A new report finds that pregnant women are far more likely to become involved in a traffic accident than women who are not expecting.
The report, which has been published in the medical journal CMAJ, is based on a study by Dr. Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto. Redelmeier found that pregnant women were 42 per cent more likely to become involved in a crash that sent them to the hospital emergency room than women who were not carrying a child.
Redelmeier reached that finding by studying data on adult women who gave birth in the province of Ontario between April 2006 and March 2011. The sample included more than half a million pregnant women, who altogether were involved in roughly 8,000 traffic accidents.
This means the rate of accidents was approximately 4.6/1000 before or after pregnancy and 7.7/1000 during pregnancy.
The study also found that there was no link between risk and a woman’s ethnicity or place of residency.
So, why would pregnant women be more likely to cause a traffic accident?
Redelmeier says that pregnancy “is usually accompanied by a lot of fatigue, nausea, mood fluctuations, anxieties and distractions which may all contribute to distracted driving.”
Redelmeier, an expert on internal medicine, says it’s time to focus more attention on this issue. He says he’s often been asked about safe and unsafe behavior during pregnancy but insists that “never once was I asked about road safety despite it being a larger risk to mother and child.”