A C-section is a major surgical procedure. There are no two ways about it. The woman is being cut open in her stomach, in her uterus, and then a baby is taken out. This is quite traumatic for both the mother and the baby. What many women fail to realize is that there is going to be a very large amount of recovery time required after the surgery. If they overdo it, they could experience a good deal of complications, including a hernia, popped staples in the scar, and other things. Treat it as though major back surgery was just performed, and that will make things a bit easier.
However, there are some things that happen to the body during the surgery that the woman just won’t recover from. Even if it is not something that happens all the time, or it is something that only happens to some women, or sometimes it just increases the chances of certain things happening, the woman needs to be aware of changes in her body. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s a good idea to call the doctor and have them checked out. Some women are embarrassed to call the doctor, especially if it has been a while since their c-section, but that is especially the time to call.
Lots of discomfort is normal immediately after the surgery, but if things persist for months after the fact, then the woman should probably get it checked out. It may be something that is normal, but even for peace of mind’s sake, a doctor should be contacted. Here are some things that a c-section may cause that cannot be fixed by waiting for recovery.
15 Shouldn’t Have VBAC
One thing that having a c-section does is make any future pregnancies slightly more complicated. For one thing, having a VBAC, or vaginal birth after c-section, is strongly recommended against by most doctors. There is a good chance that the uterine scar obtained from the c-section will rupture, and that is bad news for everybody.
However, that is not always going to be the case. While recommended against, it’s not a sure thing that the scar will rupture, so there are still some doctors who will allow a VBAC. One of the biggest reasons they would say not to take the chance is the fact that they are afraid of lawsuits, so if the mother is on board with it, it may lessen the doctor’s fears. However, many women opt for a repeat c-section because they are afraid of that possibility, and they also already know what to expect.
14 Increases Likelihood Of UTI
Something that a lot of women don’t seem to realize is that having a c-section is a major surgical procedure. During this, they often insert a catheter because the woman is being treated with anesthesia. Due to the irritation of a catheter, UTI’s often stem from this. An epidural is often a big factor in developing a UTI as well.
It’s very common for women who have just given birth to develop a UTI, whether they did it vaginally or surgically. There is a lot of stress going on in the general area of the woman, and her body certainly recognizes that. Therefore, difficulty going to the bathroom, and minor infections are always a risk. However, with the c-section a catheter is often inserted, and that greatly increases the chances of UTI. The reason for that is fairly simple, the extra stress on the urinary tract can cause bacteria to grow. The epidural is a bit of a mystery, however.
13 Increased Chance Of Hernia
Since a c-section is a major surgical procedure, after the surgery, it is important that the woman takes it easy. A lot of times, women are surprised as to how long they are supposed to rest after a c-section. Many women don't take this advice and find themselves walking around and doing things around the house long before they really should be. This is one factor that often increases the chances of her developing a hernia.
However, just after the surgery is not the only time that a woman can develop an incisional hernia. There have been cases of women developing them months, or even years after the delivery. This is due to the fact that so much force is put on the area, and therefore it makes it easier for the tissue to pop out. The skin in the stomach area is often loose, so it’s sometimes difficult to see a hernia if one does happen.
12 Scar Tissue
Somebody is slicing into the abdomen, and into the uterus. In addition to the physical trauma of actually giving birth to a human being, the skin is also greatly affected. There is a very large scar, and although it will absolutely lessen in severity over time, that scar tissue is something that will be there for the rest of the woman’s life.
Many women are incredibly self-conscious about the scar on the belly, but, honestly, they needn't be. Although it is not a natural birth, which bothers some women greatly, it is still a sign of the fact that she carried life inside of her womb. Where there was once nothing, there was suddenly a life growing, a life that she created with somebody she (hopefully) loved. Some women have called a c-section scar their mommy battle scar, and that seems to be the healthiest way to look at it for sure.
11 Skin Deformations
Although there is no solid, sound, concrete evidence that the two are related, anecdotally, the connection is not something to be ignored. A lot of cases of adenomyosis occur after the woman has had a c section. Adenomyosis is when the skin that is usually lining the uterus grows into the actual musculature of the uterus. The chances of disease greatly decrease after menopause occurs, so it's not beyond reason to assume it's hormonal.
