Second C-Section – What To Expect

second c-sectionFor most moms the second C-Section procedure and recovery will be much easier than the first time around.

But even though that’s typically true, it still helps to prepare for your surgery and your recovery.  Every little thing you can do to prepare will make your c-section birth more enjoyable and your recovery that much easier.

To help you plan your second C-Section, here are a a few things to think about and also ask your doctor about.

  • Will your c-section incision be in the same place?
  • Are there new risks with having a second c-section?
  • Will having another C-Section leave me with a bigger scar?
  • How should you prepare for your second C-Section

Let’s have a look at what you can expect with your Second C-Section

Will your c-section incision be in the same place?

If your last C-section incision was the ‘bikini cut’ or low horizontal cut, it is generally routine that the second C-Section incision will be directly over the previous incision.  It’s not likely that if your last C-Section was a vertical cut that you’ll have another vertical cut.  Most Vertical incisions are a result of emergency C-Sections, so unless there is another high risk emergency your next incision should be the a ‘bikini cut’.

Will recovery be easier the second time around?

Generally speaking ‘Yes’ a second C-section is easier. That’s mainly because having been through it once before you know what to expect and you’re just a lot more at ease.   Also the date and time when having a second C-section is usually pre-planned. You won’t be as nervous about contractions, or getting to the hospital at inconvenient times. Most planned C-Sections happen during the hours of 9-5 M-F.

What makes your second C-Section even easier is good home preparation.   If you have older children this can make your C-Section recovery at home difficult.  So plan for childcare if you can. It will not only help with your recovery but for bonding with baby as well.

Are there new risks with having a second c-section?

Having a C-Section is major abdominal surgery and with any surgery there are risks. Anesthesia risks, risk of infection, excessive bleeding, etc.  However with having a second C-Section the single biggest risk is scar tissue and adhesions.   Not all women experience complications with adhesions but it’s important to be aware of them.

Discuss this with your doctor before surgery about the ways to prevent C-Section adhesions including a product your doctor can use called Seprafilm.  Your doctor should be aware of this type of adhesion prevention, if not it may be something he should consider.

Will having another C-Section leave me with a bigger scar?

Generally not.  I’ve had two C-Sections with the incision in the exact same place and my scar is hardly visible today.  However there are things that can influence how well your scar heals.  For example incision infections can affect how well  you heal and how big your scar will be.

One thing that has helped women significantly with reducing the size of their scar is to use silicon.  The Silicon incision scar treatment has to date been the most effective treatment in reducing the look and size of incision scars.

How to prepare for your second C-Section

Start by preparing your home for you.  When having a baby we love to prepare our homes for our baby, but we forget that we need to prepare for ourselves as well.

It’s tough recovering from surgery and taking care of a new baby, so take care of yourself first and it will make taking care of your baby that much easier.

If your C-Section was unplanned that’s understandable, but if you know you will be having a second C-Section, give some thought to what you’ll need when you get home.

Get up and start walking as soon as it’s advised, which is about 12 hours from surgery.  Honestly, walking is the best medicine.  It’s tough at first, but you will notice that it is much easier to walk after  your second C-Sectino than it was after your first.

You’ll notice that a lot of  the anxieties you had the first time will be a lot less this time.

If you were in labor with your first C-Section, and you don’t experience labor with the second, that makes recovery easier as well.  No labor before surgery makes a big difference in your energy level when trying to recover.

A Few Second C-Section Issues

As before, stay on top of your medications.  There will be times you may not feel your pain medication is necessary, however you don’t want to get behind the pain curve.

Pain medication can cause constipation which is really uncomfortable when recovering after surgery, so ask your doctor for a stool softener before leaving the hospital.

One final note. If it’s been 8, 10 or 12 years since your last C-Section it may not seem easier, in fact it might seem more difficult.   One reason for this is that you’re older.  It’s like running a marathon.  The first time is hard but it gets easier. But if you wait 10 years to run the next marathon, it won’t be so easy at all.   Keep this in mind, know your limits and prepare adequately for them.

Focus on making things as easy as possible for yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Have you had more than one C-Section?  Was your second easier than the first?   Please share with us your experiences and how you prepared for your second C-Section.



Photo courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici &

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11 thoughts on “Second C-Section – What To Expect

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Peace, sometimes doing something strenuous or doing exercising can cause bleeding to start up again. As long as the bleeding is not excessive I wouldn’t be alarmed, but if it continues without letting up I’d check with your doctor.

