Worksop mum's warning after terrifying car crash at 38 weeks pregnant
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Louise Woodhead, 29, was driving with her partner Ben Rafferty, 32, and a friend when a car crashed into her when trying to overtake a tractor in June this year. The car hit the driver's side - pushing her into the hedge.
The impact of the crash caused the air bags to go off and Louise felt “scared to death about the baby”. Louise was taken in an ambulance to hospital, where they ran an ultrasound and CT scan to check the baby was ok.
She suffered extensive bruising across her stomach and thighs but welcomed her baby boy Sullivan, now three months old, on July 4 2023, weighing 7lbs 4oz. The mum-of-two feels “lucky” her and Sullivan are okay.
But she is warning other expectant mums to be more cautious when driving and to wear an adaptable seat belt to better protect your abdomen. Louise, a nursery nurse, from Worksop, said: “A tractor was doing the hedgerow on the other side of the road. In a split second a car came round a blind bend – it didn’t have time to stop and came on my side of the road to avoid the tractor.
“It pushed me off the road and hit my side of the car. The impact hit me and all the airbags came out. I was scared to death about the baby. My stomach was black and looked really bad. I’m lucky I’m here and I have a baby.”
Louise said it was “a massive scare” when the car hit her head on, while she was on the way to breakfast with Ben, a civil servant.
She said: “My door was smashed in. The driver of the car that crashed into me had to pull me out and carry me out. It’s not what you want at 38 weeks pregnant.”
She was blue lighted to Northern General Hospital before they were able to check the baby's heartbeat and Louise was reassured her unborn baby was ok.
A further internal examination and Chesterfield Royal Hospital confirmed her placenta was intact. Louise said: “They checked the heartbeat. Everything was still secure.”
Louise was left with severe bruising which still hadn’t gone down when she went to give birth.
She had an emergency c-section after a long labour and welcomed Sullivan at 11.06am on July 4 2023 at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. She said: “I didn’t know how but he was absolutely fine. Not a mark on him. He’s brilliant and very chunky.”
Louise now advises others to wear an adaptable seat belt which she believes could save a baby’s life or ease bruising if the worst happens.
She said: “It eases the tension across the stomach. It would stop bruising and stop the damage to a baby. I was lucky – he was quite robust – but it could have been different. Somebody else might not be that lucky.”
The driver was given a driving course and no criminal charges were brought against them.