Symptoms are heavy menstrual bleeding, painful intercourse, and extreme cramping during a woman's period. If a woman gets the condition shortly after her delivery, some of those symptoms can go unchecked. Increased blood flow and abdominal cramps are normal after delivering a baby, and sex is generally the last thing on a new mother's mind, so sometimes the condition is allowed to fester for a bit. However, as the symptoms do not lessen as time goes on, that is when women usually call the doctor to get a diagnosis.
10 Risk Of Adhesion Increases
Adhesions are normal after a surgical procedure. That is the name of the scar tissue that holds the skin together after an incision has been made. However, with each c-section that is performed, the risk of having troublesome adhesions goes up. It’s possible that adhesions form inside of the body, oftentimes in the pelvic area. Sometimes, adhesions can be quite painful, and they are unfortunately often overlooked. Generally, the symptoms of post c-section adhesions are a deep, unexplainable abdominal pain, a bloated abdomen, or difficulty standing upright.
Many doctors don’t even mention the potential for adhesions in the pelvis to their patients. They do, however, say that there is a good deal of abdominal pain associated with a c-section, so many women don’t do anything about their pain for some time. This pain can persist for years after a c-section, however, which causes many women a great deal of physical pain and emotional stress.
9 Potential For Serious Nerve Injury
Nerve damage is a risk run with anybody who has a surgical procedure done to them. Unfortunately, any sort of serious nerve damage is not fixable, and therefore people that have experienced nerve damage after surgery generally just need to get used to the numbness. Many women who had c-sections reported that they are numb from their belly button to the top of their scar. Although some report some improvement as time goes on, many find that it is something they just need to get used to.
However, what many women find frustrating is that it is not always numbness that they need to worry about. Some women find that instead of numbness, they experience a good deal of persistent pain. Again, nerve damage is typically unfixable, so it’s something people just need to learn to live with. There are some surgeries that can try to alleviate some pressure on nerves, but with that comes the risk of further nerve damage, as well as the whole ordeal of needing surgery.
8 Pain In And Around The Scar
This is another thing that many women are unaware of the potential for before they go under the knife. After everything is all healed up, and the baby is happily making his/her way around, the mother finds that her scar still bothers her quite a bit. This can sometimes mean infection, or it can sometimes mean adhesion. In any case, having a scar that hurts most of the time is not ideal for anybody.
It’s possible that the woman will have a difficult time bending over, or maybe she will find it difficult to reach over her head. This is often due to the fact that the scar isn’t quite as elastic as the regular skin, so it sort of limits mobility. Some women will find that the scar actually changes their posture as well, as the abdomen isn’t as mobile as it once was and carrying the child weakened her lower back muscles.
7 Possible Surgical Injury
Another thing that may happen when a c-section is performed is that the woman may experience a surgical injury. Although the chances of this are small, if it does occur, the consequences are dire. What a surgical injury is, is exactly what it sounds like. Oftentimes, in the case of a c-section, it means that the bladder is nicked slightly, or sometimes, in extremely rare, yet terrible cases, the baby itself can get nicked. Most of the time the doctors know how to avoid these situations, but sometimes things just go wrong.
If the bladder is nicked during the operation then the woman then has to deal with that, in addition to recovering from the c-section. What this means for her is that she will need to use a catheter for usually a couple of weeks while the bladder heals itself. This then increases the likelihood of developing a UTI, which then will require antibiotics. It is something that certainly is avoided in ideal circumstances.
6 Stomach Never Looks The Same
Let’s take a break from the horrible things that can physically happen to a woman after a c-section. This one is just a vanity effect, so it should be easier to swallow for most people. After any pregnancy, the stomach generally is going to look different. That’s just how it is. The skin is stretched to pretty extreme states, and then, almost instantly, in the grand scheme of things, goes back down when the uterus shrinks.
