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Car Accident Risk Increases with Pregnancy

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Pregnant individual pregnancy
Pregnant individual
Photo: Øyvind Holmstad

Pregnant people often wonder about the risks of flying, but it turns out driving is also a cause of concern while pregnant. A study published in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal” back in 2014 found that driving could be riskier during pregnancy.

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The results of the study and how they impact you

For the study, doctors reviewed over 500,000 mothers’ medical records in Ontario. They analyzed each woman’s data from four years before childbirth to a year after the baby was born.

The study discovered that during the first trimester of pregnancy, women have roughly the same crash rate as before pregnancy. However, during the second trimester, the risk of a car crash rises by about 42 percent.

Women in their second trimesters are about as likely to get in a car accident as a person who has sleep apnea. Before pregnancy, there are about 4.3 ER visits per 1,000 women each year as a result of traffic accidents. In the second trimester, this increases to about 7.7 ER visits per 1,000 women each year.

Once a woman reaches the third trimester, the risk of a car accident goes down. Post-pregnancy, women have an even smaller car crash rate than they did before they were pregnant.

The doctors didn’t discover the reason for the increase in car accident rates during the second trimester. However, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, the one who led the study, believes the increase could be a result of hormonal changes.

Based on the aforementioned results, driving while pregnant can seem dangerous, but the results don’t necessarily mean pregnant women shouldn’t drive. In fact, Redelmeier said that “Young adult men are even more dangerous behind the wheel. They have even higher crash rates.”

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If you’re pregnant, do be sure to drive more carefully and practice safe driving habits. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how and if you should drive during your specific pregnancy.

News Source: National Public Radio