Postpartum fatigue and driving : relating experiences, thoughts and opinions 12 weeks post-birth

Livingstone, Kerrie, Armstrong, Kerry, Obst, Patricia L., & Smith, Simon S. (2009) Postpartum fatigue and driving : relating experiences, thoughts and opinions 12 weeks post-birth. In The 4th International Conference on Women's Issues in Transportation, Transportation Research Board / National Academy of Sciences, Irvine and Newport Beach, California.

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Fatigue in the postnatal period is such a common experience for most mothers that the term ‘postpartum fatigue’ (PPF) has been coined to describe it. When new mothers experience extreme fatigue, it follows that their physical health, mental health, and social-wellbeing is negatively affected. It is interesting to note that there is a distinct lack of empirical investigations focusing on the link between PPF and increased risk of injury; particularly when the links between fatigue and increased risk of road crashes are well documented. The purpose of this investigation was to undertake pilot research to develop an understanding of the duration of PPF and the performance impairments experienced by new mothers when involved in safety-sensitive activities, such as driving a motor vehicle. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with women (N = 24) at 12 weeks postpartum living in South-east Queensland, Australia. Key themes were identified; with a particular emphasis towards understanding the link between the participant’s experience of postpartum fatigue and the impact this has on their overall cognitive and physiological functioning, as well as their experience of the driving task. Further, sleep/wake data was collected and using the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) the potential crash risk for this group of mothers is discussed. It is proposed that the findings of this investigation could be used to improve current knowledge among new mothers and practitioners regarding the mechanisms and consequences of fatigue and to inform interventions that lead to a decreased risk of injury associated with postpartum fatigue.

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ID Code: 28609
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Conference held in 2009, Proceedings published in 2010.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: postpartum fatigue, driving
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sensory Processes Perception and Performance (170112)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 16 Nov 2009 04:59
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:33

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