What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident While Pregnant
If you are ever involved in a car accident while pregnant, it is very important that you see a doctor, particularly if you sustained a blow to your stomach or abdominal area. An auto accident while pregnant can increase the risk of your baby suffering from injuries or medical complications, but early diagnosis and intervention will give you and your child the best chance of recovery. If you or your baby was hurt in a car crash in Utah, you should contact the experienced Salt Lake City car accident lawyers of Overson Law for a free legal consultation about your claim. Your family could be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
3 Pregnancy Injuries and Complications Caused by Car Accidents
Many studies have examined the medical relationship between pregnancy and auto accidents. While their data varies, their conclusions are consistent: car accidents increase the odds of prenatal injuries and birth complications.
For example, one recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which examined more than 875,000 pregnant women from the ages of 16 to 46, found that a single crash increased the risk of:
- Placental Abruption — Placental abruption occurs when part of the placenta, which provides oxygen and nourishment for the developing fetus, physically separates from the interior walls of the uterus. When this happens, the torn area can fill with blood, endangering the health of both mother and child. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 15% of severe placental abruptions are fatal for the baby. Surviving infants have a 40% to 50% increased chance of long-term complications, including cerebral palsy.
- Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) — PROM is also called pre-labor rupture of membranes, but most people know it by a different term — the pregnant woman’s “water breaking.” What’s actually occurring is that the amniotic sac, which encloses the developing fetus, is rupturing. If PROM occurs before you’re at least 37 weeks pregnant, you will probably need to be hospitalized and given antibiotics and steroids. PROM can cause complications including amniotic fluid infection, umbilical cord prolapse, umbilical cord compression, and increased risk of preterm birth.
- Preterm Birth — Preterm birth is premature birth occurring before the 37th week of pregnancy. Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death in the United States. It can lead to serious long-term complications including impaired hearing, impaired vision, respiratory problems, cerebral palsy, and developmental delay.
Another study (which does contain some graphic medical images) in the Journal of Injury and Violence Research found that up to 7% of pregnant women suffer traumatic injuries, which “are among the most common causes of nonobstetric maternal risk factors for spontaneous abortion, preterm labor, premature delivery, and mortality.” The same study identified car accidents as the leading cause of traumatic injuries during pregnancy, followed by domestic violence and slip and fall accidents.
How Long After a Crash Should I Wait to See a Doctor?
Regardless of your age, any underlying medical conditions you might have, or any other factors, you should always see a physician as soon as possible following a car accident. The sooner you can be examined, the better. Ideally, you would receive medical help within 72 hours at most.
While it is always advised to see a doctor soon after a crash, there are some emergency symptoms that require urgent medical attention. If you notice any of the following symptoms at any point after your accident, you could be suffering from a very serious injury and should contact a doctor immediately:
- Changes to vaginal discharge, which could be a warning sign that preterm labor is beginning.
- Fainting, or feeling like you’re slipping in and out of consciousness.
- Feelings of grogginess, confusion, or memory loss, which could indicate a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Painful or abnormally frequent urination.
- Persistent or recurring pain in any body part, including headaches.
- Spotting or vaginal bleeding.
Contact Our Salt Lake County Auto Accident Lawyers
Being injured in a car accident is a frightening experience, especially when you’re worried about the health and safety of your unborn child. The insurance paperwork may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry: you can depend on Salt Lake car crash attorney Darwin Overson for around-the-clock legal representation and support.
With more than 33 years of experience, Darwin is a tough negotiator and aggressive courtroom opponent who doesn’t back down from a legal challenge.
Additionally, Darwin’s experience handling Utah birth injury lawsuits further equips him with extensive knowledge of prenatal injuries and their medical complications.
If you or your developing baby was injured in a car crash, Darwin wants to do everything he can to recover compensation for you. Compensation may be available for your medical bills, losses of income, pain and suffering, and other hardships caused by the accident.
To set up a free legal consultation with Utah auto accident attorney, Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143. Your information will be kept confidential. Darwin handles car accident claims throughout the state of Utah, including Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Orem, and Provo.