When a pregnant mother is involved in a catastrophic accident, it is not surprising that the mother and the child can be exposed to injury. However, new studies indicate that even minor car accidents that don’t cause serious injury to a mother could result in adverse birth outcomes. Many of these issues may be tied to the use of seat belts during pregnancy.
Pregnant women must take special precautions in their daily lives, whether riding in a vehicle or avoiding certain foods. According to a new study published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, pregnant women should consider the additional risks of not wearing a seat belt when driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys are experienced in complex car accident cases and are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims. Lawyers from our firm are also abreast of medical research and studies involving car accident injuries and outcomes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6,400 adults are injured in car crashes every day. As we have been taught since we were children, wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of injury at the time of an accident. The recent reports highlight the very dangerous consequences of car accidents for mothers and their unborn babies.
Studies have found that car crashes cause the majority of injuries requiring emergency medical treatment during pregnancy. The recent study focused specifically on the pregnancy outcomes after a crash. Taking the largest sample, the study assessed records for over 800,000 pregnant women who delivered a child in North Carolina between 2001 and 2008. The study assessed the records and crash reports to determine if there was a relationship between accidents and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Not surprisingly, blunt trauma to the abdomen is of particular concern for a pregnant woman and her fetus. Any direct force can harm the uterus and fetal organs as well as shared maternal organs. Researchers focused specifically on four separate pregnancy outcomes: premature birth, placental issues, premature rupture of the membranes (which can induce labor) and still birth. The results of the study indicated that pregnant women had higher rates of premature birth, placental abruption, and premature rupture after only a single crash. According to research leaders, this study is important because it recognizes the potential dangers of a traffic collision during pregnancy and highlights the potential adverse reactions on pregnancy outcomes. The results should raise awareness for mothers as well as doctors who are treating pregnant women who have been involved in an accident during pregnancy.
The study also looked at the impact of multiple motor vehicle accidents during pregnancy. After a second or subsequent crash, pregnant women also had an increased chance of placental abruption, premature rupture of the membranes and stillbirth. Women who were not wearing a seat belt were three times more likely to have a stillborn baby. Investigators concluded that the lack of airbags and seat belts were associated with a significantly elevated rate of adverse pregnancy outcomes, particularly stillbirth.
Pregnant women should aware of the risks of car accidents, especially when not wearing a seat belt. Women who have suffered an adverse pregnancy outcome after an accident may have a legal means for recovery.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in the Boston area, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.
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New Vehicle Safety Features Stop Accidents Before They Happen, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 6, 2013
NHTSA to Rate 2012 Vehicles and Their Ability to Protect Occupants, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 4, 2011