby's brain or body may result in him or her being born with a functional or developmental birth defect. These birth defects can cause intellectual disabilities or developmental issues in a child, causing him or her to have to attend physical therapy and be monitored by specialists for the rest of his or her life.
Miscarriage or Stillbirth
An auto accident may result in the loss of a pregnancy. If this loss happens within the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy, this is known as a miscarriage. Any loss that happens after this duration of time is known as a stillbirth. Maternal trauma and other factors may result in either one of these unfortunate losses.
The Importance of Legal Representation
Having to undergo additional medical treatments, see a separate specialist, and attend extra appointments due to an accident can be incredibly costly. And the thought of these accrued medical fees on top of the expenses that new parents will be faced with when the baby is eventually born is more than enough to overwhelm new parents. Fortunately, with the help of a legal professional, families have the option of pursuing a legal remedy to recover all the damages they sustained as a result of an auto accident.
There are also equally important emotional and psychological damages that a mother may be able to recover with the help of an attorney. Emotional distress caused by the trauma of an accident or, in extreme circumstances, the loss of a child warrants legal representation for the mother and the unborn child.
Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
Car accidents are scary for anyone involved, but that fear is intensified for women who are pregnant. The attorneys at the law firm of Jeremy Rosenthal understand that any injury, whether minor or severe, inflicted to a mother or her baby, takes a huge emotional, physical and financial toll on the family. Let us handle the legal obligations while you recuperate. Contact us today for a consultation.