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Pregnancy After C-Section

Compared to natural (vaginal) delivery, C-section delivery is more challenging, painful and riddled with side effects and complications. This is the reason why seeking the guidance of a professional gynaecologist is important, especially if it is your second pregnancy after a caesarean. For some women, conceiving after C-section delivery can be a challenge. Here, consulting with a specialist will help you make a well-informed decision when planning the next child.

Below we have explained C-section delivery, listed the risks & side effects, provided some pain relief tips, and answered a few commonly asked questions about pregnancy after C-section.

A. What is a C-Section Delivery?

Caesarean delivery, often known as C-section, is a surgical procedure that includes making an incision in the abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby.

  • A C-section can be planned ahead of time, in case of pregnancy complications
  • If the patient is unlikely to have a vaginal birth due to some medical issue
  • If the patient had a previous C-section delivery and isn’t considering vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC).

Caesarean is considered a safer option than vaginal delivery in cases where a threat is posed to the mother or the baby due to pregnancy complications. It reduces the illness and death rate in both the mother and the baby, with deliveries scheduled according to convenience. Here, an early pregnancy check can help women make an informed decision.

Read: Important Symptoms That Women Should Never Ignore Says Gynaecologist

B. C-Section Recovery Timeline and Pain Relief Tips

1. C-Section Recovery Time

Recovery after C-section usually takes more time compared to a vaginal delivery because it is a major surgery.

  • The mother and the baby may have to stay in the hospital for around three to four days.
  • If all’s well, they can go home after 24 hours, with at-home and follow-up care instructions.
  • If they prefer, they can stay in the hospital for a day to rest and recuperate with the assistance of the medical staff at hand.

2. Pain Relief Tips

  • Since it is a major abdominal surgery, experiencing pain for a few days or weeks post-delivery is quite common. Sitting-up straight and coughing or laughing may cause discomfort. In such cases, holding a pillow over the tummy or supporting the C-section wound with your hands can help.
  • Constipation and other digestive issues are some problems that women may experience after a C-section delivery. For constipation, the doctor may prescribe medications. You could eat fibre rich foods to prevent constipation. Chewing gum also helps regulate bowel movements.
  • Eat plenty of food when hungry and stay hydrated. Keep healthy snacks at hand, which you can nibble on in-between meals. Having a healthy diet is essential, especially if you are breastfeeding. This will keep your energy levels high and prevent lethargy and fatigue.
  • Experiencing bleeding after C-section is normal. Although, the blood loss may be lighter compared to vaginal delivery. Make use of maternity pads as these are longer, softer, and more absorbent, providing extra comfort and ease.
  • Yoga can help modulate the stress response after a caesarean. Whereas, meditation can help refresh the mind. Both can help new Moms recover effectively after a C-section delivery as they help strengthen the body and mind.

Read: Why Should You Have An Early Reassurance Scan

C. Pregnancy After C-Section: Risks and Side Effects

1. Risks and Side Effects for the Baby

  • Breathing Problems: Babies born from C-section may develop breathing problems such as transient tachypnea – a breathing problem wherein babies have abnormally fast breathing during the first few days after birth.
  • Surgical Injuries: Since the process involves surgery, the baby might be at risk of surgical injuries. Although, it’s very rare.

2. Risks and Side Effects for the Mother

  • Infection: After a C-section, the mother might be at risk of developing an infection at the uterus lining. The incision wound may cause a high-risk infection. In such cases, book an appointment with the doctor immediately.
  • Post-partum Haemorrhage: Caesarean may cause heavy bleeding during and after the delivery.
  • Blood clots: The risk of developing blood clots is high after C-section, especially in the legs or pelvic organs.
  • Potential Risks in Future Pregnancies: C-sections can pose risks to future pregnancies, such as problems with the placenta.
  • Other side-effects may include nausea, cramping, or fatigue.

 

FAQs

Does C-section delivery affect your fertility?
The first concern most women have during a C-section delivery is would it affect their chances of future conception. In other words, will it affect their fertility?

While it is highly unlikely that a C-section might affect your fertility, in some women, a C-section could lower their chances of a second pregnancy. The exact reason for it is not identified as yet. But, some researchers suggest that it might be due to uterine scarring during the procedure.

In most cases, a C-section is performed in the case of emergency, where the fetus is positioned feet first (breech position) inside the womb. This doesn’t reduce a woman’s ability to reproduce. A condition such as uterine fibroid may result in a breach when C-Section is performed. Such fibroids may affect future fertility. But do not specifically occur as a result of a C-section.

How long should you wait to conceive after C-Section Delivery?

One of the most common questions is how soon can you get pregnant after C-section or the average time to get pregnant with a second child.

The answer depends on factors like the women’s age, whether they had a complicated or high-risk pregnancy last time, and most importantly, if their last delivery was via C-section.

  • In general, it is recommended to wait for at least six months before getting pregnant after C-section. That’s the bare minimum needed.
  • For some, the waiting period maybe 12 to 15 months or 18 to 24 months, depending on the overall health of an individual.
  • Women older than 35 are recommended to wait for 12 months.
  • A year’s gap before conceiving would be more beneficial for it gives ample time for the woman to recover.

Consulting with a professional gynaecologist will provide you with further insights that will help you make a decision. They will assess your overall health, fertility history, sexual health, among others.

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