is considered relatively safe. It does, however, pose a higher risk of some complications than does a vaginal delivery. If you have a cesarean section, expect a longer recovery time than you would have after a vaginal delivery.
After cesarean section, the most common complications for the mother are:
- Heavy blood loss.
- Nausea, vomiting, and severe headache after the delivery (related to anesthesia and the abdominal procedure).
- Maternal death (very rare). The risk of death for women who have a planned cesarean delivery is very low (about 6 in 100,000). For emergency cesarean deliveries, the rate is higher, though still very rare (about 18 in 100,000).1
Cesarean risks for the infant include:
- Injury during the delivery.
- Need for special care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).4
- Lung immaturity, if the due date has been miscalculated or the infant is delivered before .4
While most women recover from both cesarean and vaginal births without complications, it takes more time and special care to heal from cesarean section, which is a major surgery. Women who have a cesarean section without complications spend about 3 days in the hospital, compared with about 2 days for women who deliver vaginally. Full recovery after a cesarean delivery takes 4 to 6 weeks; full recovery after a vaginal delivery takes about 1 to 2 weeks.
Long-term risks of cesarean section
Women who have a uterine cesarean scar have slightly increased long-term risks. These risks, which increase further with each additional cesarean delivery, include:2
- Breaking open of the incision scar during alater pregnancy or labor (uterine rupture). For more information, see the topicVaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
- , the growth of the placenta low in theuterus, blocking the cervix.
- ,, (least to most severe), the growthof the placenta deeper into the uterine wall than normal, which can lead tosevere bleeding after childbirth, sometimes requiring a.