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What is pregnancy trauma?

Pregnancy trauma refers to any kind of accident or injury that might happen to a pregnant, soon-to-be mother. They can include car accidents, homicide, suicide and other types of injurious events. Pregnancy trauma occurs in 5 to 20 percent of all pregnancies. Research suggests that it is the most common cause of maternal death over all other kinds of pregnancy-related problems.

In one recent study, medical records were reviewed for a specific county during the periods of 1986 and 1989. In the 95 cases of maternal death that were reviewed, 46.5 percent were the result of pregnancy trauma. Of this 46.5 percent, 34 percent were accident-related deaths, 57 percent were homicide and 9 percent were suicide. Twenty-one percent of the accident injuries were associated with car accidents.

When we think of pregnancy injuries and deaths, we usually think about what doctors do wrong when they are on the operating table while performing C-sections, general errors during delivery, or misdiagnoses and failures to act in the months leading up to delivery. However, an accidental trauma -- like injuries that happen in a car accident -- can trigger a pregnancy complication in a heartbeat. Therefore, doctors and emergency medical personnel have to respond quickly and accordingly whenever a pregnant mother is involved in a serious accident.

Connecticut doctors who fail to respond according to standard medical procedure following a pregnancy trauma event could be held liable if their failure to act results in injuries. Similarly, hospitals and medical service providers can be held liable if their negligence is the cause of death or serious injury related to pregnancy trauma.

Source: Medscape, "Trauma and Pregnancy," accessed Feb. 11, 2016

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