Having multiple C-Sections can be risky. After all C-Sections are full abdominal surgery.
While having a C-Section may be the best thing for mom and/or baby it still compromises both mom and baby exposing you to certain health risks.
One C-Section isn’t terribly risky, even two C-Sections is tolerable but how many C-Sections is too many?
That’s a tough question when you consider there are moms who have had three, four, five, even as many as eight or more C-Sections without any issues.
However there are moms who have also had as few as two C-Sections and have had numerous complications.
The real answer for how many is too many C-Sections is different for every woman. There’s no one size fits all. If you talk to a mom who has has 5 or more C-Sections with no complications, you simply can’t assume that you won’t have complications either. Your body chemistry, age, weight, your overall health, even your genes can play a part in how well your body does with each subsequent C-Section surgery.
Even women who have had several C-Sections with no issues could still encounter future complications such as abdominal adhesions which often don’t become a problem until many years later.
The intention is to limit as much risk as possible when having a C-Section. To help minimize these risks doctors recommend, on average, that a woman have no more than three c-sections, but as we all know many women go on to have many more than that. Fortunately many of these women have done fine and will even boast the fact. However, each time they undergo another surgery they put themselves and their babies at greater risk.
Let’s start by looking at those risks and complications a little closer.
What Are The Specific Risks Of Having Multiple C-Sections?
- Scar tissue on the uterus and/or organs. Adhesions, also known as scar tissue form after each C-Section and they occur in the majority of people who have any type of abdominal surgery. Adhesions can make subsequent C-Sections more difficult causing the surgery to take longer. If abdominal adhesions are extensive they can cause abdominal and bowel problems years later.
- Possible Bladder and/or bowel injuries. Bowel and bladder injuries increase due to adhesions that have developed. Sometimes the bladder adheres to the uterus and and separation can cause injury.
- Heavy bleeding or Blood transfusions. The risk of heavy bleeding increases with each subsequent C-Section as does the risk of hysterectomy due to heavy bleeding. The risk of a hysterectomy increases from .65% after the first C-Section to over 2.4% with 4 or more C-Sections.
- Placental problems such Placenta Accreta and Placenta Previa.
In some cases the amount of scar tissue can become problematic for a doctor and s(he) may recommend you avoid future pregnancies or perhaps recommend a tubal ligation. For many women this is not an acceptable solution, especially if they’re planning a large family.
Today many women avoid having multiple c-sections by having a VBAC or Vaginal birth after A C-Section. VBAC’s are slowly becoming more accepted by doctors and VBAC support is growing; especially for women who have had only one previous C-Section, which is great news for moms who really do NOT want more surgery. The bad news is that your chances of a successful, safe VBAC lessen with every C-Section you have.
If having more children is in your plan but you’ve already had 2 or more C-Sections, give your body sufficient time to heal between surgeries. Preferably 20-24 months from the time of your last C-Section to your next expected delivery. Having C-Section surgeries too close together increases the risk of uterine rupture, so the longer your internal incision can heal, the better.
As another precaution, check with your doctor on using methods that can help prevent C-Section adhesions and scar tissue. Adhesions can be problematic in the future for women who have had multiple C-Section deliveries.
Something else to note is that even your choice of doctor can make a difference. Every doctor is also different, they have different surgical styles, techniques and concerns. It’s not easy to know which doctor is the best choice, however I’d highly recommend researching your doctor first. Look closely at his track record. Find out his track record on patient infections, complaints and overall satisfaction.
P.S. Don’t go under the C-Section knife again without the facts. For more in-depth knowledge and advice on C-Section Birth and recovery , grab the Worry Free C-Section Guide – Now on Kindle!
Photo courtesy of thawats and freedigitalphotos.net