How risky is driving for pregnant women? What health risks does an automobile accident create for a pregnant woman and the fetus? Studies conducted in Canada showed that approximately one in every fifty women will be involved in a serious automobile accident during their pregnancy. In the US, studies by the CDC indicate that roughly 170,000 car accidents each year involve pregnant women. This makes car accidents one of the leading causes of death and serious injury during pregnancy. The potential risk rises in the first month of pregnancy and again during the last trimester. When an automobile accident occurs, prompt treatment and thorough long-term monitoring is essential for the health and safety of both mother and child.
Unborn children are at particular risk for harm and serious injury during an automobile accident. The effects of an automobile accident can cause significant stress which can diminish the mother's health due to difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, headaches, and other ill effects that can diminish the mother's health. In turn, these effects transfer to the fetus which can affect its development and growth as the mother brings the pregnancy to term.
In the later stages of pregnancy, a sudden impact in a car accident can cause a placental abruption. This affects approximately 1% of all pregnancies and can lead to growth problems, premature birth, and stillbirth. Once the placenta detaches, it is not possible via current medical science to reattach it and 15% of instances of placental abruption result in the death of the fetus. Nationwide, it is estimated that up to 82% of all fetal deaths are the result of car accidents. Additional causes of fetal deaths following accidents include uterine rupture, laceration, and direct traumatic impact. In many instances, these placental abruptions may be missed by the hospital or by the attorney so it is essential to review the records to see what trauma occurred to the unborn fetus. You need to review the fetal monitoring strips to look for rapid accelerations and decelerations indicating tachycardia and bradycardia. If your lawyer has never done medical malpractice work they may not know to look for this.
Severe trauma is responsible for complicating 1 in every 12 pregnancies. While 9 out of every 10 cases of trauma are considered "minor," these injuries are responsible for causing between 60% to 70% of all fetal losses. As such, all women who are pregnant at the time of an automobile accident should seek qualified medical care. Any symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge, abdominal pains, loss of consciousness, feeling faint, vomiting, or persistent headaches should be promptly reported and investigated.
Expectant mothers should carefully monitor themselves for these symptoms as well as any noticeable changes in the movements of the baby and their overall health. At a bare minimum, pregnant women at greater than 20 weeks gestation should be monitored by a tocodynamometer for several hours following an accident and insist upon a full obstetric exam as well as an ultrasound to confirm that the placenta is intact and the baby is unharmed. This is a particularly dangerous window and the majority of pregnancies that are lost are lost during the hours and days immediately following an automobile accident. Upon release, pregnant women should carefully monitor their own health over the days and weeks that follow and should promptly seek medical care at the earliest hint that there has been a change to the pregnancy. It is extremely important to see a physician immediately after the accident and to continue seeing them during pregnancy to monitor for changes in fetal health and status.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents pregnant women who are involved in car accidents in Garden City, Colby, Hays, Salina, Kearney, Dodge City, Omaha, Lincoln, Guymon, Oklahoma City, Stillwell, Norman, Tulsa, Wellington, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Springfield, Emporia, Arkansas City, Winfield, Coffeyville, Joplin, Liberal, Kansas City, Wichita, and elsewhere in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois. We help clients document the injuries they have sustained and pursue claims to cover the costs of medical care including enhanced monitoring for the duration of the pregnancy and after the child is born.
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