When most women think about being in the car when pregnant, they think
about the rush to the
maternity hospital when labor begins and not about their runs to the grocery store and work
during their pregnancies. In reality, driving while you are pregnant can
carry some extra risks. Fortunately, the power to reduce your chances
of having an accident is in your hands. Get the facts about driving while
pregnant and how you can protect yourself and your baby.
Driving Dangers During Pregnancy
The reason that maternity doctors are concerned about the risk of driving
during pregnancy is the
results of a Canadian study that show that the chances of having an auto accident increases by about
42% during the second trimester of pregnancy. Accident risk remains about
the same as before pregnancy during the first trimester and normalizes
again in the third trimester. After labor and delivery, a woman’s
chance of having a car accident falls lower than it was before becoming a mother.
Reasons for Second-Trimester Accidents
Although the study did not look at reasons for an increased number of
accidents during the second trimester, doctors have their suspicions.
During this period, hormonal changes can cause intense fatigue, nausea,
stress, and brain fog. As a result, reaction times can be delayed and
driver distraction becomes an issue. During this time, women have about
the same risk of an accident as someone with sleep apnea.
Ways to Reduce Accident Risk
Although the hormonal changes that occur during the second trimester of
pregnancy are unavoidable, there are things mothers-to-be can do to cut
their chances of having problems behind the wheel. Just being aware of
the risk can help you to be more careful on the road. Pay attention to
how you’re feeling, and if you’re fatigued or feeling unwell,
At Good Samaritan Hospital we provide comprehensive maternity care, including
labor and delivery, in San Jose. Find out what it is like to have your baby in our birthing
center by calling (888) 724-2362 or schedule a tour of our birth suites.