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Study suggests that pregnant women are at risk while driving

While many women have what are called “routine” pregnancies, there are still health risks that come with developing a new life. With the possible infections and complications that can come about between baby and mom, people may not think about driving as being a serious hazard.

As it turns out, driving may be very dangerous for pregnant women. According to the results of a study recently released in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, women in their second trimester are 42 percent more likely to be in a serious accident than they are in the three years before getting pregnant. 

Researchers from the University of Toronto surveyed more than 500,000 women who gave birth in Ontario between 2006 and 2011. They also reviewed data from hospitals to detail accident rates for women in the years before they became pregnant, during each trimester of pregnancy, as well as the first years after a child’s birth. The essentially found that the first and third trimesters did not have such an uptick in accidents, and accident rates dropped precipitously after a child was born.

There a number of reasons that could factor into the findings. During the second trimester, it is possible for pregnant women to feel most like their normal selves, but they may not change their behaviors to account for the significant changes happening with their bodies.

It also may be indicative of the possibility that women in their first and third trimesters may not be behind the wheel as often; and that women with newborns are especially cautious because of the precious cargo in the car with them.

Nevertheless, the study is important because it highlights a critical consideration: that pregnant women, like all drivers in Southern California, must take special precautions to avoid being in accidents.

Source: LA Times.com, “Driving while pregnant; Car crash risk spikes 42% in second trimester,” Karen Kaplan, May 12, 2014

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