If you are an expectant mother in Oregon, the health and safety of your growing baby is your first concern. Your own health and safety should be just as important to you because it is you on whom your baby’s survival depends.
The American Academy of Family Physicians warms that traumatic injuries occur in one in 12 pregnancies and result in the majority of deaths among pregnant women. The top three trauma causes are the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents - 48 percent
- Falls - 25 percent
- Domestic violence - 17 percent
Your baby’s safety
Your baby actually becomes more likely to suffer injury from a traumatic event as your pregnancy progresses. During your first trimester, not only does your uterus have thick walls, it and therefore your baby also are protected by your pelvic girdle. During your second trimester, your abundance of amniotic fluid cushions your baby from trauma.
But during your third trimester, your uterus protrudes and its walls become very thin. During this time it is the most vulnerable to any blunt and/or penetrating trauma to your abdomen. Consequently, your baby’s risk of injury from your abdominal trauma is at its highest. If you receive such an injury when you are more than 23 weeks along in your pregnancy, you may need an emergency hysterectomy to save both your life and that of your baby’s.
Seat belt usage
The best way to prevent receiving an abdominal injury is to always wear your lap and shoulder seat belt when riding in a vehicle. Many pregnant women fear that a seat belt will hurt their baby, but this is not true if you position it correctly. You should position the lap belt as low as possible under your abdomen and the shoulder belt across the middle of your clavicle; i.e., your shoulder bone, between your breasts, and to the side of your uterus. Tighten both belts as snugly as you comfortably can.
Statistics show that while 50 percent of maternal abdominal injuries sustained by unrestrained women in a car crash result in the death of their baby, this percentage drops to 29 percent for women who wore and properly positioned their seat belts.
Taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your unborn baby. Always wear your seat belt to lessen your risk of abdominal trauma in an auto accident. Likewise, always be careful when walking, especially on snow, ice, or other slippery surfaces, to lessen your likelihood of falling. In addition, always use hand rails when going up or down stairs. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.