Out of all the worries that come along with pregnancy, road safety usually isn’t one of them. But a new study that suggests pregnant women are more likely to be involved in a traffic accident shines a spotlight on why we should all be more cautious behind the wheel at this time.
Reuters reports about the University of Toronto study that finds pregnant women are at a 42% increased risk of being seriously injured in a car accident. Women in their second trimester are most likely to get in wrecks that send them to the emergency room with serious injuries.
Lead author Dr. Donald Redelmeier explains why researchers believe the added stresses of pregnancy contribute to increased risk behind the wheel. He says, “A normal pregnancy is usually accompanied by a lot of fatigue, nausea, mood fluctuations, anxieties and distractions which may all contribute to distracted driving.” He also notes hormone fluctuations as a possible safety risk saying, “That’s what the factor is for the neurological changes, which are usually minor, but these minor changes can catch up to you when you’re operating a motor vehicle.”
Researchers involved in the study say pregnant women should keep driving but just be aware of the risks and be more vigilant about following speed limit guidelines and traffic signage. Doctors are also urged to remind their patients about the extra risks of driving while pregnant and encourage road safety at this time.
What do you think of the study that suggests pregnancy increases the risk of car accidents?
Do you think doctors should make sure their patients are aware of the increased risks?