New mothers at risk on road

(Week 4 tutorial task)

300 word version

Sleep deprived new mothers have been compared to drink drivers when it comes to their ability to control a motor vehicle.

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety studied 24 new mothers from southeast Queensland to determine the effect of post-partum fatigue on their driving.

Dr Kerry Armstrong, from QUT, said new mothers are at risk behind the wheel from sleep deprivation.

“Previous research has shown that that post-partum fatigue should disappear after six weeks, but we’ve found that the new mothers still felt exhausted 12weeks after giving birth”, Dr Armstrong said.

“And of course all parents will tell you that they can have interrupted sleep patterns for a lot longer than that – up to years,” she said.

“To put it in context, research has shown that if someone’s awake for 17 hours, it can be similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 per cent”, Dr Armstrong said.

“Then, if they’ve been awake for 24 hours, it’s similar to being two times over the limit, or 0.1 percent”, Dr Armstrong said.

Dr Armstrong said the study also showed new mothers often showed a decreased awareness of their body’s need for rest, and the safety implications of fatigue.

“New mums tend to push through the tiredness to get things done that need to be done: looking after the baby, washing, cooking and so on,” Dr Armstrong said.

“It’s clear that new mums need to be more aware of the risks of post-partum fatigue,” she said.

Dr Armstrong said the research would be used to help develop ways to help new mums with this situation and raise awareness of post-partum fatigue and the safety implications, including brochures and other intervention methods.

Word count: 289

Based on this story

Study exercise was to find an online news story, and ‘role play’ the interview with a friend or family member, having them play the role of the interviewee, and me as the interviewer. Therefore all comments in this post are not those of Dr Kerry Armstrong – they have been made up for the purposes of this study task.


1 Comment

Filed under Health, National News

One response to “New mothers at risk on road

  1. Larissa

    Well reported!

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