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Pregnancy may increase risk of a car accident

According to a new study, pregnancy may have a significant impact on the risks of being involved in a car accident. The study says the biggest risk is during the second trimester of pregnancy, when a woman's likelihood of being involved in a car accident is as high as that for an individual with sleep apnea.

The study leader says that pregnant women shouldn't stop driving because of the new information. They aren't even the population with the highest risk, he says. Young male drivers have a much higher risk of being involved in a crash, according to statistics.

Pregnant women should, however, pay close attention to safety on the road, says the study leader, and not just because they are driving for two. Paying attention to traffic signs, driving the speed limit and reducing distractions in the car help lower the chances of an accident. The heightened risk doesn't last forever. According to the study, the risk begins dropping in the third trimester and is even lower after a baby is born than it was before pregnancy.

According to the study, which included 500,000 mothers, the risk of an accident rises by 42 percent mid-pregnancy. While the study didn't consider why the risk increased, the study leader says hormones could be playing a role. He said hormones cause nausea, stress, insomnia and fatigue, all of which might contribute to increased chances for a car accident.

Driving safely is something everyone in New Hampshire should do, but even the safest drivers -- pregnant or not -- can be involved in an accident if another driver is distracted or negligent. In such cases, seeking compensation for injuries and losses is a right of any victim.

Source: New Hampshire Public Radio, "Driving While Pregnant Is Riskier Than You Might Think" No author given, May. 12, 2014

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