Getting in your car and driving to wherever you need to has become second
nature for many of us. Although it occurs to us to have others drive in
certain situations (when we’re tired or have been drinking, for
example), the majority of the time if we feel healthy we don’t see
a need to call a cab or give our keys to someone else—we just get
in and go.
Unfortunately, this state of mind isn’t necessarily ideal in all
situations, especially when you’re in your second or third trimester
Fetal Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
The National Highway and Safety Administration estimates that mother and
fetal injuries due to
car accidents have been significantly increasing over the past few years, as shown in
a University of Michigan study. The research estimates that between 1,500 and 5,000 fetal deaths, tens
of thousands of permanent injuries, and numerous in utero complications
can be contributed to serious car accidents. Even in situations where
the expectant mother doesn’t immediately present injuries, the likelihood
of pre-term labor is still remarkably high.
According to a study published in the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2013, car collisions are an extreme concern for fetal safety as the
effects can be catastrophic for pregnant drivers. This study showed that
vehicle accidents tend to have an extreme impact on expectant mothers,
causing substantial adverse outcomes, such as:
Premature birth: internal injuries could cause the uterus to fail or involuntarily induce
labor in order to “protect” the baby. Unfortunately, if the
baby isn’t fully developed, this could cause serious complications.
Hypoxic brain damage: a collision can cause so much force on the mother’s body that the
placenta could become detached, the uterus can be damaged, there could
be internal bleeding, or the mother herself could suffer hypoxia, all
of which could potentially cut off oxygen to the baby and cause brain
and lung damage.
Cuts, lacerations, and punctures: debris, broken glass, and sharp objects can be hurled or forced into the
mother’s abdomen, cutting and stabbing the fetus.
Internal bleeding: force effects and impalements can all cause internal bleeding for both
mother and child. When too much blood is lost, the mother’s body
will try to conserve the remaining blood by cutting the supply to the baby.
Miscarriage: any abdominal trauma or uterine damage can cause complications which could
lead to a miscarriage during any trimester.
Maternal Instincts: How Do You Feel About Pregnancy Car Safety?
Given the potential risks involved, do you think pregnant women shouldn’t
drive after a certain term? Should there be safety limits on when and
how an expectant mother drives? Should there be special harnesses for
seat belts or additional safety features in cars to prevent abdominal
injuries? Do you have personal accounts or stories about driving pregnancy risks?
In the comment section provided, let us know your opinions, concerns, and
personal experiences with driving well pregnant. Your words can have a
significant impact on someone’s life, as well as the life of her
baby—so go ahead and share.
Make sure your family and expectant friends are protected by sharing this
page with them via Facebook or Twitter. You can also tell them to contact
us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have
about a recent accident. The consultation is free, so they have nothing
to lose, but a wealth of knowledge, support and confidence to gain.