Victims in car accidents can sustain traumatic injuries. In some cases, those injuries can result in disabilities or long-term impairments. However, when an accident victim is pregnant, the potential for injury impacts both the mother and her unborn child.

Pregnant Women Need Immediate Medical Attention After a Car Accident

Prompt medical care after a car crash is wise for all accident victims. However, for a pregnant woman, immediate medical care is essential for her and the baby. Even though the mother may not believe she was seriously injured, the unborn child could have sustained injuries that are not immediately known after the crash.

Furthermore, a pregnant woman may sustain some injuries that could quickly become life-threatening for her and the baby. Being checked by a physician as soon as possible after a car wreck is the best way to prevent car accident injuries from becoming more severe for the mother and the baby.

Common Car Accident Injuries Pregnant Women Might Sustain

Car wrecks result in a variety of injuries, including broken bones, whiplash, back injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to these common car accident injuries, pregnant women may also sustain pregnancy-related car accident injuries

Some common pregnancy-related car accident injuries to be on the lookout for after a car wreck include:

Placental Abruption 

During the collision, the mother’s body could sustain injuries that result in the placenta becoming detached from the uterine wall. This condition is called placental abruption.

Because the baby receives oxygen through the placenta, any detachment or damage to the placenta could result in severe and life-threatening conditions for the baby. The baby could develop brain damage, cerebral palsy, and tissue damage. In some cases, the baby may be stillborn.

Injuries to the Uterus 

The uterus is enlarged during pregnancy, increasing the risk of injury to the uterus during a car accident. A blow to the uterus or pressure placed on the uterus during the collision could injure the baby. It could also cause life-threatening conditions for the mother.

Injuries to the Fetus

The unborn baby could also sustain injuries during a car accident. The accident could result in brain damage and broken bones. When the injuries to the unborn baby are severe, the result could be a miscarriage. 

If you are involved in a car accident while pregnant, report any symptoms to your doctor immediately. Your doctor might decide to perform an ultrasound or other tests to ensure that you and your baby have not sustained severe injuries because of the car wreck. Depending on your situation and health, your doctor might admit you to the hospital of observation or order bed rest at home.

Make sure to go over warning signs that you or your baby could be in distress with your doctor. Symptoms that generally require emergency medical attention include, but are not limited to:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Contractions 
  • Changes in the baby’s movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Painful or urgent urination
  • Swelling
  • Chills or fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Physical trauma to the abdomen

Any changes in your health or condition could indicate a more severe injury or condition. It is best to err on the side of caution to protect your health and your unborn baby’s health.

What Compensation Can a Pregnant Woman Claim for a Car Accident?

In most cases, pregnant women are entitled to compensation for the same types of damages as all other accident victims could receive when filing a personal injury claim. 

Damages caused by a car accident can include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Loss of wages, benefits, salary, and other income
  • Impairments and permanent disabilities
  • Decreases in earning potential
  • Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In some cases, you may also receive compensation related to injuries and losses your baby sustained because of the accident. Proving that the car crash caused your baby’s injuries can be challenging. Working with medical experts and experienced personal injury lawyers can help increase the chance that you and your baby receive the compensation you deserve for a car accident claim.

Seatbelts and Airbags During Pregnancy

There may be some confusion about whether pregnant women should wear seatbelts and leave airbags turned on when in a car. Some people believe that seatbelts and airbags could cause additional injuries during a car accident.

The NHTSA recommends that pregnant women continue to wear seatbelts. However, it does provide guidance on how to use seatbelts during pregnancy to make them safer for the mother and unborn baby.

If you are unsure what is best for you, talk to your physician. Your doctor can give you instructions about the use of seatbelts and airbags during pregnancy.