Are pregnant women an accident waiting to happen?
According to a new study, about one in 50 pregnant women will be involved in a serious motor-vehicle accident, typically during their second trimester.
LiveScience.com is reporting on the research, which was done in Canada. It involved 500,000 pregnant women and looked at their driving records before, during and after pregnancy.
Each woman was followed for five years, including four years before delivery and one year after delivery. The researchers looked at whether typical conditions of pregnancy, such as nausea, fatigue, insomnia and distraction were contributing to driver error and an increased risk of being in a crash.
The study found that women driving during their second trimester of pregnancy were 42 percent more likely to be in a car accident.
Professor Donald Redelmeier at the University of Toronto says "Pregnant women often ask me about the safety of air travel, scuba diving and hot tubs, yet many of them overlook traffic crashes, which are a greater threat during pregnancy,"
The reason for the link is not completely clear, but Dr. Redelmeier speculates that during the second trimester, women may develop a false sense of security that is often compounded by insomnia, back pain and a more hectic life in general.
He says "They've made it through the risk of the first trimester, their minds are preoccupied with the birth of their child and they're rushing around trying to get things done before the big day," he said. "It's easy for them to get distracted."
Because of that, Dr. Redelmeier emphasizes that pregnant women need to consider safe driving as part of their prenatal care. I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.