How Long Should You Wait to Get Pregnant After a Caesarean Delivery?

How Long Should You Wait to Get Pregnant After a Caesarean Delivery?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Prerna More Patel (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Giving birth to a baby is a beautiful experience, albeit harrowing for some women. As much as you might want to have a natural delivery, the thought of  the pain and other complications might drive you towards having a caesarean delivery instead. Apart from by choice, certain complications (such as the baby being in the breech position) may lead to your doctor advising you to undergo a C-section. As a C-section is a major surgical procedure, it comes with its own set of risks and dangers, and you will need to consider these to conceive your next child safely. This article will help you understand the complications of C-sections that might influence future pregnancies, and how to deal with them.

Video : Pregnancy After C-Section – Risks and How Long to Wait?

What Is a Caesarean Section (C-section) ?

A caesarean section is an invasive surgical procedure employed to deliver the baby from the abdominal region rather than from the vagina. In this procedure, the surgeon  makes an incision on the woman’s abdomen. Once the uterus is visible, a small cut is made, and the baby is pulled out. Due to the location of the incision, it is also known as a bikini cut. Just like any other serious operation, a C-section can also lead to internal bleeding, pain, and scars. You may feel fatigued and have fever post the surgery.

What Should Be the Ideal Time Gap Between Two Pregnancies?

Conceiving after a C-section requires an ample amount of time, especially if you plan to give birth vaginally, known as ‘Vaginal Birth After C-section’ or VBAC. Normally, doctors  recommend waiting for a period of one to three years after a caesarean operation before trying to get pregnant again, with the average wait time being eighteen months. The recommended time gap should be longer if you had faced complications during your previous pregnancy, labour, or delivery. This period is essential for you to give your body ample time to heal from any tears, bleeding, or injuries that you might have obtained during your C-section. The more you wait, the better the chances of having a healthy second pregnancy. Even if you have no intentions of attempting a VBAC, it is crucial to allow your body to recover completely before planning for a second pregnancy after a C-section.

Why Is a Time Gap Required?

There are many reasons why you should wait for a couple of years before trying for another child. A few of these reasons are stated below :

1. To AllowYour Body to Heal Completely

Your body might take a significant amount of time to heal completely after a caesarean section. A major complication is the considerable loss of blood post surgery. This substantial bleeding might lead to anaemia, which can affect your health and impact your future deliveries too.

2. To Lower Health Complications

In addition to anaemia, multiple health problems such as uterine and placental tearing, having a premature delivery or  giving birth to a baby with low birth weight are commonly observed in women who conceive immediately after having a C-section.

3. To Prepare Well for theConception of Your Next Child

Waiting to have your next child will give you enough time to prepare properly. In this time, you can do your research, meet with doctors, read books on pregnancy, and do  everything you can to plan better for your next child. You should also take care of your mental and physical health during this time.

4. To Overcome Depression

You may feel depressed and weak post your C-section delivery. This may affect your next pregnancy if you decide to conceive immediately after. Taking a break before your next pregnancy will allow you enough time to work on your mental health.

Risks Associated With Getting Pregnant After a C-section

Studies have shown that getting pregnant within 18 months of undergoing a C-section   can make you susceptible to the following risks:

1. Uterine Tearing

Having a VBAC before the stipulated time gap can put you at the risk of a ruptured uterus. This is because the uterus requires a considerable amount of time to heal from the C-section.

2. Placental Abruption

This condition occurs when the placenta tears off from the uterine wall, leading to severe internal bleeding.

3. Preterm Labour

It’s possible for women to have a VBAC after a C-section; however, if this occurs within 18 months of a caesarean delivery, they could go into premature labour around the 37th week of pregnancy.

4. Placenta Praevia

In this condition, the  placenta sticks to the lower uterine wall, blocking the cervix and hindering labour.

What If You Get Pregnant Soon After a C- section?

In spite of the risks involved, getting pregnant soon after a C-section  should not be a  cause of concern. Most women go through their second pregnancy by following a set of rules that help them avoid any risks. Women over thirty years of age can try to get pregnant even sooner as fertility levels begin to taper off around this age, making it harder to conceive. However, ensure that you consult a doctor before  making any decision.

Pregnancy after c section

How to Increase Your Chances of Pregnancy

You may have various  reasons for wanting to get pregnant soon after a C-section. However, you should check with your doctor first to make sure you are healthy and ready for another pregnancy  as you might need additional nutritional and hormonal support to improve your chances of conceiving. Here are some tips that you can try at home to have a successful second pregnancy.

How to Increase Your Chances of Second Pregnancy

1. Increase Your Vitamin Intake:

Increase your vitamin intake post delivery, as a C-section may drain the nutrients out of your blood. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements such as folic acid, Vitamin B-complex, calcium and iron should help you get back on track again.

2. Analyse Your Cycle:

Your menstrual cycle will take a while to return to its regular schedule post delivery. This happens due to the flux of pregnancy hormones in your bloodstream. If you want to get pregnant soon, make sure you monitor your cycle very carefully to know the exact period of ovulation.

3. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle:

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will keep you in the best shape for enduring a pregnancy right after a C-section.  Do not consume alcohol and tobacco; stick to a balanced diet, and meditate to lower stress levels.

4. Try to Relax After Having Sex:

Conception does not always depend on sex positions; you need to relax too. There will be a higher chance of conception if you take a breather after sex. Lie down on your back for about half an hour, giving the sperm ample time to enter the uterus.

Can You Have a Vaginal Delivery After a C-section?

In the past, many women have opted for  multiple caesarean sections as they were considered the safest alternatives. However, these days, women are more inclined to having a VBAC as they are just as safe. Also, giving birth vaginally helps you heal much faster as compared to having a C-section. But there are several aspects that should be considered before you opt for a vaginal birth:

  • Medical history and previous complications
  • Possibility of uterine rupture
  • Reason(s) behind the initial caesarean section
  • The type of cut made in the abdomen and uterine wall
  • The rate at which your wounds heal

Things to Remember

Pregnancy can be a very difficult time for some women but you need not stress yourself out. Here are some tips that will help you stay healthy throughout the nine months of your pregnancy:

  • Remain stress-free; practise meditation and breathing techniques, and give as much importance to your mental health as you’d give your physical health.
  • Eat nutritious food. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Reduce your workload. Do not lift heavy objects and avoid taking up tiring
  • Lastly, don’t forget your medical appointments, especially in the third trimester.

The complications mentioned above may scare you, but it is important that you’re aware of them before you plan for another pregnancy.  And if you think you are ready to have another child, the best thing to do would be to consult your doctor at the earliest.

Also Read: What to Expect during Second Pregnancy

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