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Your Second C-Section - What to Expect the Next Time

second c-section child birth and expectations

It's your second c-section - what to expect when you are expecting to do it again. The second cesarean c-section doesn't have to be nerve-wracking.


Women wonder if their bodies can take the cesarean section surgery again and whether their babies will be safe. And having a c-section the first time does not always mean you need one again. Find out more having a baby after your first was delivered by c-section.

The Difference Between Planned and Unplanned C-Sections

My first c-section was done after hours of intense labor. I was exhausted and the c-section was an emergency procedure. The second time around, my c-section was planned. However, I wound up going into labor early. This meant rushing to the gynecologist's office for a fast checkup and heading to the hospital right away. Though the second one was also unexpected, I was better prepared and had time to make some preparations. Plus, I was familiar with the surgery and felt less anxious. With your second c-section what to expect in the hospital is a breeze. But the aftermath is what might surprise you.

Less Help and More Work

A second c-section often means you already have a child at home. Having your first baby is a time of wonder for everyone. Most of the people in your life are eager to help out and be part of the experience. The novelty wears off the second time around. Child care must be provided for your little one while you are in the hospital getting a c-section. You have another child to take care of when you get home. And you will be tired when you get home with your new baby. Unlike the first time around, you will have more work and fewer resources. Plan ahead and consider hiring a nurse or nanny to help out.

What is Vaginal Birth After C-Section (VBAC)?

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Having one c-section does not necessarily mean you need to do it twice. A growing number of women are opting for a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC). Discuss the risks and advantages with your doctor to make an educated choice. Be aware the recovery is different after a VBAC than a c-section. If something risky occurs, your recovery time could be longer than the time it takes to recover from a c-section. Live Science reports that of the babies born by a planned repeat c-section, 0.9 percent died or experienced complications. And 2.4 percent of the babies born by a planned VBAC after a c-section died or had serious complications. Plus women may face an increased risk of uterine rupture. There are many variables to consider. But many women find a VBAC is worth the risk.

Your Second C-Section What to Expect Each Time

Most women have a successful second c-section. However, the number of c-sections you can have is determined by your health care team. The circumstances of your past deliveries and current health play major roles. Plus, a c-section is major surgery. You will need time to recover after surgery. Your body should be ready to endure the rigors of surgery. Discuss adhesions and scars that could cause problems prior to getting pregnant. Know what to expect to take proper care of yourself and your baby.

Time Matters

Most women find it helpful to wait at least two years before having a second c-section. The good news is up to 80 percent of women find a c-section is easier the second time around. Mothers know what to expect, plan ahead, and take care of themselves for the best possible experience. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising help. But there are always exceptions. Women with severe scarring or health issues might find a c-section more difficult the second time around.

My Experiences the Second Time Around

With the second c-section, what to expect was unique for me. I changed doctors and hospitals because of a botched surgery the first time around. My mother was my coach rather than a doula or my husband. Her presence was incredibly comforting. I had an attentive doctor and went to a comfortable hospital. As a result, it felt like I gave birth at a resort. Even the food was delicious! But a successful experience made me over-confident. Less than two weeks after surgery, I tried to lift my son and go grocery shopping alone. This was against the advice of my doctor and family. I paid the price. My stitches opened and I had to spend time in bed. I learned no matter how good it goes, you need to slow down and take care of yourself.

Always have respect for your body and give it time to heal, even when you have a great experience the second time around. A second c-section can be a golden opportunity to grow your family and give your first child a new brother or sister. Many moms find these blessings are well worth the risks!