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Old 09-14-2012  
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Default Possible Cesarean Section Complications

A cesarean section birth is major surgery and comes with many possible complications. Around 1 in 4 women in the United States deliver via cesarean section and the procedure is relatively safe. Here’s a look at the most common cesarean section complications you should understand before your procedure.

Possible Cesarean Section Complications
  • Infection – An infection may occur at the incision site, in your uterus or in other organs like the bladder. If you have an infection at the incision site, it will not heal properly, discharge pus and you will have a high fever.
  • Hemorrhage and blood loss – You’ll always lose more blood during a C-section than you would with a vaginal delivery. It may cause anemia or even require a blood transfusion. 1 to 6 women out of every 100 needs a blood transfusion.
  • Organ injury – About 2% of women experience an injury to organs like the bladder or bowel.
  • Adhesion – Scar tissue from the incision may accumulate in the pelvic area and lead to pain or blockage. This complication, known as adhesion, can lead to placenta previa or placental abruption in future pregnancies.
  • Long hospital stay – You’ll stay in the hospital for 3-5 days after a C-section, assuming there are no complications. This compares to only 1-3 days for a vaginal birth.
  • Long recovery time – Cesarean section recovery is long and varies by woman. It may take 5 or 6 weeks or even months. This may have an impact on your bonding with your child as well. 1 in 14 women report having incision pain longer than 6 months post-surgery.
  • Medication reactions – You may have a reaction to the anesthesia or pain medication given to you during or after your C-section.
  • Additional surgery – A serious but rare complication of a C-section requires a hysterectomy. You may also require bladder or bowel repair if these organs sustained damage. Finally, you may need additional cesarean sections with future pregnancies.
  • Maternal mortality – While rare, the risk of maternal mortality is higher with a C-section than a vaginal birth.
  • Emotions – A number of women who had a C-section feel negatively about this delivery experience and some have trouble bonding with their child.
  • Premature birth – If the gestational age of your baby wasn’t calculated properly, your baby may be delivered via C-section too early and have a low birth weight.
  • Breathing issues – Babies delivered by C-section are more likely to have respiratory problems than babies born by vaginal birth. They’ll also need more care after the C-section.
  • Low APGAR score – Your baby may have a low APGAR score due to anesthesia, fetal distress or a lack of stimulation during the delivery that naturally occurs during vaginal birth. Your baby is 50% more likely to have a lower APGAR score.
  • Fetal injury – While it’s rare, some babies may be cut during the incision of a C-section. This occurs in 1-2% of babies born by cesarean section.
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