Expectant mothers are often advised to avoid certain activities during their pregnancy. Activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and flying on a plane after 36 weeks can be harmful to the mother and baby. However, when it comes to traveling, many women wonder what the risks are if they continue to drive during their pregnancy. Fortunately, research shows that it is acceptable for expectant mothers to continue driving, but there are some risks involved.
Expectant Mothers More Likely to be Involved in Car Accidents
According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, expectant mothers are more likely to be in a serious car accident during their second trimester. Over a period of five years, a total of 507,262 pregnant women were studied to examine the risk of a serious motor vehicle crash during pregnancy. Out of this number, 6,922 were involved in car accidents. Pregnant women that were in their second trimester were involved in approximately 42 percent more accidents than those who were not pregnant.
Accident rates reached its highest peak during the first month of the second trimester. Research shows that there were 7.66 crash events per 1,000 individuals annually, as compared to 4.33 crash events during the first month of the first trimester, and 2.74 events during the last month of the third trimester. The authors of the study suggest that reasons for this may include increased risk of human error due to pregnancy symptoms such as intermittent nausea, general fatigue, unintended distraction, and sleep disruption. The study’s authors note that there was no comparable increase observed for pregnant passengers. Pregnant women may reduce their risk at being in a car accident if they are riding as a passenger or by taking certain precautions while driving.
Driving Safely While Pregnant
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of fetal deaths related to maternal trauma. Caring for an injured pregnant woman can present more complications because certain procedures and treatments may be harmful their baby. Also, brain injuries sustained early in life can contribute to later neurological problems. Emotional distress can also greatly affect the mother and the baby. Prevention is essential; here are some tips for safe driving while pregnant:
- Adjust your seat so that your stomach is about 10 inches away from the steering wheel
- Aim the steering wheel upwards, so that it is away from your stomach
- Avoid driving if you are in labor
- Choose to be a passenger, when it is possible
- Do not drive when feeling nauseous
- Do not speed
- If riding in the passenger seat, move the seat as far back as possible
- Keep the airbags turned on
- Minimize distractions
- Obey stop signs
- Stay hydrated
- Take breaks to stretch your legs and use the bathroom
- Use your turn signals
- Wear a seatbelt with the lap band under your stomach, as low as possible on your hips, and the shoulder belt mid-chest
Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Expectant Mothers Injured in Car Accidents
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries from a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Edwardsville car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC are dedicated to help car accident victims recover from their injuries. Contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644 for a free consultation regarding your potential case. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout Illinois, including Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.