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Does Pregnancy Increase Your Risk of a Car Accident?

Does Pregnancy Increase Your Risk of a Car Accident?

| May 30, 2014

Pregnancy comes with a lot of suggestions and warnings. Avoid flying, don't scuba dive, watch what you eat, etc. A recent study shows that driving may be particularly dangerous for expectant mothers too. In fact, pregnant women are significantly more likely to be involved in serious traffic collisions, a large study in Canada discovered.

The study – detailed in a recent article on NPR – found that women in their second trimester of pregnancy are as likely to get in a serious car wreck as someone diagnosed with sleep apnea. This is a serious risk, a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stated.

"We aren't recommending pregnant woman delegate their driving to their husbands," said a doctor who led the study. "In fact, young men have even higher traffic collision rates than pregnant women." Instead, doctors recommend that that new moms make a conscious effort to drive carefully.

Driving tips for expectant mothers:

  • Cut down on distractions (loud music, conversations, etc.)
  • Always obey the speed limit
  • Pay careful attention to traffic signals

This may seem like obvious advice, but most traffic accidents could be avoided simply by obeying traffic regulations and paying close attention to the road. Driver inattention and error are among the leading causes of car accidents in America.

The study revealed that, during the first trimester of pregnancy, women are not at an increased risk of having an accident. During the second trimester, expectant moms are 42% more likely to be involved in a car wreck. During the second trimester, the number ER visits for pregnant women increased too. Typically, 4.3 out of every 1,000 women visit the ER after a traffic accident every year. For pregnant women, this number increases to 7.7 ER visits.

The study didn't investigate the reason behind the spike in accidents, but researchers believe it could be associated with hormonal changes during the second trimester of pregnancy.

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