Risk Factors for Maternal Injuries in a Population-Based Sample of Pregnant Women

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Background: The prevalence of injuries during pregnancy is largely underestimated, as previous research has focused on more severe injuries resulting in emergency department visits and hospitalizations. The objective of our study was to estimate the frequency, risk factors, and causes of injuries in a population-based sample of pregnant women.

Methods: This article is an analysis of postpartum interviews among the control series from a case-control study (n=1,488). Maternal, pregnancy, and environmental characteristics associated with injury during pregnancy in control subjects were examined to identify population-based risk factors for injury. We collected data on self-reported injury during pregnancy, including the month of pregnancy, whether medical attention was sought, the mechanism of injury, and the number and location of bodily injuries. Logistic regression was used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of injury.

Results: Over 5% of women reported an injury during pregnancy, with falls being the most common mechanism of injury. Women at highest adjusted risk for injury had unintended pregnancies (aOR: 2.28 [1.40–3.70]) and no partner during pregnancy (aOR: 2.45 [1.16–5.17]) relative to women without injuries.

Conclusions: Pregnant women with risk factors for many pregnancy-related complications are also at increased risk of injury during pregnancy. Further studies of pregnancy-related injuries are needed to consider environmental and maternal characteristics on risk of injury.

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Journal of Women's Health, v. 23, issue 12, p. 1033-1038