Question: When is it safe to get pregnant after a c section? What are the risks involved in getting pregnant right after a c-section?
The stress of pregnancy can negatively affect women, and soon after delivery, it’s natural that a lot of women will need considerable time to rest before getting pregnant again.
While this may be true for some women, it may not always be the case; Some women will want a speedy return to pregnancy life.
Worst still, if you’ve had a c section, it becomes risky for you to get pregnant right after your surgery as it may put you at risk.
One common reason for women trying to conceive quickly after c section is advancing age. As you grow older, your body changes, and there is an increased risk that after 35 years you could have a miscarriage. Also, there are other risks to the baby like genetic abnormalities and premature birth.
Another reason you could be tempted to get pregnant right after surgical delivery is child spacing. Some women are under pressure from their husbands to quickly get pregnant again.
Its recommended that women have an adequate spacing of their pregnancies to enable their body systems completely recover from the nine-stressful-months of carrying a baby.
In fact, women that get pregnant so quick after c section are at risk of preterm delivery, early miscarriage, smaller than normal babies, and rupture of the uterus.
This article explains when its safe to get pregnant after c section, and how long you have to wait after a c-section to get pregnant again.
When is it safe to get pregnant after a c section
After a c section, your body needs a lot of time to heal, and it’s crucial that you allow this process to occur. In fact, it is recommended that after your surgery, you should wait at least 18 months before trying to conceive again.
Here are the reasons doctors always advice against early conception after c-section
1. To allow time for your body to heal
Whether you’ve delivered vaginally or through a caesarian section, it’s essential that you have a lot of rest for the recovery process to take place. This becomes necessary because, during vaginal delivery, your body loses so much blood and nutrients.
On the other hand, If you’ve had a c-section, it means that you are more likely to lose much more blood. This means you should be patient with yourself for healing to take place.
2. Preventing dangerous complication during childbirth
There are a lot of risks involved if you get pregnant quickly against your doctor’s recommendation. One serious complication of early conception after c-section is a uterine rupture.
Uterine rupture means your womb “breaks open” during contraction and causes unbearable pain in your abdomen. It is a life-threatening condition, and in fact, it could put you and your baby’s health at risk.
The main reason you may experience rupture after c-section is that your scared uterus (from previous surgery) is not allowed to heal completely. This means, if you have a contraction during labor, it could rupture.
3. Premature babies
Another reason to worry is premature babies with lower than normal birth weight. Many studies reveal that if you do not wait for the recommended time (18 – 23 Months), there is an increased risk you could have a premature baby.
Pregnancy after c-section; Here are symptoms to watch out for
Though it is recommended that you wait for the recommended 2 years before getting pregnant again, it’s possible that you may have mistakenly conceived too soon after a c-section.
The truth is, there is not always a risk in every woman and pregnancy, and its possible that you will not have any of the above “scary complications“.
However, it is essential you see your OB/GYN doctor quickly and inform him/her of your pregnancy.
If you are unsure if you are pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test immediately. Some other pregnancy symptoms that you may experience are
1. Breast pain with low milk supply
After your surgery, if you are breastfeeding naturally without any bottle feeding, the process of ovulation will be put on hold. This means, your period disappears, and you are unlikely to get pregnant.
Should you get pregnant after breastfeeding, you will feel painful breasts that happens because estrogen and progesterone levels are elevated. And also, you will notice decreasing levels of breast milk and body fatigue.
2. Your period disappears after appearing
Menstrual period after c-section usually returns after exclusive breastfeeding. However, if your period disappears again and you feel nauseous, it could be an early pregnancy sign.
Having said that, the months right after a c-section is challenging. Your body tries to balance your hormones, and you are also losing the extra weight gained during pregnancy. These factors, including stress, can delay your period and cause you to panic unnecessarily.
The only way to confirm if you are pregnant is a pregnancy test. So, take one.
Ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant after surgery?
After waiting for the recommended 18 – 23 months after your surgery, it’s important to understand your menstrual cycle again, and then, know when you are fertile or not.
Here are some ways to quickly help you conceive after a c-section
Learn your menstrual cycle and fertile period
After vaginal delivery or a c-section, your body will need time to adapt, and it is possible that your menstrual cycle will be irregular for the next few months.
It’s important you use a reliable contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy right after your surgery. After some months, your period will begin to normalize again, and you can start to calculate your fertile time.
To conceive quickly, you have to track your fertile period, and then, have regular intercourse. Calculating your fertile period can be difficult for some women, this guide explains more.
Since your body needs time to heal, you need to ensure you take a healthy diet to make this possible. Taking proper nutrition and avoiding very stressful conditions will help you quickly recover and get back in shape in no time.
See your doctor
If you’ve decided to get pregnant, and yet it’s still difficult after trying all natural method, you can see your doctor for clinical review and examination.
Vaginal delivery after c-section, is it possible?
One of the main reason you should adhere to your doctor’s instructions and wait for the recommended 18 months is a possible chance of having a vaginal delivery after your surgery.
In fact, vaginal birth is contraindicated if you got pregnant too soon after your surgery.
However, if you’ve waited for the 1 – 2 years before getting pregnant again, it’s possible that you can try a vaginal delivery (though in some centers, it’s still not recommended).
Having said that, the rate of vaginal delivery after c-section is favorable. More than 60 – 80 percent of women who try a vaginal birth after c-section will be successful without complications.
Here are some factors that increase your chances of a successful vaginal delivery
Lower segment uterine incision
The technique used by your doctor during your surgery will determine if it’s appropriate for you to have a vaginal delivery after c-section.
A lower segment incision heals faster and prevents uterine rupture. However, if the incision is made high up in the uterus, vaginal delivery is not recommended.
Previous history of a myomectomy
Myomectomy means a major surgical operation used to remove a fibroid. If you carried out this type of surgery after your last c-section, vaginal delivery is not recommended.
If the reason for your previous c-section is not “uterine rupture”, you can still try a vaginal birth.