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Pregnancy causes diverse physiological changes including fatigue, nausea, distraction, and sleep disruption. These changes may contribute to driver error yet road safety is never discussed in prenatal care guidelines. We identified all women in Ontario who gave birth between 2006 and 2011 and evaluated intervals before, during, and after becoming pregnant (n = 507,262). We found that the second trimester of pregnancy led to a 42% increase in the risk of a serious motor vehicle crash. The increase was compensated in the third trimester, not associated with intentional injury, and accompanied by decreases in risky behaviours. The increased risk amounted to approximately 75 serious crashes each month in Ontario. We suggest that pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of serious motor vehicle crashes during the second trimester, which merits greater attention to good prenatal care.
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Presenter: Dr. Donald Redelmeier
Dr. Donald Redelmeier is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, staff physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Canada’s largest trauma hospital), and Canada Research Chair in Medical
Decision Sciences. His research spans a variety of areas, emphasizing the psychology of decision-making and the epidemiology of motor vehicle trauma. Dr. Redelmeier has published over 200 articles in the scientific medical literature including “Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions” (NEJM, 1997), “Driving fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday” (NEJM, 2003), and “Physician warnings for unfit drivers and the risk of trauma from a road crash” (NEJM, 2012).
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