Driving While Pregnant: Why It's More Dangerous Than You Think

Lisa Fogarty Say What!?

When I was pregnant there were many days when I felt the best thing I could do for myself -- and the rest of the world -- was to stay home, in bed, and out of harm's way (oh, if only if were that easy). I was a clumsy, emotional, walking menace to society, especially during months 7, 8, and 9. There are also so many restrictions placed on us -- don't eat or drink this or that, don't dye our hair, don't use electric blankets -- that you can't help feeling like your every move could spell potential disaster.

Well, lucky us -- there's yet another thing most of us have to do every day that could prove pretty dangerous: drive a car. A recent study suggests that pregnant women get into more car crashes.

The worst time for us as pregnant drivers is in our "glow-y" second trimester, believe it or not. Researchers say this is probably because we have foggy "pregnancy brain," but feel better than we did in our first trimesters and are more likely to take risks behind the wheel because of it. Naturally, when our bellies are so big during the last trimester that they pretty much touch the steering wheel, we're constantly reminded to be careful -- so we experience fewer accidents during that time.

Here are some staggering stats for you. Women drivers who aren't preggers have an average of 177 accidents per month. But by the fourth month of pregnancy, those same women were involved in 299 serious crashes a month.

As much as I'd like to pooh-pooh this info away, I must 'fess up: I was involved in a car crash when I was about 3 months pregnant. While driving on the highway, in a pregnant fog, I must have been going 20 miles an hour because a woman hit my car from behind. We pulled over, and instead of doing what you're supposed to do -- exchanging info, calling your insurance company -- I did a very pregnant thing and began weeping, hugging the woman, and thanking my lucky stars that we survived.

She got away with not having to pay for my slightly damaged car, and I spent the rest of the day tormented -- wondering if I'd hurt my baby. I dropped everything that afternoon and visited my doctor, who gently reminded me that our babies are protected very well inside of our wombs and that it would take a lot more than a fender bender to hurt them.

Ugh. Can't say it didn't hurt to have to pay for my car's damage out of my own pocket.

I guess the take-away here is: pregnant women should exercise a bit more caution while driving. And then refrain from crying and embracing a driver who hits your car because you're in pregnant la-la land.

Have you ever been involved a car accident while pregnant? How did you handle it?

 

Image via Bernd Friedel/Westend61/Corbis

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