Pregnant Women Advised to Take Caution While Driving After New StudyOn May 11, 2022 by Millerie Penbrock
Babies born in the United States have at least a 1 percent chance of having been involved in a police-reported car crash while in the womb.
That finding from a University of Pittsburgh study being published today is the latest piece of information emerging on the death and injury risk to fetuses as a result of car crashes. Last year, Harold B. Weiss, associate director of Pitt’s Center for Injury Research and Control, reported that hundreds of fetal deaths each year stem from motor vehicle accidents.
“The big difference is we’re talking mostly about nonfatal crashes and nonfatal fetal outcomes,” Weiss said of the study, being published in the journal Injury Prevention. “It puts a number on how many are at risk, but emphasizes that we really don’t know the spectrum of outcomes they have — the kind of physical, cognitive or behavioral impacts that they have.” That’s the next step in the research, said Weiss, who will attempt to link accident and birth certificate data to see if automobile accidents were linked with premature births or other problems. The current study found that almost 33,000 pregnant women in the United States were involved in car crashes every year between 1995 and 1999. Weiss said as knowledge spreads about the driving risks to fetuses, he expects a variety of responses.
“I think it’s going to be a combination of cutting down on miles driven, if possible, and if you have to travel, travel in a less risky environment — better weather, shorter trips, daylight hours,” he said. “And try to avoid being in front of the steering wheel, if possible.
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