Injuries In Pregnancy

ExitCare ImageTrauma is the most common cause of injury and death in pregnant women. The most common cause of death to the fetus is injury and death of the pregnant mother.

Minor falls and minor automobile accidents do not usually harm the fetus. The fetus is protected in the womb by a sac filled with fluid. The fetus can be harmed if there is direct trauma to your abdomen and pelvis. Direct trauma to the uterus and placenta can affect the blood supply to the fetus. Major trauma causing significant bleeding and shock to the mother can also compromise and jeopardize the fetal blood supply.

It is important to know your blood type and the father's blood type in case you develop vaginal bleeding. If you are RH negative and have sustained serious trauma or develop vaginal bleeding, you will need to have medicine (RhoGAM [Rh immune globulin]) to avoid Rh problems in future pregnancies.


  • Falls are more common in the second and third trimester of the pregnancy. Factors that increase your risk of falling include:

  • Increase in weight.

  • The change of your center of gravity.

  • Tripping over an object that cannot be seen.

  • Automobile accidents. It is important to wear a seat belt and always practice safe driving.

  • Domestic violence or assault. Dial your local emergency services (911 in the US). Spousal abuse can be a significant cause of trauma during pregnancy.

  • Burns (fire or electrical). Avoid fires, starting fires, lifting heavy pots of boiling or hot liquids, and fixing electrical problems.

The most common causes of death to the pregnant woman include:

  • Injuries that cause severe bleeding, shock and loss of blood flow to the mother's major organs.

  • Head and neck injuries that result in severe brain or spinal damage.

  • Chest trauma that can cause direct injury to the heart and lungs or any injury that effects the area enclosed by the ribs (thorax). Trauma to this area can result in cardio-respiratory arrest.

Symptoms and treatment will depend on the type of injury.


  • Call your caregiver if you are in a car accident, even if you think you and the baby are not hurt. Your caregiver may want you to have a precautionary evaluation.

  • Do not take aspirin. It can worsen bleeding.

  • You may apply cold packs 3 to 4 times a day to the injury with your caregiver's permission.

  • After 24 hours apply warm compresses to the injured site with your caregiver's permission.

  • Call your caregiver if you are having increasing pain in any part of your body that is not remedied by your instructed home care.

  • In a severe injury, try to have someone be with you and help you until you are able to take care of yourself.

  • Do not wear high heel shoes while pregnant.

  • Remove slippery rugs and loose objects on the floor.


  • You have been assaulted (domestic or otherwise).

  • You have been in a car accident.

  • You develop vaginal bleeding.

  • You develop fluid leaking from the vagina.

  • You develop uterine contractions (pelvic cramping or pain).

  • You develop neck stiffness or pain.

  • You become weak or faint, or have uncontrolled vomiting after trauma.

  • You had a serious burn. This includes burns to the face, neck, hands or genitals, or burns greater than the size of your palm anywhere else.

  • You develop a headache or vision problems after a fall or from other trauma.

  • You do not feel the baby moving or the baby is not moving as much as before.