Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Driving after a c-section - how long did you wait?

Did you wait 6 weeks? 3 weeks? What were you advised to do? It seems that there is some confusion about when you should start driving again following a cesarean, and new research from Australia shows that confusion reigns there too.
"Women receive conflicting advice, and current recommendations are not reflected in women's behaviour. Women are driving earlier than advised with minimal reported complications." 65% had been advised to wait for 6 weeks or longer, yet 72% said they'd driven before 6 weeks, and 35% before 3 weeks; "women reported minimal discomfort and rarely discontinued driving".

When staff were asked what advice they give women, this was inconsistent, "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%)."

Back in 2005, I wrote about this subject,
having been advised by the Association of British Insurers that "There is no blanket rule. Restrictions in relation to licences are the DVLA's decision. It is not an insurance requirement to inform your provider that you've had a caesarean."

I'd also contacted the DVLA and was told:
1. It is not a legal requirement to refrain from driving for 6 weeks after a caesarean birth.2. You do not have to inform DVLA of a caesarean birth. We can't answer for insurance companies.3. There are guidelines on driving after surgery. Drivers are advised to speak to their doctors.4. Before a woman resumes driving following a caesarean, she should discuss the matter with her GP.

I'd love to hear about your experiences!

11 comments:

Awesome Mom said...

I always thought that it was because of the pain meds that you could not drive right after a csection. I always avoided driving while on them but once I was off I saw no problem with driving. I was never given any specific instruction about how long I should wait.

Becky said...

I live in the US, and I was told to wait two weeks after the cesarean, and that's what I did. I know others who drove before that.

Emily said...

Im Australian, and my Emergency c section was so well done that I felt 80% when I left the hospital 5days later. Maybe I healed so well because I was only 22 but I was driving 2 weeks later. I wasnt advised of a length of time to wait, but I think its usually 6 weeks. I was later informed that your not covered by insurance if you drive before 6 weeks and have a crash. Lucky I didnt :)

Anonymous said...

I had a Cesarian 2 weeks ago, and was explain that driving puts pressure on the incision, which make cause opening it up or other complications. My nurse said it might take 6 weeks until I am able to drive, and the doctor would make the decision based on my condition and the use of the drugs.

Anonymous said...

I drove short distances 4days after my c-section.

Anonymous said...

driving limitations are for csections for the reason of one major surgery two u were given anathesia and three pain meds. u are also advised not to lift anything heavier than baby too. all this because u have stitches in ur uterus stitches in ur muscle wall and stitches/staples in ur lower abdomen skin. so driving a car could cause damage to ur body and ur body is still under the influence of heavy meds. so go ahead and drive but leave the baby with someone else put urself at risk but not ur newborn not dring is NOT punishment it is to prevent injury to u and ur new baby

Anonymous said...

I had a c section last week and I drove this morning (8 days post op). I took my older son to school, its only 5minutes by car and I haven't had pain meds since yesterday. I think individual healing times differ and you must listen to your own body and assess your circumstances. I wouldn't advise anyone to do what I'm doing if they are still taking high dose pain medication because this impedes your ability to focus on the road. Each woman to herself!

Anonymous said...

I had a section 2 weeks ago and my insurance have told me there's no fixed rule and it's just when the doctor feels it is ok, even though I dont have to produce any letter from him. On the meds front I'm only taking Diclofenac (medication to reduce swelling) and paracetamol when I need it.

Not really sure what to do about this as I feel I am coping well after the op as I am walking every day!

Elizabeth said...

Most doctors recommend not driving for about 6 weeks. Waiting this long serves both safety and health requirements. It was the same for me when I had my C-Sections but I think I waited about 5 weeks. I felt pretty good and no longer had pain so I didn't wait the full 6 weeks. However it's best to remember that just because you no longer have pain that it's OK to drive sooner. There'are internal stitches that still have to heal and flexing abdominal muscles can cause problems and driving does require abdominal muscles.

Anonymous said...

really? do some mothers honestly think it is okay to drive so soon after surgery that has cut through the muscles. sure, you would more than likely be fine for a short trip with no incidents. but imagine taking your child to school, newborn in his carseat. you are taking it nice and steady and another child runs out in front. you brake but it pulls a tender muscle and you aren't in control any more. the damage you would do to your own uterine wall and stomach would be the least thing to worry about after that. just because you feel fine on the outside doesn't mean that all is healed and fine on the inside.

Amelia Wilson said...

Great post!