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Study: Pregnant women may be at greater risk for car accidents

Auto accidents are all too common in Jasper, and throughout the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 33,000 people were killed in U.S. motor vehicle accidents in 2012 alone, and many more were injured. While nearly every motorist has at least some risk of being involved in a collision, a study that was recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that the danger might be greater for pregnant women.

Researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Canada conducted the study to determine if pregnant women are more prone to being involved in a car accident. Furthermore, the study examined whether certain physiological and lifestyle changes that are commonly experienced by women during their pregnancies may contribute to the added risk. Such changes include nausea, insomnia, fatigue and distraction.

The researchers conducting this study analyzed data for more than 500,000 women who gave birth between 2006 and 2011. The women were followed for the four years before giving birth, and for the first year after they gave birth. For the purpose of the study, only collisions that required the mothers to seek medical attention in an emergency department were counted.

Based on the study’s findings, women appear to have a greater risk of being involved in car accidents while pregnant. This was found to be particularly true for women during the second trimesters of their pregnancies. During the first month of their pregnancies, the women studied had an accident incidence rate of 4.33 events per 1,000 women. This rate was very close to that of the women studied during the baseline period before they became pregnant. The rate increased significantly to 7.66 events per 1,000 women during the first month of the second trimester for the women followed in the study. In the last month of their pregnancies, the incidence rate dropped to 2.74 events per 1,000 women. The data analyzed showed approximately a 42 percent increase in the risk of being involved in car accidents for women during their second trimesters.

While women have long been wary of other dangers when expecting, this study’s findings have shown that it is also important for pregnant women to use extra care when driving. Doing so may help them avoid collisions, which can leave not only injure them or their unborn babies, but other motorists and passengers as well. 

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