An estimated 3,000 pregnancies are lost every year due to car crashes when driving while pregnant.
Some say that it’s a myth that there can be a connection between a car crash and miscarriage.
It’s NOT a myth.
We’ve read more than 25 research studies conducted in the past 10 to 20 years which definitely indicate driving during pregnancy incurs additional risks to mom and baby, one of which is miscarriage.
We’re not saying this to scare you. We just want you to be aware of the truth. This particular type of miscarriage may be able to be prevented, at least some of them.
The studies show that an estimated 3,000 pregnancies are lost every year due to car crashes.
Yes, we understand it’s true that 10 to 15% of pregnancies miscarry in the first trimester (March of Dimes) and many times there is no way to tell the cause.
Car crashes and miscarriages
There are many women who experience a car crash while driving during pregnancy (about 170,000 a year), many of which have no complications from it. There are, however, a percentage of those who do have a complication and a percentage who do lose the baby.
Sometimes doctors make the connection and sometimes they don’t. There are occasions when a woman is in a car crash when driving while pregnant and doesn’t miscarry until a couple of weeks later.
I’ve been through 3 miscarriages myself. I know how devastating it can feel. Which is why this particular subject is so near and dear to my heart.
In my case I lost my babies at 10 weeks, 7 weeks and 4 weeks. The first one was the most traumatic. I questioned myself about everything to try to figure out if I did something to cause them. Of course there were no definitive answers about the cause.
If I had discovered something I did or didn’t do that could have prevented them, I would have been even more disappointed in myself than I already was. Miscarriage from a car crash can be prevented at least in some cases (some crashes are just too severe to survive).
As a mom (even if it’s to-be) you want to do everything you can to protect your baby when driving while pregnant.
How Other Mom’s Dealt With Car Crashes After Driving During Pregnancy
We’d like to share with you some other women’s experiences with car crash miscarriages during their pregnancies:
“…I just need to talk to people who may have has similar experiences. It’s a long story, and I’m still dealing with so much pain, but I just need to share and get it out… I was over 9 weeks pregnant and no problems thus far. On the drive to the clinic, we were “T-boned” by a girl who completely ran a red light at around 45 mph. I was driving and she drove directly into my door. … Both cars were totaled. …
They had me do an ultrasound and we saw the baby for the first time. It moved a little! We were so relieved. This was July 6th. They said the baby was about 9 weeks 3 days to 9 weeks 6 days. … The night of July 22, I started getting some of those electric, shooting pains upwards from my vaginal area and pelvic bone again. I felt crampy. I went to the bathroom and there was a very small amount of old, brown blood. … A little later, I had some bright red on the toilet paper when I wiped along with a tiny clot. I immediately called my midwives. …
We were devastated. At the 2nd ultrasound on the newer machine, the size of the baby was about 9 weeks 6 days. … She gives me the options. She says it’s possible the accident played a role.”This was a long story so I trimmed it and it has since been removed (02/10/2020).
“In February 2015 I was leaving work in a snow storm, a snowplow was in front of me and I was planning on following the plow the 25 miles from my work to my home. It was dark outside and snowing really hard. The plow then pulled over so I went to maneuver around it all of a sudden, the plow started to make a U turn in front of my car. I pushed on my brakes and the locked up my seat belt and my steering wheel. I let off the brakes so I could gain control again but with the road conditions there was no stopping my vehicle. My vehicle hit the plow at about 30 MPH and deployed my airbags and locked up my seat belt.Crickett H.
I didn’t sustain any major injuries and all my minor injuries were caused by the safety features in my car. I had chemical burns on my hands and bruises on both arms where the airbags came out, I also had pain in my chest and face from the airbags. The seatbelt also gave me bruises across my chest and on the bottom of my belly where I was told to wear the belt during pregnancy. Because of the seatbelt the doctors were worried about placental abruption or internal bleeding. I spent the evening in the hospital and the baby was monitored for 13 hours.
Thankfully everything was fine it’s amazing what our bodies can handle. … Obviously things would have been worse if not for these safety features , however, this seat belt would have prevented the huge bruises and the possibility of my placenta separating from the uterus.”
Download our free PDF guide: Safer Driving During Pregnancy
“My daughter, who I got for, went into labor 4 days after -so I passed it on to a friend who was pregnant with twins. Good thing, too! She was unfortunately in a car accident that week and the tummy shield kept that belt off her 29 week belly of babies. She is good; car not so much!”Patricia B.
And of course there is Taylor’s story. Taylor and Ryan lost their unborn baby, Bailey, after a car collision that occurred in Taylor’s third trimester of pregnancy. Paramedics rushed Taylor to the hospital. At first, they couldn’t find her child’s heartbeat—when they finally did find it, it had dropped tremendously. She had an emergency C-section. When Taylor woke, she asked, “Where’s my baby?”
No one could answer her. Baby Bailey was already in the NICU and no one in the delivery room knew what she was going through. That one bruise from the seat belt on Taylor’s low abdomen led to little Bailey having a severe brain injury. She died in Ryan’s arms 12 hours after her traumatic birth. You can watch an interview with Taylor here.
We at Safe Ride 4 Kids are on a mission to share information with OB/Gyns and midwives so they can discuss driving with their patients.
The media do not often report stories about car crashes that result in a lost pregnancy.
Do you know someone who may have lost their pregnancy because of a car crash? Share your comments below.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
Copyright 2018 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.
We originally published this post in April 2015. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.