What Do I Do If I am Involved in a Serious Car Accident While Pregnant?

man and pregnant woman putting on seatbelts

Being in a car accident is scary enough, but being in one when you are pregnant is a whole different experience. With car accidents being one of the largest causes of traumatic fetal injury and mortality, both high- and low-impact car accidents have the capability to harm a child in the womb. As birth injury and personal injury attorneys, we know being in a car accident while pregnant may leave you feeling anxious and concerned about what comes next.

If you were injured in a car accident while you were pregnant, our attorneys will help you navigate the next steps.

Common Injuries from a Car Accident During Pregnancy

While the womb is meant to protect a growing baby, it only protects so much in the event of a car accident. Each year, it is estimated roughly 200,000 women are involved in police-reported car accidents while pregnant. Injuries for both mother and baby often range from minor to catastrophic, depending on the amount of force exerted during the crash.

Whether you think you are injured or not, it is important to contact your doctor immediately if you get into a car accident while pregnant. Many injuries from ​​low-impact car accidents can go on unseen and have a life-long impact on a mother or baby. Some common car crash injuries we see, include:

Placental Abruption 

Placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, is the most common cause of fetal losses after a car crash — occurring in 1 to 5% of low-impact car accidents during pregnancy and from 20 to 50% of severe crashes.

Since auto accidents exert a sudden amount of force on a person’s body, it can partially or completely detach itself from the uterus. Additionally, the pressure of a seatbelt, steering wheel or airbag during a car crash can cause the abruption. Regardless if a mother is in the early or later stages of pregnancy, this condition is a medical emergency that may require extensive medical attention or an emergency c-section if the baby is in distress.

Uterine Rupture

While rare in occurrence, a uterine rupture happens when the uterus tears or completely ruptures during a car accident while pregnant. This is an extremely dangerous condition because of its high fetal mortality rate due to a baby’s lack of oxygen in the womb when a tear is present. Doctors and emergency response teams must act quickly to deliver a baby to avoid permanent damage or death .

Direct Trauma to the Fetus

Direct trauma may happen if an obstruction like a steering wheel or seat belt directly hits the fetus while in utero. For example, if your baby’s head was close to the steering wheel during impact and obtained head trauma — they may be at risk of brain injury or other birth defects after the accident.


In some cases, the trauma to the fetus is so severe that it triggers a miscarriage — especially if you are in the earlier stages of pregnancy. Warning signs and symptoms of a miscarriage after being in a car accident while pregnant include:

  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Cramping in the lower back or abdomen
  • Unusual fluid or tissue coming from vagina
  • Sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms in following days

If you believe your miscarriage was a direct cause of the car crash, you may be able to file a lawsuit due to their negligence.

What to do After a Car Accident

The moments after a car accident are overwhelming for anyone, but they may seem even more stressful as a mother-to-be. Whether you’re in a low-impact car accident or a life-threatening one, here are six steps to follow to help build your case.

  1. Survey the Scene
  2. Exchange Information
  3. Collect Evidence
  4. Report the Accident to Insurance
  5. Contact an Attorney
  6. Seek Medical Treatment

If you are pregnant, it is even more important to speak with your doctor regardless of the severity of the accident. Many medical emergencies may not be apparent right away and informing your doctor will help you get the care you need for you and your baby.

Talk with our Experienced Birth Injury Attorneys

Whether you were injured in a car accident while pregnant or at the hands of your doctor in the delivery room, the attorneys at Zevan Davidson Roman are here to help you. With over 25 years of experience litigating medical malpractice, birth injury and personal injury cases in Missouri and Illinois, our attorneys will guide you through every step of your case.

For more information, contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.

Missouri Birth Injury Lawyer

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