Car accidents can cause traumatic injuries to the occupants of all vehicles involved in the collision. When a pregnant woman is in one of the vehicles, there is a chance that there are two victims. The baby can sustain injuries because of the car accident along with the mother.

It is crucial for a pregnant woman to seek immediate medical care after a car accident. Even a minor car wreck can cause life-threatening injuries for the mother and the unborn baby. Prompt diagnosis and treatment decrease the chance of permanent injuries or death.

During a car crash, a pregnant woman may sustain numerous injuries. The mother may sustain broken bones, brain injuries, neck injuries, and back injuries. Additionally, pregnancy related injuries could affect her health and the health of her unborn child.

Common pregnancy related car accident injuries include:

Placental Abruption 

The placenta provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients. If the placenta detaches or becomes partially detached from the uterine wall before delivery, the baby could suffer from fetal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). Fetal hypoxia from placental abruption can result in stillbirth, tissue damage, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and other permanent impairments. 

Injuries to the Uterus

The uterus is enlarged during pregnancy, which could make it susceptible to injury during a car accident. The uterus could rupture or tear. The result could be life-threatening for the mother and the child.

Injury to the uterus from a car accident could result in internal bleeding. It could also result in premature delivery, which could risk the mother and the child’s lives.

Injuries to the Child

An unborn child can sustain injuries within the uterus during a car accident. The baby could sustain brain damage if the force of the collision causes the baby’s brain to move within the skull, striking the skull in numerous places. The mother may experience a miscarriage if the physical harm to the unborn baby caused by the collision is severe. 

Signs Something Could Be Wrong

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a car accident, you may need emergency medical attention at the hospital:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Contractions
  • Physical trauma to the abdomen
  • Painful or urgent urination
  • Severe headaches
  • Changes in the baby’s movements
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Swelling
  • Fever or chills

It is always wise to see your doctor after a crash, especially if you are pregnant. Your physician performs a complete examination to determine if you or your baby were injured during the collision.

Should Pregnant Women Wear Seat Belts?

Many pregnant women are concerned that a seat belt could cause additional injury during a car accident. However, it is recommended that pregnant women continue to wear a seatbelt and leave the airbags in a vehicle turned on. 

There are some precautions that pregnant women should take when using seat belts during pregnancy:

  • Lap belts should be worn under the stomach so that they cross the hips and pelvic bone
  • Shoulder belts are worn across the center of the chest
  • Position the seat as far back from the steering wheel as possible while still allowing comfortable access to the pedals
  • Seats should be in an upright position to avoid a gap between the shoulder and the seat belt
  • Pregnant women should not operate a vehicle if their stomach touches the steering wheel

If you have questions about driving or riding in a vehicle during your pregnancy, you can talk to your physician. Depending on your condition and other circumstances, your physician may have additional instructions for you regarding the use of seat belts and airbags. 

Who is Liable for Damages to the Mother and Unborn Child Caused by a Car Accident?

If you or your unborn child is injured in a car crash, the person who caused the crash can be held financially liable for any damages caused by the accident. In most cases, the driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying the claim. Liability insurance is required for all drivers in Oklahoma.

Most car accident claims include compensation for your:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Loss of wages, salaries, benefits, and other income
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities
  • Decreases in earning potential
  • Emotional, mental, and physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life

The compensation you receive for a car accident claim depends on many factors. A claim involving injuries to a mother and unborn child can be complicated. There could be future damages if the child or mother sustained permanent impairments because of the car wreck.

Before speaking with an insurance adjuster, you may want to consult with a car accident lawyer. Knowing your legal rights is the best way to protect your best interests and your child’s best interests.