According to a new study of more than half a million pregnant Canadian women, pregnancy is a risk factor for having an auto accident. Overall, women are 42% more likely to have a serious auto accident during pregnancy than before pregnancy.

Is it because pregnant women become distracted when the baby kicks? No, because the increased risk of an auto accident peaks in the fourth month of pregnancy, before the fetus is kicking. After the fourth month of pregnancy the risk declines each month until childbirth. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a first pregnancy or a subsequent one; the increased risk returns with each pregnancy.

It’s an interesting observation, but I’m not sure what to make of it. It does not appear that women have a tendency to take more risks during pregnancy. Their use of tobacco and alcohol declines during pregnancy, indicating a conscious tendency to reduce risky behaviors wherever possible.

Fortunately, no one is suggesting that pregnant women shouldn’t drive. At their very worst, pregnant women still have fewer accidents than men of the same age!

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