Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan who is either a leading Saudi cleric or a judicial adviser to an association of Gulf psychologists, has been reported to have told sabq.org (original site down, statement taken from reuters):

"If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards," he told Sabq.

"That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees," he said.

Are those valid claims?

  • 7
    What kind of evidence do you seek? I doubt anyone has done a study on that... Would the fact that there is no epidemics of dislodged pelvis in women outside of Saudi Arabia be proof enough?
    – nico
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 20:25
  • 6
    The idea that this only happens when a woman drives 'not out of pure necessity' is what amuses me most. It's almost as if driving out of necessity apparently prompts their ovaries to toughen up! Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 14:31
  • @nico I'm really at a lose here. Well the Reuter's states that he's a judicial adviser. So I would be looking for proof for his statement which can't be refuted or dismissed as such. Certainly I'll be looking for counter-arguments, refuting the statement (although I don't know how would it be done). How do we proof that there is no epidemic of dislodged pelvis? Do we have any statistics in that respect? If not then I think his claim could be valid. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 18:10
  • You sit in the same position driving as you do as a passenger.
    – Andy
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 1:35
  • Is there any way to compare the percentages of "children with clinical problems"? If the claim is true then Saudi Arabia should show a statically significant lower incidence of such problems. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


In reviewing the literature initially:

Searches of Scholar for these phrases:

  • 'physiological effects driving'
  • 'women driving'
  • 'ergonomics driving'
  • 'pelvis driving'
  • 'driving + ovaries'

...all returned no relevant studies discussing any effect of this kind, suggesting that if this kind of phenomenon has occurred, no one has thought it significant enough to study.

A search for 'driving pelvis' turns up one semi-relevant paper on the design of seats, according to the position of the pelvis. This paper, considering the ergonomics of driving position specifically related to the pelvis and published by a manufacturer of automobile and aerospace systems, doesn't specially address the supposed problems of women driving.

Additonally, a Scholar search for "dislodged pelvis" returns exactly 0 results, although without the quotes you find a number of irrelevant articles. A Google web search for "Dislodged pelvis" yields 106 results, of which one is this very question, and the majority of others concern either a dislodging during childbirth (which is of course an outward dislodging of the pelvis) or a dislodging after a fracture, which is a high energy traumatic injury, not really the kind of thing one might encounter whilst driving an uneventful route!

Finally, choosing a country in which women regularly drive (I've chosen the UK, because I'm used to perusing their health statistics, and with 30 million women, there's a decent sample size), there is not significantly high incidence of pelvic trauma at all regardless of gender. Code S33 of the 2012 Hospital Episode Statistics shows that during that year, 220 people were admitted with a dislocation, ligament damage or weakening, or strain to the the lumbar spine or pelvis, of which number 148 were male.

From this, it's easy to see that, at least in the UK (where approximately 66% of women hold a driver's licence, around 80% of women under 50 hold a licence), approximately 67% of those presenting at hospital with pelvis injuries of this type are male.

Taking into account that one cause of injury to the pelvis is giving birth, I think I can say with relative confidence that driving is very unlikely to cause injury to the pelvis of a woman in a significantly higher proportion than it does to men.

NB: I would have liked to address this with statistics from Saudi Arabia itself, but I was unable to find such detailed information for the country.


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