In NSW, around 30% of women experience a caesarean section. Anecdotally, few receive consistent information regarding driving after a caesarean delivery.
The aims were to determine the information provided to women following caesarean section and by whom it was given, and compare this with women’s actual driving behaviour.
Prior to hospital discharge, 101 consenting women completed a survey of five questions documenting the information they received about when to commence driving. They were telephoned 6–8 weeks postpartum and asked when they drove and whether they experienced any problems. Following this, a staff survey was conducted to establish what information was given to women. Insurance companies and government departments were contacted for relevant polices about when women can drive postcaesarean.
100 women completed both surveys (99% of recruits); 65% were advised to wait for 6 weeks or longer before driving. However, 72% of women reported they had driven by 6 weeks, and 35% by 3 weeks. In our sample, women reported minimal discomfort and rarely discontinued driving. Returned staff surveys (n = 138) revealed inconsistent advice ranging from no advice to 8 weeks of driving abstinence. Other recommendations included following insurance company guidelines (of which there were none specific to postcaesarean) (34%), ‘listen to your body and be able to perform an emergency stop’ (27%).
Women receive conflicting advice, and current recommendations are not reflected in women’s behaviour. Women are driving earlier than advised with minimal reported complications.