Pregnancy is a wonderful, complex thing. The idea that a human being can grow another human being in their womb never ceases to amaze. Many bodily processes take place to successfully develop the fetus and prepare a pregnant woman for giving birth. Unfortunately, there are also many things that can go wrong during a pregnancy, placing the life of the mother and child at risk.
For one in 12 pregnancies, trauma is one of those things. Let's look at some of the most common types of trauma inflicted on pregnant women.
Motor vehicle accidents
A car, truck, or motorcycle accident can result in catastrophic injuries for anyone, but pregnant women and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to suffering damage in motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for more than 80 percent of fetal deaths during pregnancy. Sadly, even accidents that result in seemingly minor maternal injuries can prove lethal for the fetus.
Pregnancy results in increased joint laxity, and weight gain can change a pregnant woman's center of balance. This places pregnant women at increased risk of falls, which can result in damage to fetal health. Over 25% of pregnant women experience a fall during their pregnancy.
Sadly, domestic violence is one of the most common forms of trauma facing pregnant women and the most common intentional trauma. Domestic violence can result in complications such as pre-term labor, miscarriage, and low birth weight. The anxiety experienced by victims of domestic violence can also result in low weight gain over the course of a pregnancy, placing fetal health at risk.
Pregnancy is difficult enough without the risks of trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, and domestic violence. Whether it's in the form of putting down your cell phone while you drive, keeping your property free of hazards, or listening to a friend who feels unsafe in their relationship, we all can play a role in lessening the likelihood of trauma for pregnant women.