Generally, women in Trenton continue to drive while pregnant through their third trimesters. But a recent Canadian study found that pregnant women may be at an increased risk for accidents, particularly in the second trimester. While this risk is serious, there are many steps that pregnant women can take to drive safely during gestation.
The Link between Pregnancy and Driving
The study – published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal – looked at the medical records of 500,000 pregnant women in Ontario over a five-year span that included their pregnancy. It found that there was a 42 percent greater risk of an accident during the second trimester of pregnancy compared to before they become pregnant.
During this time, ER visits from accidents shot up to 7.7 visits per 1,000 women from 4.3 per 1,000 during the first trimester. The increase tapered down during the third trimester, and after the pregnancy the women were less likely to be in an accident.
Hormonal changes were identified as one primary factor because women experience:
- fatigue; and
- stress during pregnancy.
Additionally, while the increase in accident rate was serious, pregnant women of the same age group as men are still less likely to get into car accidents.
Safety Tips for Pregnant Women
There are many steps that pregnant women can take to reduce their chances of being in an accident or being injured:
- Wear a seat belt: The idea that a seat belt will hurt a baby more than not wearing a seat belt isn’t backed up by reality. A mother and baby are in a far more dangerous position by not wearing a seat belt than wearing one. The belt should be positioned underneath the belly close to the upper thighs and across the shoulder.
- Move away from the steering wheel: All drivers need to be 10 inches away from the steering wheel to prevent accidents. If they don’t sit this far back, the airbag may explode in their face and body during an accident.
- Drive cautiously: Obeying traffic signals, refraining from speeding, minimizing distractions and driving defensively can reduce the risk of accidents.
- Prepare not to drive: Keep a cell phone or money for a cab handy in case you feel too tired or nauseous to drive. These items will also help if you go into labor while driving.
- Don’t drive during labor: This can lead to traffic violations and put you at risk. Stay close to home and be prepared to call an ambulance if you go into labor.
Cordisco & Saile LLC handles car accident claims for drivers in Trenton, but we monitor roadway safety issues and emerging areas of the law as well. Follow our site for more updates about safe driving while pregnant and other roadway concerns. If you’re in an accident, see our free eBook, Don’t Crash Again! A Car Accident Victim’s Guide to Maximizing Recovery.