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Car Crashes During Pregnancy: A Comparison

car crash during pregnancy

Moderate Crash, Doctors Credit Tummy Shield for Saving Baby’s Life

It was a shopping excursion with her mom. Nothing special, except on the way home, as she put the car into 3rd gear, another car decided not to stop at a stop sign. They collided.

At 23 weeks gestation, the hospital was concerned for the baby and checked for the heartbeat. The heart monitor and ultrasounds showed, the baby hadn’t been impacted at all. The baby showed no signs of stress.

The nursing staff and doctors looked for the mom-to-be’s injuries, searching her belly for the usual bruising. Considering the amount and depth of bruising on her mom’s abdomen, the hospital staff were surprised to see no bruising at all on Keira.

The doctors told Keira if she had not been wearing a Tummy Shield, the crash would have had an entirely different outcome to her pregnancy.

Moderate Crash Ends Pregnancy, Mom Only Gets Bruise from Seat Belt

It was a day just like any other except on the way to their parents for dinner, they were hit. A car crash.

It’s just a moderate. You only got a bruise across your belly. Your pregnant belly.

The next thing you know, you are asking a nurse, “Where’s my baby?”

This is what happened to Taylor and Ryan. They  lost their unborn baby, Bailey, after a car crash during Taylor’s third trimester. When she was rushed to the hospital, at first, they couldn’t find Bailey’s heartbeat—when they finally did find it, it had dropped tremendously.

Taylor had an emergency C-section.

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.


What is the biggest difference between these two car crashes during pregnancy?

Other than the outcome; devastating in one and a miracle in the other.

Keira is from Australia where the Tummy Shield was already available for years. Taylor had done everything “right”, wearing her seat belt as recommended. But she hadn’t heard about the Tummy Shield until after she researched pregnancy and seat belt danger after her car crash during pregnancy.

Buy your Tummy Shield for safer driving during pregnancy.

“It’s not something that I ever thought about,” Taylor said. “There wasn’t one thing that came up on any of the sites or any of the appointments that I got my information from about driving while pregnant and what to avoid.”

“It’s the one thing that I missed while doing all of my research. The one thing that I missed that took her away from me.”

What do pregnant women hear?

A 2007 study published in Maternal and Child Health Journal (1) says less than half of healthcare providers talk about seat belt use during prenatal visits. And of those who did receive information, only 27% remembered.

safest pregnancy seat belt positioner

When they are told how to wear a seat belt, it’s based on a 60-year-old best practice recommendation.

The risks and possible injuries that can be involved in a car crash during pregnancy is the one thing the majority of pregnant women never hear about when researching how to have a healthy and safe pregnancy.

What should pregnant women hear?

The truth is 170,000 pregnant women are involved in car crashes every year, according to a University of Michigan study (2).

And a 2015 study published in European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology says the risk of death to an unborn baby is at 5 times the risk compared to an infant from birth to 9 months. The comparison is based just on those cases where the mother died too. The study didn’t take into account the number of crashes where the mother survives but the pregnancy is lost. (3)

Car accidents often take place within 25 miles of the home or less and at relatively low speeds. Even these can lead to tragic consequences, especially when there is a pregnant mother involved, whether an prenatal injury or the loss of the pregnancy from the crash. Based on a range of other studies an estimated 3,000 pregnancies are lost every year because the mom-to-be experiences an car crash.

There are ways to reduce the risk when driving during pregnancy. One way to reduce the risk of the seat belt intruding on the pregnancy is using a crash-tested Tummy Shield.

We want to know, did your doctor talk to you about the risks of a car crash during pregnancy? Share your comments below.

By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004

Copyright 2020 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 February 2017. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

  • (1) Weiss, HB; Sirin, Hulya; Sauber-Schatz, Erin K.; Dunning, Kari; “Seat Belt use, Counseling and Motor-Vehicle Injury During Pregnancy: Results from a Multi-State Population-Based Survey.” Maternal and Child Health Journal. Volume 11 (2007): p505-510.
  • (2) Klinich PhD, Kathleen DeSantis; Flannagan PhD, Carol A. C.; Rupp PhD, Jonathan D.; Sochor MD, Mark; Schneider PhD, Lawrence W.; Pearlman MD, Mark D.; “Fetal Outcome in Motor-Vehicle Crashes: Effects of Crash Characteristics and Maternal Restraint.” American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Volume 198, Issue 4 (April 2008): p450.e1–450.e9.
  • (3) Evans L, Redelmeier DA. “Traffic Deaths Before and After Birth.” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology volume 194, (November 2015): p258-259

More studies about pregnancy and car crashes and seat belts.

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