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Is it safe to drive during pregnancy?

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Quick Answer

While it is generally safe to drive during pregnancy, pregnant women are more likely to get into a car crash during their second trimester, according to Laura Sanders for Science News. This increase has not been found for women in their first or third trimesters.

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A study examined the driving records of over 500,000 expectant mothers in Ontario, Canada, explains Sanders. Results showed the car crash rate of the women increased 42% during the second trimester. Comparatively, the crash rate during the first and last trimesters were the same as those before the pregnancy.

Researchers believe a spike in car crashes is due to hormonal changes in the second trimester, notes NPR. Additionally, increased fatigue, insomnia and stress cause momentary lapses in attention that can contribute to errors and distractions while driving. This belief is supported by additional data collected in the years after the babies were born. New mothers who were similarly stressed and sleep-deprived did not show the increased crash rates that were seen during the second trimester.

Researchers advise expectant mothers to take extra precautions when driving, states NPR. This includes obeying stop signs, driving more carefully and minimizing distractions, particularly from cellphones. Pregnant women are also advised to pay particular attention to their levels of fatigue as they tire more quickly during pregnancy than usual.

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