You should get immediate medical attention if you have been in an auto accident while pregnant, even if it is just a fender bender. You might feel fine, but the professionals need to assess the status of your baby. Disruption of the placenta can cause premature labor. The vast majority of fetal losses after trauma come from minor injuries. Car crashes are one of the most common types of trauma during pregnancy.
What to Expect in the Emergency Room if You Suffer Severe Trauma
The trauma team will focus initially on assessing your:
The team will then perform its second assessment of:
- Obstetric injuries
- Non-obstetric injuries
- Fetal well-being
What to Expect in the Emergency Room if You Suffer Minor Trauma
Minor trauma in a pregnant woman does NOT involve:
- Rapid compression, deceleration, or shearing forces
- Injury to the abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding
- Decreased fetal movement
- Loss of fluid
Any injuries of a pregnant woman more severe than minor bruising, contusions, or lacerations fit into the category of major trauma.
Assessment Techniques for Both Major and Minor Trauma
If you are more than 20 weeks along, the standard protocol is to monitor you via tocodynamometry (an external device to check for uterine contractions) for at least four hours. If you have six or more contractions within an hour or there is some other reason to have concern about fetal risk, the treatment team will likely continue the electronic monitoring for 24 hours.
If the doctors observe signs of placental abruption, they might perform an ultrasound examination. They can evaluate the level of trauma to your baby using the Kleihauer-Betke test, which can reveal fetomaternal hemorrhage.
If your trauma team decides you have major trauma, they will likely take these steps:
- Start an intravenous line (IV).
- Run lab tests, including blood work.
- If the electronic monitoring (for patients of 20 weeks or more gestation) reveals six or more contractions in an hour, consider admitting you to the hospital.
- For pregnancies of 20 weeks or less, monitor the fetal heart rate.
- After they determine that you are stable, they will do an ultrasound and run additional lab work.
With minor trauma and fewer than six contractions an hour, the medical team will assess your baby’s health and tell you what symptoms to look for in the event of placental abruption, before sending you home.
After you have taken care of your health and the well-being of your baby, you should talk with a lawyer. If someone else’s negligence caused harm to you or your child, you might have a claim for damages. We will need to take steps right away to protect your legal rights, so do not delay in calling us.
Do not Delay in Talking to a Lawyer
If you wait too long to talk to a lawyer, the at-fault driver will claim that any harm to you or your baby was the result of some other cause and not the car accident.
Whatever you do, do not accept a settlement offer from the insurance company until your lawyer agrees that it is appropriate to do so. Some injuries are not apparent until after the baby is born, and once you settle your claim, you cannot go back and ask for more money.
For more information about protecting your right to compensation, call the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500. We will talk with you at no charge and let you know if you might be eligible to recover damages.