17 May When can I drive after I have my baby
by Annette Beauchamp
NEW MAMAs ask me regularly when they should return to driving following the birth of a baby.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) is the main organization for obstetricians in Australia.
This is a summary of their published statement on recommendations for return to driving: Women are advised they can drive if they can sit comfortably in the car, wear a seatbelt, use all the controls, look over their shoulder, and make an emergency stop, and are not effected by sedating medications.
The generalization is, women may resume driving 2-6weeks, after abdominal surgery. But no statement is made specifically for time following vaginal birth.
Advice from Insurance Companies
Insurance companies said medical doctors should advise New Mamas on return to driving.
I contacted 2 larger insurers: RACV and AAMI. The insurance companies state that a new mama should seek advice from her obstetrician before returning to driving.
But this does not cover all conditions.
- a woman did not ask her obstetrician about return to driving before leaving the hospital?
- the doctor insisted on an unreasonable time frame for this?
- there was a conflict in information from the obstetrician and the GP?
- a woman had a midwife or doula assist at the birth?
After discussion with insurance company staff colleagues, an insurance spokesperson told me a woman can drive unless she has been specifically excluded from driving.
Every woman is different
Recovery varies. Some new mamas have only a few issues and recover quickly; some have significant issues and take much longer.
The faster you drive, the harder you must brake. The harder you apply the car brakes, the greater pressure on your abdominal wall and pelvic floor. If there is pain or weakness, you may take your foot off the brake – reflexively.
- Therefore, it makes sense to drive more slowly to reduce braking pressure.
- Please continue to wear supportive underwear or outerwear as you drive in the first 6-12 weeks.
- Keep older children in the car busy so that they do NOT distract you from the driving conditions. Provide them with food or child-focused activities, a picture book or e-device.
Before you drive
- Sit in the car.
- Check you can tolerate the seat belt across your lap and reach gear sticks, indicators.
- Practise braking while the car is stationary. Pump the brake mildly, moderately and strongly to make sure you will be able to do this in traffic.
Delay return to driving if you are concerned about your physical recovery affecting your driving ability.
Contact your insurer and your obstetrician or local doctor, for advice, if you are concerned about driving insurance cover in the case of an accident in the post-natal period.
See you at Mama Pilates for recovery of your abdomen and pelvis following the birth of your baby.
Please make an appointment if you are concerned about your abdomen and pelvic floor in the post-natal period.
Enjoy your baby. Enjoy your body.
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Please come and exercise with SHE. Join Mama To Be Pilates or Mama Pilates.
See SHE if you are concerned about your abdominal muscles.
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