Therefore, the skin often appears dimpled and loose, and almost baggy. Exercise and diet can help with the fat content and the abdominal muscles, but there is very little that can be done for the stretched out skin. In addition to the skin, post c-section mothers have their scar to worry about as well, so that makes many women uncomfortable with the appearance of her tummy. As we talked about earlier, however, the best way to look at the scar is as a mommy battle wound. You go, Mom!
5 Increased Chance Of Hysterectomy
Alright, we’re off the vanity ones and back to the terrifying ones. Hooray! One possible complication of a c-section is the increased chance of a hysterectomy. Again, this is not something that has been scientifically proven, but there are a tremendous amount of cases where a woman has a c-section, or multiple c-sections, and then needs a hysterectomy at a pretty young age.
This is often due to infection during the c-section. If the uterus becomes so infected that it is beyond help, then that is when a hysterectomy is necessary. It's also possible that a hysterectomy is done because the uterus is bleeding too profusely. Sometimes the doctor is so concerned with the amount of blood that he/she will actually take out the uterus right there, right after the baby is delivered. This is troublesome for many women because they wanted to have other kids, but, obviously, a hysterectomy marks the end of her childbearing years.
4 Back Ache
Another thing that women often have to deal with after a c-section is a back ache. We covered this slightly when discussing scar tissue, but we can delve a bit further into it now. As we mentioned earlier, often times the scar itself causes a back ache. Even though it is on the front of the body, it limits mobility, which, in any case, limited mobility means something is going to ache. In addition to the weak back muscles, the back will often be the first thing to really start aching on a woman.
Another reason for a back ache after a c-section is the use of the epidural. Oftentimes it is injected into the spine, which, for some women, can cause some serious issues. There was one case where the needle actually tore a woman’s lumbar, and that is not something that can easily be fixed. She now just needs to live with what is essentially a ruptured disc, even though she never actually injured herself.
3 Limit To Two C-Sections
Although this isn’t a steadfast rule, many doctors will recommend against having children after the second c-section. This is often due to the fact that the chance of a ruptured scar goes up each time, as well as the risk of troublesome adhesions. There is also a great deal of evidence that suggests c-sections aren’t the best thing for the development of the baby, so it’s best to limit them for that reason as well.
In addition to the reasons stated above, doctors are also concerned about the fact that each Caesarean is a major surgical procedure. They do not want to keep cutting into the same spot every few years, simply because the woman wants to be the next John and Kate Plus 8. Oftentimes doctors will make the new incision right over the old one, which is something that is not always a good idea, but many women don’t want their stomach to be scarred up all over the place.
2 Pinching And Pulling
One thing that many women report for years after a c-section is the sensation of pinching or pulling or both. This is often due to the scar tissue being less flexible than the regular skin, but it can also mean some other, more serious things. What happens to many women is the scar tissue binds to something it shouldn’t have, which is often the case with troublesome adhesions. This can cause certain movements to create a pulling sensation.
Many women are quite alarmed at first, but after some time, they get used to it. It's certainly something to be brought up to the doctor, in the case of an improper adhesion or maybe even an infection can cause these feeling as well, but generally, it's nothing to be concerned about. Like the nerve damage, the inflexibility is something that women will just need to get used to, no matter how strange of a sensation it is at first.
1 Painful Full Bladder
Many women who have had a c-section report that their bladder hurts them in different situations, but oftentimes when it is full. If a woman is experiencing this, then the first thing she should do is get checked for a UTI. If that test comes back negative, then is the time to investigate other possibilities.
One thing that could cause this discomfort is the fact that the bladder actually gets moved around during the surgery. The baby/uterus takes up a lot of space, and then when the baby is being removed, some of the organs get moved a bit. The bladder is certainly one of those organs. It's also a possibility that a catheter insert irritated the bladder. Many women find that even for years afterward, they have the symptoms of a UTI, but when they go to the doctor the test comes back negative. Again, a c-section is a major procedure, it's going to have its effects.
Sources: BabyCenter.com, HealthLine.com, MayoClinic.org, PelvicPainRehab.com, WhatToExpect.com