Women are given variable information about when to recommence driving after surgery.
To assess obstetrician/gynaecologists’ and midwives’ knowledge, attitudes and advice about car driving after abdominal surgery including hysterectomy or caesarean section (CS).
Materials and Methods
An anonymous SurveyMonkey™ survey was distributed to accredited trainees and Fellows of the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and midwives registered with the Australian College of Midwives by email in November 2013. Demographic information, recommendations about driving, and reasoning behind these recommendations were collected.
Nine hundred and seventy‐seven clinician responses (15.8%) were analysed: 555 midwives, 92 trainees and 330 Fellows. Ninety‐six percent gave advice about driving after surgery. Respondents considered pain (85.6%), medication (73.2%) and mobility (70.5%) the most important factors when advising on resumption of driving. After uncomplicated CS, 19% said they would advise a well woman that she could drive <4 weeks, 18% advised four weeks, 33% advised five to six weeks and 27% did not give a specific timeframe. Similar timeframes were given following hysterectomy. Of each professional group, trainees (49%) and midwives (48%) were more likely to advise waiting five to six weeks to resume driving compared with Fellows (9%) (P < 0.001). Although 71.5% of respondents thought that most women drove before four weeks, only 33.9% of respondents thought driving earlier than advice given was unsafe. Conclusions Clinicians frequently give advice about driving after surgery. This advice is inconsistent and many advise women not to drive for significant time periods. This study highlights the need for education and research about driving after surgery.