What Should I Do if I’m in a Car Accident While I’m Pregnant?
Becoming involved in a car accident is always a stressful event. It becomes even more stressful, however, if you’re pregnant when it occurs. Now you have to worry about not only your possible injuries but also those your unborn baby may have sustained.
Despite the safety that your womb provides your fetus, the sudden jolt caused by slamming on the brakes or being hit by another vehicle can seriously injure your unborn child and/or cause pregnancy complications.
Common Car Crash Risks
Even if you aren’t injured during a car crash, your unborn child can easily be. Common risks include the following:
- Placental abruption, i.e., separation of the placenta from your uterus
- Internal injuries
- Birth defects
- Premature birth
Need for Immediate Medical Intervention
Regardless of how minor the accident or how far along you are in your pregnancy when it happens, you need to be examined by an experienced OB/GYN physician as well as an emergency room physician as soon as possible to determine if either of you sustained an injury.
Your OB/GYN in all likelihood will want to give you a complete obstetric examination as well as an ultrasound. If you are Rh-negative, he or she may also want to give you an injection of Rh immunoglobulin if there’s any possibility that your blood is mixed with that of your fetus. Even if you have no obvious injuries, he or she may likewise put you in the hospital for a day or two so you can be monitored for danger signs, such as the following, that subsequently present themselves:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Vaginal fluid leakage
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased fetal movement
- Any sign of fetal distress
Need for Documentation
Try to remain as calm and still as possible after the accident. Have one of the other occupants in your car do the following on your behalf:
- Call 911 and request police and medical assistance, making sure to mention that you’re pregnant.
- Exchange information with all other drivers, including obtaining their names, phone numbers, email addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance company contact information.
- Talk to any witnesses who saw the accident and get their names and contact information.
- Take photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved, including yours, making sure to document each vehicle’s make, model, and color as well as its license plate state and number.
- Make a police report once officers arrive.
Need for a Lawyer
Your wisest strategy is to contact a car accident lawyer in Des Moines, IA from a law firm like Johnston Martineau, PLLP as soon as possible after your accident. State laws vary on the rights of unborn children involved in an accident. Your lawyer can answer your questions and also advise you of who, if anyone, you can sue, both on your behalf and on behalf of your unborn child.