Every maternal death counts: driving safety in pregnant and post-partum women

Project type: DI Program Academic project

Status: In progress

University of British Columbia

Motor vehicle crashes are a common reason why Canadian women die in pregnancy or shortly after delivery. Yet, these deaths aren't counted in most efforts to track and prevent maternal deaths, because the conventional definition of "maternal death" excludes deaths due to accidents. There is growing recognition, however, that we should try to monitor and prevent all deaths to new mothers, not just those that fit into the conventional definition of a maternal death.

The first step towards preventing maternal deaths from motor vehicle crashes is to understand if, when, and which women are at increased risk of motor vehicle accidents in pregnancy or shortly after delivery. We will do this by linking British Columbia motor vehicle collision claims records with the province's population health databases, including the British Columbia Perinatal Data Registry, which will provide us with pregnancy-related information. We will compare a woman's risk of being in a motor vehicle crash during pregnancy compared with other women in the province who weren't pregnant, and to the same woman a year prior to her pregnancy to determine if women are more likely to have a motor vehicle accident when pregnant. We will examine if certain pregnancy-related conditions, such as twin pregnancies or anemia (both of which could make a woman more fatigued) increase the risk of a motor vehicle crash.

Project Main Contact: Dr. Jennifer Hutcheon, Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Population Health, Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Linked datasets:

  • ICBC
  • Ministry of Attorney General
  • Ministry of Health
  • Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Statistics Canada

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