  2. peace says:

    Had an unplanned 2nd CS 7weeks ago and im still bleeding. It stopped initially one month after the cs but later started again 8 days later. i thought it was my menstrual cycle that had resumed but i really dont know now because the bleeding is running into the 12th day now. i have also been doing someexercise just to keep fit and lose weight.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Generally, the second C-Section is much easier than the first. Since you are able to plan for your second C-Section there are some benefits.

    First of all get yourself an abdominal binder. This will give you more movement with less pain. I highly recommend the ‘Abdomend binder’ because it’s designed specifically for C-Section moms, and it’s much more comfortable than traditional binders. You can find out more here:

    Having an emergency C-Section can take a bigger toll on your body because a lot of your pain is a result of movement of organs and all the ‘handling’ that is done to deliver your baby. Having a scheduled C-Section means that things may not be so rushed, and that can help with your pain level. This is not always the case but often it is. If things go slower and gentler, you’re likely to have a little less pain. Your incision will be painful but that should subside within a day or two.

    Be sure also that your doctor gives you a good supply of pain meds to take home with you, and take them as directed, don’t get behind the pain curve if you can avoid it, otherwise it’s a lot harder to catch up once the pain gets out of control.

    Also, walk as much as possible.They will get you up in the hospital quickly but continue walking as often as you can. This will help with your pain and your energy levels.

    Is there anyone can can help you at home? I know this is not possible for many women but if you can find someone or plan to have someone come to your home even for a few hours a day, this can help tremendously. With two small children and a new baby you really need to look into that.

    Pre-plan as much of your day as possible. Before going to the hospital stock your refrigerator with food and preplanned meals. Have all the things you need to care for baby within reach. Think ahead as much as you can for how to make your daily tasks easier.

    I hope that helps,
    Elizabeth 🙂

  4. Crystal says:

    I am currently 34 weeks pregnant and expecting my 2nd Caesarian at approximately 39wks and 4 days. I am so nervous about this time around because my last Caesarian hurt so bad and for months after, literally!!! Then again, it was an emergency Caesarian. I’m just hoping this one will be a little easier. I have 2 other kids at home (6 and about to be 4 in a few weeks) and am the only one to take care of them and the new baby during the day, since my fiancé works. What should I be expecting?

  5. Mikki says:

    Thanks Elizabeth, yes just reaching the end of my first trimester. Also I went 2 weeks overdue with my son as I have long cycles, I don’t want to risk being induced with a baby that is likely to be bigger than my last especially if I have a small pelvis (which nobody has been able to tell mr but at a smear test I was told my uterus tilted the wrong way slightly). Here in the UK I’m facing a 2 hour lecture about my ‘choices’… Thanks for your advice!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mikki, I’m not that well versed about SPD. I understand that it shouldn’t cause problems during birth, they even say that it rarely requires having a C-Section, but couple that with a small pelvis and the heart rate situation, I can see how a C-Section was necessary.

    Are you pregnant again Mikki and thinking of a water birth? PTSD isn’t something you want to go through again and if it were me, I would not want to risk that again. A water birth does sound nice, but at what risk? Your reasons are very sound, you have to do what’s best for your physical as well as mental health. And keep in mind, how you feel, mentally, is how your baby will feel. Those traumas are felt by your baby too.

    My Best,
    Elizabeth 🙂

  7. Mikki says:

    Hi Elizabeth, well my son was born by emergency section after a painful long labour. He was back to back and 9lb3 and my labour was not fast enough. Both our heart rates dropped and my son passed meconium. I’m only 5’3 and I just don’t think I would have passed him. I also had SPD but don’t know if that means anything.

    I would love to have a beautiful calm water birth but I’m just not made that way. I got PTSD after the last birth and can’t risk it again. Do my reasons sound plausible? Thanks.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mikki,

    I don’t know UK hospital rules and law. I know there is a push today to encourage more VBAC’s and maybe they’re simply trying to convince you that a VBAC is a better way to go, which I also believe.

    Is there a reason why you prefer another C-Section?

  9. Mikki says:

    I’m asking for an elective second section and I’m 11 weeks, I’ve been told I have to attend a 2 hour meeting/lecture on vbac! Can UK hospitals refuse an elective even if the first was an emergency?

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Rachel, Still bleeding at 12 days isn’t that unusual. Your tubal shouldn’t have anything to do with that, bleeding could go on as long as 3 weeks or so. Just so long as you’re not bleeding a huge amount, you should be OK. It should start subsiding soon.

  11. rachel says:

    I seemed to recover from the pain of the incision more quickly this time, but don’t seem healed internally yet. I gave birth 12 days ago and am still bleeding; I wonder if that’s because I had a tubal ligation at the same time.

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