Driving is a multi-facetted activity. We have to control the vehicle, drive at an appropriate speed for the posted limits, and that is permitted by traffic and weather. We have to know where we are going, or rely on a map or a GPS, which we have to check from time to time to ensure we don’t miss a turn and our destination.

We have to drive defensively, watching for other driver’s mistakes and errors. And we have to fight our own distraction, stemming from our own desire to check to see what the text that just arrived says or discuss a business meeting with a passenger, or even break-up a disagreement between siblings in the back seat.

And we have to do this all at the same time.

For pregnant women in their second trimester, all of this can be a problem. A study looked at the driving records of 500,000 women who gave birth and then examined car crashes that sent women to emergency rooms that occurred before and after the pregnancy.

The researchers found that there was a significant increase in car accidents during the second trimester. An author of the study noted that pregnancy is disruptive for most women, with “fatigue, nausea, insomnia, anxiety and distraction” all being common experiences, which can negatively affect driving abilities.

While the study suggests that pregnant women should exercise additional care when driving during the second trimester, the author of the research commented that they should not let “young men” do their driving, because somewhat  incongruously most young men have worse driving outcomes than pregnant women in the second trimester. 

Source: USA Today, “Study: Pregnant drivers may have more car crashes,” Kim Painter, May 12, 2014