Car Accidents During Pregnancy: Risks and Prevention

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life; and, for most expectant moms, those nine months are a time for planning, dreaming and enjoying the experience of bringing life into the world. However, along with the excitement of impending motherhood comes a fair amount of anxiety concerning the health and well-being of both mother and child. Indeed, it’s extremely common for expectant moms to worry about every little thing, including issues and complications that are unforeseeable or unpreventable.

Take car accidents, for example. Always cause for concern, crashes and fender benders are especially worrisome during pregnancy. Keep reading for more on car accidents during pregnancy, including tips on how to protect yourself, which questions to ask your doctor, and more.


Car Accidents During Pregnancy: The Risks

Aside from the risks associated with serious accidents, even the mildest fender benders can be dangerous during pregnancy. What’s more, a number of factors contribute to the risks of these types of accidents, some of which include the following:

  • How far along you are in your pregnancy.
  • Whether or not you were wearing  seat belt.
  • Whether or not there was a sudden, jarring impact.
  • Whether or not the airbags deployed.
  • Whether or not you experienced any injuries to the abdomen.
  • Whether or not you were injured anywhere else on your body.

For women in the early stages of pregnancy, a minor accident with no obvious injuries does not pose significant risks. Amniotic fluid provides a fair amount of cushioning, which will likely protect the baby from harm. However, in some cases, a sudden impact may increase the risks of placental abruption, which is characterized by the placenta separating from the uterus. As a result of placental abruption, the risk of hemorrhage, miscarriage, premature delivery and other complications is increased.

What to Do in Case of an Accident 

If you are involved in an accident during pregnancy, seek immediate medical attention, even if no injuries are apparent. In the emergency room, a doctor will perform a general exam, and will likely order a full obstetric exam and an ultrasound. When you’re all clear to go home, you’ll be asked to monitor factors like fetal movement, as well as watch out for bleeding, contractions and other complications.

Since accidents are often the fault of another driver, speaking with a lawyer can help protect expectant moms when it comes to medical bills, lost wages and other factors. And, according to the San Diego-based legal experts at, a personal injury attorney can help accident victims recover damages from insurance companies, as well.

Further, factors like seat belts and airbags can affect the risks of an accident during pregnancy. Seat belts, which many pregnancy women feel uncomfortable wearing, are absolutely crucial in preventing fetal damage during an accident; airbags, on the other hand, have been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery. So, if you are involved in an accident during your pregnancy, be sure to give your doctor information regarding airbags and other safety features.

In instances of broken bones, head injuries and any injuries that don’t involve the abdomen, pregnant women should always inform healthcare workers of their pregnancies prior to receiving any treatment, or taking any medications.

Reducing Your Risks

Although some accidents cannot be avoided, there are ways expectant moms can protect themselves and their babies. First of all, it’s important to understand that pregnancy symptoms like fatigue, light-headedness, drowsiness and back pain may contribute to hazardous circumstances when driving. Plus, due to an expanding belly, women might experience difficulties making split-second maneuvers when operating an automobile. Because of all these risks, pregnancy women should perform a day-to-day assessment of their well-being before getting behind the wheel, and opt for carpooling or public transportation if any potentially-harmful symptoms are present.

Although an accident during pregnancy is cause for alarm, the information provided here can help, both before and after the fact. Good luck, and drive safely!