Injuries to Pregnant Drivers From Car Accidents: Safety Tips and Risks
Driving poses a threat to everyone but especially so when you’re pregnant. Depending on how far along mothers are, they might have less mobility than someone who isn’t with a child. Furthermore, pregnancy makes you more fatigued, and driving when you are not alert is dangerous.
This cannot be avoided especially when pregnant women tend to continue working until late into their pregnancy. According to a study done by Interactive Driving Systems in Britain where they analyzed statistics from global pharmaceutical companies' vehicle sales fleets, they found that many of their representatives were women, leading to an influx of pregnant women behind the wheel. While it isn’t practical to stop working upon getting pregnant, there are a few risks involved that can be mitigated with certain safety measures.
Always Wear A Seatbelt.
According to “Pregnant women in vehicles: Driving habits, position, and risk of injury,” more than 30% of pregnant participants in a study regarding driving practices believe that wearing a seat belt might cause fetal harm. This is not true. While 90% of women still wore seat belts in spite of that assumption, it is a harmful misconception that can cause grievous bodily harm to both mother and child.
Certain mothers might feel uncomfortable wearing the traditional three-point seat belt but they should not alter it in any way unless they procure a special maternity seat belt.
Doctors advise that pregnant women should buckle the seat belt below their belly, and place the shoulder belt between their breasts. Under no circumstance should they place it behind them or under their arms. The belt should be worn taut against the body and any slackness should be removed.
Positioning Is Important.
When you get into the car, make sure that you are in a comfortable position. Towards the end of one’s pregnancy, you might discover that you need to push the seat further back in order to accommodate your growing belly. When doing so, make sure you can still reach the pedal easily, otherwise, it wouldn’t be wise to drive and you should ask someone to send you instead.
Aside from that, the position of the steering wheel should be adjusted to face your breastbone or chest instead of your abdomen. This will prevent the airbag or steering wheel from hitting your stomach upon impact if you have to brake suddenly or if you are involved in a collision.
Always Seek Medical Attention After A Crash.
Regardless of how minor the car accident was, women who are pregnant should go to the hospital immediately to check up on their baby. Around 170,000 pregnant women a year are involved in car accidents and many do not suffer any ill consequences. However, there is always a small chance of a complication developing which could lead to a miscarriage. Don’t let this happen to you.
The jolt from the car accident, whether a “fender bender” or a case of two total losses, could cause your baby’s placenta to detach and induce labor. If the baby is near to term, it could be delivered without any complications. However, in the event, the baby is 24 weeks and below, it greatly decreases the chances of survival and increases the risk of health complications by 40-50% if the baby does survive.
You could be liable to claiming compensation from the insurance companies if this is the case, provided you do not have a history of miscarrying babies. Therefore, it is paramount that mothers involved in a car accident go to the hospital at once.
Use Your Common Sense?
We all know not to fiddle with the dials on our radio or play with our phones while driving, and this applies to pregnant women especially. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted and practice preventative driving. Take note of what is happening on the roads, not just directly in front of you, but be aware of any cars behind, in front, or coming towards you. Sometimes cars lose control and you can get out of the way if you have been paying full attention to the roads.
If it’s raining or snowing, use your better judgment and adjust your driving practices accordingly. Reduce your speed, allow for a bigger gap between vehicles. If you need to slow down or park before continuing on your journey, make sure you move your vehicle out of traffic. Pulling up into a car park is your safest choice, this can be at a gas station or rest stop.
You should also take frequent breaks and have food and water in the car. That being said, you should also make sure you are prepared in the event of an emergency. You should have a spare battery pack or additional phone chargers