Driving uses many of the muscles a woman uses during labor and delivery of a child. Therefore, a recovering mother must heal before she gets behind the wheel. Listen to your body when it comes to getting back to day-to-day activities after childbirth. Depending on the difficulty of the labor and delivery, a new mom will be able to drive within a few days or weeks.
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Driving after a Vaginal Birth
Brigham and Women's Hospital advises new moms to keep physical activity to a minimum for a few days following a vaginal birth. If your bleeding is minimal and there's no dizziness, however, short drives should not be an issue. New moms should wait at least six weeks before a long drive, however.
Driving After a C-section
C-sections require a much longer recovery. New moms are not able to lift anything more than the baby's weight, so lifting a car seat is not feasible. You will also not be able to twist for a few weeks, so lifting the baby out of the car or putting him may be painful. Additionally, you will not have the abdominal muscles to press down on the brake pedal in an emergency. Therefore, new moms who had C-sections should wait until after the three-week postpartum appointment to drive.
Once baby arrives, driving is no longer as simple as hopping in the car and backing out of the driveway. A new mom will have to plan outings to coincide with times when baby is not hungry. You will have to take the extra time to pack a diaper bag, change his diaper and place him into the infant seat, which will then need to be locked into position in the car. A new mom may be too tired in the beginning to handle all of these extra steps, so staying at home until you feel a little more energized may be the best solution.
Recovering from Childbirth
Childbirth is a traumatic physical process for a woman requiring time for the body to heal. You may bleed vaginally, experience soreness and fatigue. If you are breast-feeding, you may be dealing with sore and engorged breasts. It is important for any new mom to get as much rest as possible to allow the body to heal; therefore, driving may not be a priority for a couple of weeks.