How traumatic brain injuries in expecting mothers impact fetal development in Washington

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2023 | Brain Injury |

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can have life-altering consequences for a person’s life, including physical, emotional and cognitive impairments. When it comes to pregnant women in Washington, there is a growing concern about the impact of TBIs on fetal development.

Understanding traumatic brain injury

A bump causes a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a blow or jolts to the head that disrupts the brain’s normal operation. It can range from slight to severe and can have a wide range of effects on a person’s ability to function in everyday life. Some common symptoms of TBI include headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, memory loss and fatigue not attributable to physical exertion.

How does TBI in pregnant women affect fetal development?

Research has shown that TBIs in pregnant women can have significant effects on fetal development. In particular, brain injuries that occur in the first trimester of pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects, including neural tube defects and cleft lip and palate.

TBIs that occur later in pregnancy have links to an increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight and fetal distress. This is because the impact of a TBI on the mother’s body can cause a decrease in blood flow to the placenta, which can lead to a lack of oxygen and nutrients for the developing fetus.

Furthermore, TBIs can cause an increase in stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can also harm fetal development. Prolonged exposure to cortisol often causes a decrease in fetal growth and an increased risk of preterm birth.

TBI prevention for pregnant women

Preventing TBIs in pregnant women is crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother and the developing fetus. Some ways to prevent TBI include wearing a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car, using proper safety gear when participating in sports or recreational activities and avoiding risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Other measures pregnant women can take include practicing good workplace safety, such as wearing a hard hat when in a construction or industrial setting and seeking medical attention immediately after even the slightest head injury.

Keeping the fetus safe

Traumatic brain injuries can be dangerous for pregnant women and their developing fetuses. Pregnant women must focus on preventing TBI and seek immediate medical attention if a head injury occurs. By being proactive in your approach, you can help ensure that your baby is born healthy.