Chicago car accidents are especially dangerous when they involved women who are pregnant.
Pregnant women are at serious risk in a car accident. Not only are they at risk for suffering serious injury, their babies are also at risk due to the tremendous force that our bodies sustained during the extremely rapid deceleration of our vehicle. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for pregnant woman, and may be responsible for several thousand fetal deaths every year, although reliable statistics are not available.
If you were pregnant at the time of your accident, it is crucial that you get an exam, even if you think you have not been hurt.
One of the main risks for pregnant women and the children they carry is uterine separation. When this occurs, the placenta comes away from the uterus, which can deprive a baby of oxygen. Signs of this to look out for include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Leaking fluid
- Abdominal pain
However, you should never wait for any of these symptoms to see your doctor.
Wearing your seat belt properly can help. Make sure the shoulder-lap belt combination is placed so that it puts force on your bones—your shoulder and your pelvis, and not on your abdomen. Airbags can help, too. The steering wheel puts you at additional risk, so let someone else drive sometimes.
Manufacturers are working hard at developing new, safer seat belts and supplementary restraint systems for pregnant women, but currently progress is limited by a poor understanding of the exact source of injury for pregnant women in car accidents.
How to Wear a Seat Belt While Pregnant
Wearing your seat belt correctly while pregnant can save both your life and that of your unborn child if you are involved in a car accident.
We all know how important it is to wear a seatbelt at all times when driving. It can prevent fatal injuries in the event of a car crash. However, pregnant women often wonder whether it is safe to wear a seat belt during pregnancy. They also want to know the best way to wear the seat belt to accommodate their growing belly, and how to protect themselves and the unborn child in the event of a car accident.
At Willens Injury Law Offices, we understand that these doubts are pretty common among pregnant women. In this article, we will offer some tips on how to wear a seat belt correctly during pregnancy.
Wear Your Seat Belt While Pregnant
To start with, it is important for everyone, including pregnant women, to wear a seat belt when riding in any motor vehicle. Seat belts are designed to be worn by pregnant women even if many women do not feel comfortable wearing one. If used properly, seat belts help save lives and can reduce the chances of you suffering a serious injury in a car accident.
How to Wear a Seat Belt When Pregnant
When you are pregnant, you may need to be extra careful when buckling up because you need to ensure that both you and your baby stay safe in the event of a crash. There are certain modifications you can make while wearing a seat belt. Some of these modifications include:
- Make sure you always wear both the shoulder strap and the lap belt. Also, ensure that they both fit you properly.
- Ensure that the shoulder strap is placed between the breasts and to the side of the abdomen. Make sure never to place the shoulder strap under your arm.
- Buckle your lap belt under the belly and over the hips.
Car Accident can Affect Your Pregnancy Adversely
Car accidents can cause a variety of injuries, and when you are pregnant the crash can harm both you and your baby. Depending on how bad the crash and how serious your injuries are, a car accident can increase the risk of developing serious complications during pregnancy such as premature rupture of the membranes, preterm labor, placental abruption, miscarriage and even stillbirth. It is needless to mention that a car accident can cause more damage to a pregnant woman than it can to a normal person.
Car accidents cases involving pregnant women are always painful and emotional, and are the hardest to litigate. Unlike physical injuries that can heal over time, injury to the child or loss of a child can have long lasting effects on the victim. In fact, it shatters the entire family.
Illinois Birth Injuries Caused by Auto Collisions
Car accidents are tragic events that can cause life-threatening injuries including spinal injuries, brain injuries, and amputations. Certain people are at a higher risk of sustaining serious car accident injuries – small children, the elderly, those who are obese or below average height, and pregnant women. Pregnant women face a high risk for serious injuries when in a car accident, leading to birth injuries.
Car Accidents and Pregnant Women
In research published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, more than 870,000 pregnant women who gave birth between 2001 and 2008 were examined. It was found that car accidents pose a serious threat to pregnant women and their unborn babies. The study revealed that trauma is a leading cause of death among unborn babies. The impact of a car crash can cause damage to the organ systems that are shared by the mother and fetus.
Fetal Injury in a Vehicle Collision
Each year, hundreds of babies are born with complications, injuries, and permanent defects resulting from injuries their mothers suffered in serious car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents cause almost 5,000 fetal deaths each year as a result of collision injuries. The risk of a pregnant woman getting into a car accident is only three percent; however, the risk of the unborn baby suffering injuries if the mother is in an accident is 70 percent. Collision-related birth injuries include:
- Premature birth – A car crash can cause internal injuries that damage the uterus. This can lead to a miscarriage or premature birth.
- Cuts, puncture wounds, lacerations – Debris, sharp objects, and broken glass may puncture the mother’s abdomen. This can cut or stab the fetus.
- Brain damage – Hypoxic (lack of oxygen) effects the uterus and can cause the placenta to detach or can cause maternal bleeding or maternal hypoxia.
How Pregnant Women Can Avoid Injuries
Pregnant women need to be extra cautious when driving and take necessary precautions to avoid getting injured in accidents. Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk of a car accident, certain precautions can reduce the risk:
- Be focused on the road and avoid distracted driving.
- Drive when well rested.
- Be extra cautious when traveling in unfamiliar areas and on longer road trips.
- Wear a seat belt at all times.
These simple steps can go a long way in preventing injuries and fatalities.
If you have been injured or your baby has been hurt due to an accident in which the other driver was at fault, you may be able to get compensation for injuries with the help of a personal injury lawyer.