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What to Do in a Car Accident While Pregnant?

What should I do if I'm in a car accident while I'm pregnant?
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Updated
March 2, 2017
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Getting into a car accident is right up there on the list of the biggest fears expectant moms have (along with delivery in the car on the way to the hospital and having your water break in the middle of a big work presentation). Two big factors are: How bad was the crash, and how far along are you? A simple fender bender, where you don’t have any symptoms — especially in your  first trimester — can probably be handled with a follow-up call to your doc. She’ll help determine if you need to come in and if the baby needs to be monitored for a period of time following the accident.

But if the accident was more serious — air bags deploy, you’re experiencing any vaginal bleeding, you end up getting treated for another issue, like a broken bone — you should immediately go to the ER and get your OB involved right away. That’s especially true if you hit your abdomen against anything. There’s a chance the crash could cause placental abruption, meaning the placenta pulls away from the uterus, which would affect your baby’s blood supply, as well as some other potential internal trauma. And don’t ignore symptoms even if you don’t notice them for a day or two: You can still experience the initial effects of a motor vehicle accident up to seven days after it happens.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Melissa M. Goist, MD, assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, The Ohio State University Medical Center

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