What if I was in a Car Accident While Pregnant?

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Attorney Jeb Butler is here to talk about what could happen if you are involved in an accident while pregnant.

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► Car wrecks are always scary, but if you’re in an accident while pregnant, they can be especially terrifying because you’re not just worried about yourself. You’re worried about injuries to the baby. Miscarriages, stillbirths. So the first question folks ask if they’ve been in a car accident while pregnant is, is my baby going to be okay? The answer fortunately is most of the time, yes. There are according statistical estimates, about 200,000 car wrecks per year in which pregnant women are involved and tragedies do happen.
► But statistically, at least, if you’re the kind of person who wants to know this, the chances of severe injury to fetus are pretty low. Estimates say from about 1,500 to 5,000 fetus are lost each year in car accidents out of 200,000 total collisions. So the odds are pretty good. And sort of, I guess, unsurprisingly, it depends a lot on what kind of crash you’re in. So we’ll look at a couple pictures, but this is, I think, fairly intuitive. I mean, it makes sense if your car looks like this after the collision, if you were involved in a fender bender, more than likely your baby’s fine.
► If it was more severe and if your car looks like this after the collision, then there might be something to worry about. There are a few different types of injuries that we’ll talk about today, but the overarching theme is that nature protects your baby pretty well. We have a little image here of a baby in the womb. Nature does a pretty good job here. Women while pregnant have been getting bumped and jostled and taking falls for as long as humans have existed, and nature does a good job of protecting the baby at least most of the time.
► So we don’t mean to freak anybody out, but it is possible that injuries can occur if you’re in a car accident while pregnant. So we’ll talk about some of those injury types next. And the first one that we’ll talk about is called a placental abruption. A placental abruption occurs when the placenta is torn away from the wall of the uterus. And we have a diagram how that might look. On the left here, you can see the normal placenta and uterus and then on the right is the tear where the placenta has torn away from the uterine wall or the wall of the uterus right here.
► Often that little area will fill with blood. That can be dangerous. And if you have a central abruption, that is an emergency because it can affect and greatly diminish the amount of blood and oxygen available to your baby. That’s not a good thing. So prompt, fast medical attention is really important. The next kind of injury we’ll talk about is a uterine rupture. These are more rare, but they involve a tear to the uterus itself. So you’re going to see this far more often in a more serious type collision where there’s some heavy trauma, maybe the baby strikes the steering wheel or is thrown into something else in the car.
► But a uterine rupture me that the uterus is torn. In this little illustration, they have the baby’s head tearing the uterus right here. That’s also an emergency and it’s an even greater faster emergency because blood starts to get lost. So the effect on the baby is strong and immediate. So if this does happen, which is uncommon, it is a real grade A emergency. The next that we’ll talk about is maternal shock. Now, shock is a word that we hear a lot. People talk about me shell shocked, and sometimes when they’re scared or frightened or surprised, they’ll say, I was shocked.

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