Undergoing a C-section is not a decision that the doctors or any pregnant mothers would take lightly. In the US, the surgeries are carried out by trained professionals who ensure that both the mother and the baby are not in any risk. But research has found that mothers who have undergone a cesarean to deliver their first baby, usually opts for cesarean for the birth of any future children.
With each C-section, the risk to the mother and the baby increases, becoming more complicated than the last. Even if research hasn’t established the exact number, women who have had number of multiple caesarean deliveries are at the increased risk of:
- Scar tissue to the uterus and other body organs: Each C-section leaves scar tissues like bands called adhesions. The extent varies, but dense adhesions can make it difficult for the mother, prolonging the time for delivery.
- Bladder and bowel injuries: While the first C-section doesn’t cause any harm, each consequent one can increase the risk of bladder and bowel injuries. This is mainly due to the adhesions that develop after the C-section, binding the bladder to the uterus. Adhesions can also cause small bowel obstruction.
- Heavy bleeding: With each repeat C-section, the chances for heavy bleeding increases. There’s an increased chance of needing a hysterectomy or removal of the uterus, basically to control the heavy bleeding. It might also call for blood transfusion.
- Problems with the placenta: Each C-section increases the risk that you develop complications with the placenta. The placenta might implant too deeply in the uterine wall or the placenta partially or completely covers the opening of the cervix.
Recovery After C-section
Every woman is different which means that some would recover at a faster rate after each cesarean while there are others who would experience a more painful and slower recovery.
What you need to understand that C-section is a complex surgery which means that there is an increased hospital stay where your body would recover. Here’s what you can do after that C-section:
- Get plenty of rest: Usually you would be advised to stay in the hospital for three to four days, but listen to your doctor and stay as many days as is needed to heal. Even once you reach home, take as much rest as possible. It is difficult especially because you have other children and your baby needing your constant attention, but take the help of friends, partners, and relatives. Rest whenever the baby is resting.
- Take extra care of your body: Take care of your body as much as you would take care of your baby. This includes avoiding stairs, keeping every supply (diapers, food, etc.) within your easy reach. Stock up your pantry and call for a babysitter to help you out with your other children.
- Relieve your pain: Having gone through your second or third C-section means that you are in too much pain. While pain killers are something that your doctor would advise based on your level of discomfort, you can alternatively use a hot pad to ease some of that pain.
- Focus on nutrition: It is important that you ensure that you receive a balanced diet. Managing your body, other children and a newborn can be taxing, but ask for help and plan to prevent situations wherein you have to cook. Freeze easy to heat meals, eat loads of vegetables, and get all the fluids that you can lay your hands on.
- Call for your doctor: Call for your doctor immediately if you see anything untoward or do not feel okay. There should not be any kind of oozing, swelling or pus from your incision site.
It is important to understand that you can definitely choose vaginal birth after a C-section. This is totally acceptable after the first one though. Healthcare providers would not recommend this for women who are already in their second or more C-section. This is because the risk of uterine rupture during labor increases by 2 to 3%.
Don’t lose hope if this is your second or third C-section. Talk to your doctor about the possible complications and wait atleast six months before you get pregnant again. Even the doctors agree that there is no magical number but it is important to take care of yourself and your baby equally.