Curious Study Reveals Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Car Accidents


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A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) discovered that women are more likely to be involved in car accidents while pregnant. Researchers examined the records of 500,000 women in Ontario from 2006 to 2011 and gathered data from before, during and after their pregnancies. When the numbers were crunched, they learned that there was a whopping 46 per cent greater risk of a woman having a collision while she was expecting.

The Curious Find
When considering the correlation between collision risk and pregnancy, most people envision a hurried drive to the hospital during labor. However, the study unexpectedly uncovered that by the end of a woman's pregnancy, the additional risk diminishes. The most dangerous time for a woman to drive is actually during the first month of the second trimester or from weeks 13-16. Although more research will have to be done to unearth what causes this phenomenon, Dr. Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto has a theory. He believes the number of collisions increase due to a surge in hormones and changes in the brain. He also notes that the second trimester is the time during pregnancy women tend to feel their best, so perhaps it's related to a sense of security or an increase in activity. The study did not find a link between specific symptoms like nausea or clumsiness, and heightened risk. It also did not cover who was at fault during the majority of collisions, so it's plausible that part of the problem is slow reaction times, which makes the women unable to respond promptly enough to avoid a collision.

Quick Facts

  • An expectant mother is most at risk for a wreck during the winter months.
  • The most dangerous time of day is the afternoon.
  • Collisions are the leading cause of fetal mortality out of all forms of maternal trauma.
  • Approximately 1 in 50 pregnant women are involved in a serious car accident.
  • Risk is equal among women of all races and age ranges.

Staying Safe
At this point, the exact cause of these crashes is not known. Distracted driving ranks high on the list of possibilities, but this can include anything from daydreaming to nausea. Experts believe it's still safe for expectant mothers to drive. However, they should take a few extra precautions to keep themselves and their unborn children safe. Pregnant women should:

  • Only drive when feeling well and rested.
  • Position the lower lap belt across their thighs or as low on their hips as possible, rather than above or on their tummies.
  • Angle the steering wheel towards their chest and sit at least 10 inches back from it to reduce the risk of the wheel causing trauma during a collision.
  • Keep the seat as far back as possible, yet never lean forward while driving, to avoid injuries caused by airbag deployment.

Charleston Car Accident Attorney

Each state has different rules and regulations concerning the rights of unborn children. If you have lost a child at any stage in development, or if either of you were injured as a result of someone else's negligence on the road, you may be entitled to compensation. You may use our online form to contact us or speak with one of our attorneys now, by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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