What are the risks of C-section?
Most mothers and
babies do well after C-section. But it is major surgery, so it carries more
risk than a normal vaginal delivery. Some possible risks of C-section
- Infection of the incision or the uterus.
- Heavy blood loss.
- Blood clots in the mother's
legs or lungs.
- Injury to the mother or baby.
- Problems from the
anesthesia, such as nausea, vomiting, and severe headache.
- Breathing problems in the baby if it was delivered before its due date.
If she gets pregnant again, a woman with a C-section scar
has a small risk of the scar tearing open during labor (uterine rupture). She
also has a slightly higher risk of a problem with the
placenta, such as
How is a C-section done?
Before a C-section, a
needle called an
IV is put in one of the mother's veins to give fluids
and medicine (if needed) during the surgery. She will then get medicine (either
spinal anesthesia) to numb her belly and legs.
general anesthesia, which makes the mother sleep
during the surgery, is only used in an emergency.
anesthesia is working, the doctor makes the incision. Usually it is made low
across the belly, just above the pubic hair line. This may be called a "bikini
cut." Sometimes the incision is made from the navel down to the pubic area. See
a picture of
C-section incisions. After lifting the baby out, the doctor removes the placenta
and closes the incision with stitches.
How long does it take to recover from a C-section?
Most women go home 3 to 5 days after a C-section, but it may take 4 weeks
or longer to fully recover. By contrast, women who deliver vaginally usually go
home in a day or two and are back to their normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks.
Before you go home, a nurse will tell you how to care for the
incision, what to expect during recovery, and when to call the doctor. In
general, if you have a C-section:
- You will need to take it easy while the
incision heals. Avoid heavy lifting, intense exercise, and sit-ups. Ask family
members or friends for help with housework, cooking, and shopping.
You will have pain in your lower belly and may need pain medicine for 1 to 2
- You can expect some vaginal bleeding for several weeks.
(Use sanitary pads, not tampons.)