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Car accidents can impact pregnant women, fetuses

Car accidents are not good for anyone's health, but moms-to-be who are injured in car crashes may be putting their pregnancy and their baby at risk. A study of nearly 900,000 North Carolina pregnancies from 2001 to 2008 was just published in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine." The study has found a correlation between car accidents and pregnancy complications.

Trauma, such as what can occur in car accidents, is a leading cause of fetal mortality and morbidity, the study says, especially when injuries occur in the abdominal area. Organs of both the mother and her fetus can be damaged when blunt trauma is applied to the abdomen. The trauma is worse in pregnant women who are not wearing seatbelts when an accident occurs. The study looked at women between the ages of 16 and 46 who were pregnant with a single infant.

Pregnant women who were in car accidents had higher rates of premature births, placental abruption, in which the placenta separates from the uterus before birth, and premature rupture of membranes than pregnant women who were not involved in accidents, the study said. The study also noted that women who were in more than one crash during their pregnancy had an increased rate of stillbirths; the stillbirth rate is three times higher still for pregnant women who were not wearing seatbelts. The report concluded that additional studies are needed to better understand the issues involved.

When a driver's negligence leads to an accident and injuries to a pregnant woman, pregnancy complications can easily arise. An attorney may be able to help both parents to pursue funds from the driver in order to secure medical care for both the mother and the infant.

Source: Science Daily, "Link Between Car Crashes, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes", October 08, 2013

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