Pregnant women typically have a lot to worry about, but maybe they should also be worrying more about how they drive! According to Columbus ObGyn Dr. Otto Umana, a new study suggests that pregnant women have more car crashes than they do in the years prior to or after their pregnancy.
The increased risk for problems is focused in the second trimester, a time when women are typically feeling more of the effects of pregnancy, but may not drive as carefully as they do later in their term.
One of the authors of the study places a portion of the blame on so-called “pregnancy brain,” a term used to describe the foggy thinking many women report as their pregnancy progresses.
According to your Columbus ObGyn, a normal pregnancy is accompanied by fatigue, nausea, insomnia, anxiety and distraction, and all those changes can contribute to driver error.
The studies tracked the records for more than half a million women for four years before – and for one year after – they gave birth. They included each car crash that was serious enough for a woman to be taken to the emergency room.
Before pregnancy, the number of serious crashes for all the women, while driving, was recorded at an annual rate of 4.5 per 1,000 and that number remained steady during the first month of pregnancy.
By the fourth month, however, the same group of women was having almost 300 serious crashes per month (7.6 per 1,000). That rate fell sharply by the last month of pregnancy (2.7 per 1,000), and stayed around that level the year following the births.
Your Columbus ObGyn is not suggesting that pregnant women shouldn’t drive, but they should drive as carefully in mid-pregnancy as they do when their stomach is larger or when they have infants in the car.
It’s important for pregnant drivers to take care, because the farther along the pregnancy is, the more the fetus is exposed, as there are no bones around the uterus.
Columbus ObGyn Dr. Otto Umana urges pregnant women to:
- Always buckle up with a lap and shoulder belt;
- Keep air bags turned on;
- Try to keep 10 inches between the steering wheel and their breastbones;
- Move front seats back as far as possible or sit in back seats.
If you have any further questions or need treatment by the best Columbus ObGyn Dr. Otto Umana, please call our office today for a confidential consultation.