Pregnancy can be a particularly vulnerable time for women – especially for mothers-to-be who must drive to get to work, go to appointments, or run errands.
A study recently released by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (AJPM) indicates that women who are involved in vehicle crashes during pregnancy put themselves at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. The study found that there was an increased rate of adverse outcomes in pregnant drivers who were involved in one crash and that rate increased if they were involved in a second crash.
The AJPM study looked at 878,000 pregnant women ages 16-46 who delivered one baby in North Carolina from 2001 to 2008. It found that 2.9 percent of those women were involved in at least one vehicle crash. Those women were found to have an increased rate of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth, stillbirth and placental abruption (a condition where the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.)
Many pregnant women believe that wearing a seat belt while pregnant could be unsafe for their baby, but that is a myth. The AJPM study found that pregnant women who were involved in accidents and who were not belted suffered stillbirth rates three times greater than those who wore seat belts. Higher fetal injury and death rates were found among pregnant crash victims who drove cars not equipped with airbags.
An earlier study released by the University of Michigan estimated that some 170,000 pregnant women are involved in vehicle crashes each year. Sadly, the study also indicated that as many as 370 unborn babies die as a result. Researchers went on to conclude that more unborn babies die due to vehicle crashes than do infants under age one.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that pregnant women always wear a seat belt, keep the airbag switched on and adjust car seats as the pregnancy proceeds so that they are as far back as possible but can still safely reach the pedals and steering wheel.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident caused by a negligent, distracted or impaired motorist, contact the automobile accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville to discuss your legal options. Contact us online or call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free and discreet consultation.