The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cite car accidents as a leading cause of death for people in the U.S. under 54. In addition to the more than 35,000 fatal car accidents yearly, more than 1.5 million injuries occur. Furthermore, crashes can cause fetal loss and birth injuries for pregnant individuals.
Every year, between 3,000 to 5,000 miscarriages occur as a result of a car accident. In addition, fetal loss can cause long-lasting emotional and physical trauma for the surviving parent.
This trauma may include the following:
- Mood swings
- Strained relationships
- Physical pain
- Continued bleeding
- Hormonal changes
Parents who lose a child through miscarriage due to car accidents may face increased financial pressure due to medical bills, counseling, and physical therapy.
Fetal trauma and birth injuries
Car accidents can potentially lead to a variety of birth injuries, depending on the severity and type of impact. Some of the birth injuries that can occur due to a car accident include:
- Placental abruption: Placental abruption can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients, leading to various complications.
- Uterine rupture: This life-threatening condition for the mother and the baby may require immediate medical intervention, including emergency surgery.
- Fetal fractures: The strong impact from a car accident can cause fractures in the baby’s bones, especially the long bones like the arms or legs.
- Traumatic brain injuries: If the baby’s head experiences a direct impact during the car accident, it can result in traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, hemorrhages, or contusions. These injuries can have long-term effects on the baby’s development and functioning.
Low-impact car accidents
Even low-impact accidents may cause trauma to the fetus. For example, in five percent of low-impact accidents, placental abruption occurs. This can result in a miscarriage.
The best way to keep your baby safe during pregnancy involves wearing your seat belt. Reducing the overall time you spend in a vehicle also reduces your risk.