Cesarean delivery might look easy to others but that’s as far from reality as one can go. The misconceptions start with the pains. Where some think that a C-section delivery did not trigger labor pains, the truth is that the woman has to go through both labor pains and the surgery of her abdomen. Even if the pains are set aside there are more complications involved. There is more recovery time, more stress, and in some cases, risks in future pregnancies too.
Can You Lose Fertility Post C-Section?
Although medical science has been making progress by leaps and bounds, the answer to this is still somewhat unclear.
There are two extremes to look at, and surprisingly both are backed by studies. A study, published in 2014 showcases that the birth rates after C-section fall drastically. However, a 2020 study says that the fall in the rates is not that significant. It does admit that the rates do decrease, but does not give out a reason as to why. The 2020 study singled out uterine scarring as a possible causative.
The study was based on about 2,500 people. sixty-nine percent of the subjects got pregnant again within three years of cesarean delivery.
The difference between vaginal birth and C-section was not that big. Of those who gave vaginal births, 76% of those women conceived in the same time frame.
However, the researchers of the 2020 study admit there were other factors involved that could easily affect the results.
Although there is no concrete evidence that links C-section and infertility, there are certain speculations. The link between the C-sections and infertility could be because of the problem that lead to the C-section and not the C-section itself. Even if cesareans lead to reduced fertility, the reduction is not that high.
Waiting After A C-Section, Does It Help?
A gap and wait during pregnancies is always suggested, but how long should the wait be? It comes down to numerous factors like age, pregnancy risk, and previous delivery type.
A minimum six-month wait is the current suggestion for someone whose previous delivery was a C-section. Some health experts suggest waiting 12 to 15 months, while some suggest as long as 18 to 24 months.
The best answer to this would be with your doctor, as they will know your overall health, pregnancy, and fertility history, so can guide you better.
Pregnancy Risks After Caesarian Delivery
A C-section is major surgery on the abdominal wall, and even though it might heal on the surface in days, your body needs a lot of time to heal. If enough time is not allowed, the body could be at a higher risk for:
- Uterine rupture.
- Placenta accreta.
- Preterm birth.
However, if enough time is allowed, the healing could reduce the chances of these to a bare minimum.
Accidental or Necessary Pregnancy
Sometimes waiting out 24 long months may seem impossible. The risk of uterine rupture, placenta accreta, and preterm birth is always there, but their occurrence is not something set in stone. There are cases of perfectly healthy pregnancy, even after having a C-section.
A doctor’s advice can go a long way in keeping complications at bay.
Furthermore, if you’re older or have fertility problems, talk to your doctor about future pregnancies. The doctor will guide you better about your fertility timeline.
A few decades back, vaginal birth after cesarean was not possible. Doctors just didn’t know enough about the safety of it to recommend it.
Vaginal birth after cesarean is a huge topic now and doctors are not afraid of suggesting it. Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a doctor’s decision on a case by case basis. For some, it will be an impossible thing, while for others, it might be a safe and viable option. Some women have given vaginal birth even after having multiple C-sections.
If both the mother and child are safe and VBAC is possible, then the doctor will recommend it. It can help you recover faster and avoid infection.
That said, your ability to have a VBAC depends on your pregnancy and your C-section history. A side-to-side incision is relatively safer than a vertical one. The latter could become exposed and open during delivery.
Seeking Professional Advice
The help of a professional is of pivotal importance in pregnancy. It becomes even more important after a C-section. You should be visiting your doctor regularly, consult them during the 6-week postpartum check-up, and go for an annual gynecology exam too.
Try talking to the doctor about conceiving again during these visits. You can always schedule a separate appointment to talk about your fertility too.
Whenever you go for fertility or conceiving conversation, you should ask about
- How long you should wait until trying to conceive again.
- Do your age and fertility allow you to conceive, or you should wait the preferred 24 months before getting pregnant again?
- What will be the problems if you conceive sooner than expected.
- Will your next delivery be a VBAC, or do they think you should wait out more.
- Should you get pregnant again in the near future?
Your doctor will answer these questions with your information in mind. Your history of pregnancies, your C-section history, your age, and fertility conditions. In addition to these, you could ask them for the best protection if you do not plan on becoming pregnant again. Consulting the doctor for contraception is necessary because some contraceptions are not good for breastfeeding mothers.
Hopefully, a C-section will not be causing you many issues. If you wait your time out and take care of your condition with the advice of the doctor, no harm will come your way, and you could even qualify for vaginal birth after cesarean. Having pregnancies very close to each other and that too after a C-section is not safe.