It’s scary to think about the possibility of being in a car crash when you are pregnant. While the fear of a crash is not something that should cause major anxiety during your pregnancy, it is important to know what to do in the event that it happens. Here’s what the experts say:
Whether you’re going down the street or across the country, when you’re traveling in the car you should always wear a seat belt. This is never more important than when you are pregnant. Some expectant moms have the misconception that seat belts are potentially harmful to the baby during a car accident. In actuality, they are helpful and should be worn at all times in a moving car.
Should you get into a car accident during pregnancy, no matter how big or small, you should always be examined. Depending on how you are feeling and the severity of the crash, you may be able to go see your healthcare provider or you may opt for the emergency room. Either way, it is vital to be seen as soon as possible since some complications caused by a blow to your abdomen would not be noticeable. Also, don’t dismiss abdominal injuries early in pregnancy just because you are not yet showing. An accident is cause for an exam at any point during pregnancy.
Some moms-to-be wear pregnancy bracelets that list vital information and their due date. In the event of an emergency if you cannot communicate, doctors will have critical details that could help save you and your baby’s life. This is especially helpful if you or your baby have complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
The good news is that your uterus is built to protect your baby so hopefully the impact of a car crash is not severe enough to cause major damage. During a more forceful crash, however, placental abruption can occur, which is when the placenta detaches from the uterus affecting your baby’s blood supply. You may not have any symptoms of placental abruption or you may experience pain or hemorrhaging. This condition can lead to premature birth or miscarriage. Again, this is why it’s essential that you are examined after a car crash during pregnancy.
Once you are otherwise stable, your medical team will probably do an ultrasound and pelvic exam. The ultrasound should show a placental abruption if it has occurred and will help determine the status of your baby. Doctors will look for a strong heartbeat and other signs of a healthy baby based on his developmental age. You and your baby may be monitored in the hospital for awhile to ensure your conditions are stable.
When you are released, you should notify your physician if you experience pain, vaginal bleeding or other leakage, contractions or if your baby’s movement slows. Signs of trauma could be delayed and should be reported immediately. Be sure to tell your doctor about the car accident.
Fear of a car accident should not overwhelm you during pregnancy. However, knowing what to do in a car crash when you’re pregnant is important. Drive safe, mamas!
Sources: BabyCenter and The Bump