This is my worst nightmare, my wife getting in an auto accident while pregnant. Being a chiropractor and pregnancy specialist, I know the damage getting in an auto accident can do to the spine, even if it is just a mild collision. When you add a baby in the womb to the mix it is all that much more frightening. Here is what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
SEVERITY OF AUTO ACCIDENT:
Where you begin will definitely depend a lot on how sever the auto accident is and how far along you are with your pregnancy. Here are a few other things to take into account: Were you driving or in the passenger seat? Did your car roll or spin out or was it just a fender bender? Did the airbags deploy and were you wearing a seat belt? Did you physically collide with any parts of the car such as the steering wheel or window? Were you prepared for the accident or not? Is there any blood?
If the accident is severe, call 911. The paramedics should transport you immediately to the emergency room. After you are cleared (no broken bones and baby is safe with good heart rate), it is time to contact your lawyer and your local chiropractic pregnancy specialist, even if you are not in pain currently. Often times the pain won’t come on for a few weeks to months later, but if you were not initially evaluated by your chiropractor, the insurance will try to get out of paying your bills. This is why it is especially important you have a good lawyer as well.
As a pregnancy specialist what we will do is evaluate your spine and neurology, looking for a whiplash injury, muscle strain/sprain, and subluxations in the spine. A subluxation is a misaligned or malpositioned vertebra causing pressure/pinching of the nerves that exit the spine. When there is pressure on these nerves it decreases the communication to and from the brain, lowering the bodies ability to heal and recover. This is especially important to fix when growing another human in your body.
Even in a less traumatic, fend bender type accidents we see patients come in with whiplash and hips out of place. With pregnancy, your body is already producing Relaxin and other joint loosening hormones in preparation for birth. This makes it especially easy for a pregnant mom’s spine to get malpositioned. When the hips are “off” this creates a torquing of the uterus via the round and utero-sacral ligaments, causing baby to try to find a more comfortable position (usually not optimal for birth such as breech or posterior). Your local pregnancy Chiropractor trained in Webster Technique will know how to use gentle adjustments to re-align the hips and spine, helping to take away this torque and allowing the baby to get back in the right position for birth.
Chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment when pregnant and can help significantly decrease pain from the accident, decrease recovery time, and help you have a more comfortable pregnancy and birth.
Thanks to our friends from Living Well Family Chiropractic for their insights into pregnancy care.