On 13th march of 2012, an Australian study found that repeated C sections produced healthier babies and moms compared to vaginal birth method after an earlier C section, also referred to VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian section).
Women who preferred C section for all their deliveries in this study were found to suffer from lower bleeding level compared to women who prefer normal birth after they have had a C section. However, one should realize that besides all these benefits, there are also a lot of risks associated with repeated C section.
How Many C Sections Can You Have?
Much has been said about the number of C sections one should have. However, there is no conclusive research to determine the safest number of times. Women are advised to have at most 3 C-sections with every one of them being more complicated than the previous one.
Some women experience slightly increased risk of heavy bleeding or infection in every C section they go through. If you suffered from a difficult and long labor before the first C section, you may find the subsequent C sections less problematic. The healing process takes almost the same time but may take longer in case of complications.
In some women, especially those with serious internal uterus scarring and adhesions, the risk increases with every C section they have.
Benefits of Repeating a C Section
Unlike vaginal birth, having a C section comes with various benefits. These include:
1. Early Planning
The time and date of your C sections can be planned well in advance. When your birth time is planned, you are able to fix it in your schedule and that of others. This also allows you to notify your friends and family of the time you expect to deliver your bundle of joy.
2. Family Planning Methods
If you want to avoid future pregnancies, you can arrange with your caregiver to have a tubal ligation procedure done during your C section. You should consult with your care provider concerning tubal ligation before undergoing the procedure.
3. The Baby’s Health
Cases of stillbirths are common in late pregnancies. With a planned C section, your child runs a lower risk of this happening.
4. Reduction of Uterine Rupture Risks
Having repeated C sections reduces the risk of uterus rupture. This is a life threatening condition to the unborn baby. It is extremely rare with repeated C section and is also uncommon in VBAC.
5. Easier Time During Birth
With continuous C sections, you avoid the stress and pain that comes with VBAC. This is caused by the contractions and birth of the baby. Even so, you will still have a sour or even painful wound after the C section.
Risks of Repeating a C Section
1. Weakening of the Uterine Wall
Each incision leaves your uterine wall with a weak spot. This can make it hard for your uterus to hold a pregnancy to term in the future.
2. Placenta Problems
If you have too many C sections, you run the risk of developing issues with the implantation of the placenta. The placenta may implant too deep into the uterine wall or may completely or partially cover the cervix opening.
3. Injuries to the Bladder
Injuries to the bladder are possible but quite uncommon especially with the first C section. However, the risk increases with every repeat C section. This is caused by the development of scar tissue from the previous C sections. This scaring binds the bladder to the uterus.
6. Heavy Bleeding
This can happen after any C section, whether it is the first or a subsequent one. The risk increases after every repeated C section. This also comes with an increased risk of having the uterus removed (hysterectomy) as a measure of controlling life threatening bleeding.
These are scar-like tissues that that develop during the healing process. They can cause sticking together of the pelvic organs, or even cause the pelvic organs to stick to the uterine wall. This can cause pain. The risk of having adhesions is at a 50% rate on women who undergo C sections for the first time. The risk increases to 75% and 83% after the 2nd and 3rd time respectively.
8. Scar Tissue Buildup
This happens after each C section. If you have a lot of scar tissue build up, you may take longer in the operating room since it takes longer for your surgeon to make an incision on your skin. Though uncommon, there are cases of accidental cuts on the bowel or bladder.
9. Breathing Complications in the Baby
These are very common for babies delivered through C section. This is especially so if the C section is done before the completion of the completion of 39 gestation weeks. The baby may require special care. The risks of baby breathing complications increase with repeated C sections.
10. Leg Blood Clots
Some mothers can find it hard to walk after the C section. This can cause blood clots in the legs. Mothers with this condition may also experience prolonged and more severe bleeding from the point of incision. They also run the risk of contracting infections. This can also indicate an injury to your bladder or bowel after the procedure.
The idea of delivering a baby through C sections appeals to many women. However, choosing to go through more than 3 C-sections is a surgical choice that has to be weighed carefully. This is a factor that has to be weighed against the desire to have more children than three.