Women are more dangerous behind the wheel when they’re pregnant, according to new research.
A study of more than half a million pregnant women found that factors such as nausea, fatigue, insomnia and distraction could increase the risk of a crash.
One in 50 women will crash during pregnancy. Over the three years before pregnancy, the women under observation had 6922 crashes or 177 per month on average. During the second trimester, the women had 757 crashes — a rise of 42 per cent to 252 per month.
This means that, statistically, one in 50 women will be involved in a car accident during pregnancy.
The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
In the paper, which is almost certain to prove controversial, researchers mentioned “baby brain” — when pregnant women become forgetful and struggle to concentrate on logical tasks.
The lead author, Dr Donald Redelmeier, a researcher with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and a physician at Toronto University’s department of medicine, said:
“Even a minor motor vehicle crash during pregnancy could lead to irreparable consequences for mother and child. These findings underscore the importance of prevention and indicate that good prenatal care includes safe driving.
“These findings are not a reason to decide not to have children or a reason to stop driving. Instead, the findings primarily emphasise the need to drive more carefully.”