Protecting Your Unborn Child From Car Accident Risks

Since the start of your pregnancy, it seems as if every report you see on WJLA, every show you watch on PBS, and every movie you watch on MNT is about women losing their babies in car accidents. Perhaps you’re just sensitive to the subject, so you subconsciously see it everywhere. However, that doesn’t mean the danger isn’t real…right?

So, should you be worried for your unborn child? If so, what can you do to protect him?

Crash Precautions to Protect Your Baby Bump

A recent pregnancy injury study, performed by the University of Michigan Health Institute in conjunction with the University of Michigan Transportation Authority, estimates that mother and fetal injuries and deaths due to car accident injuries have been significantly increasing over the past few years. The research estimates that between 1,500 and 5,000 fetal deaths a year, and tens of thousands of permanent injuries and in utero complications can be attributed to serious car accidents.

According to the American Medical Association, even small fender-benders could lead to placental abruption, internal bleeding, and miscarriages. After religiously trying to keep your unborn baby healthy and protected, don’t allow another person’s mistake to put him at risk, especially when you can take these simple precautions to avoid serious injuries.

  • Limit driving. The more room you have between your uterus and potential impact forces the better. However, as your baby grows, your uterus will get closer and closer to the steering wheel, limiting the protective space when in a car accident. This will potentially cause the wheel to be forced into your bump, creating dangerous consequences for you and your child.
  • Wear your seat belt properly. Nearly 60 percent of fetal injuries during car collisions were caused by seat belt constriction. Seat belts are meant to be worn so that the impact force of a collision is distributed to the strongest areas of the body—generally bony areas. However, some pregnant women incorrectly place the belt across the belly, as if strapping down a basketball. This causes the belt to push straight into the belly, uterus, and womb, causing severe problems for the fetus. In order to protect your baby, you should wear the belt below the belly and keep it snug against your pelvic bone. The shoulder strap should likewise be away from the belly and placed across the chest, between the neck and collarbone.
  • Drive safely. Make sure whoever is driving—you, your husband, a friend, etc.—is following all traffic safety signs, obeying all l aws, using appropriate driving techniques, and avoiding risks.

Pregnancy is difficult enough without having to worry about what other people may do to put your baby’s life at risk. However, you can drastically decrease this worry by knowing and following the car safety tips we listed here.

Although the uterus provides some protection, you’re baby is extremely vulnerable to outside forces. So, remember: no matter what the situation, driving aggressively is never a good idea, especially when pregnant.

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.