Are you wondering if recovery changes after multiple c-sections? I’ve had four c-sections, and I asked the same thing when I faced my third and fourth c-sections. Would they be any different than my first and second c-sections?
Most people have one or two c-sections. You can find information about third c-sections, but any information about having four or more c-sections is limited. Many doctors limit how many c-sections their patients have, or women stop having babies after two or three.
So, if you’re like me and want multiple c-sections, you might have concerns about recovery. I’m here to share all of my information about my recoveries and if there were any notable differences that you might want to remember.
Most Multiple C-Sections Are Not VBAC Attempts
Before we look at recovery changes, it’s important to note that moms with multiple c-sections typically aren’t recovering from a VBAC attempt. When I had a failed VBAC, my recovery was entirely different and challenging, as I recovered from the effects of 24-hour labor along with severe surgery.
Right now, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that doctors do not encourage women to try for a vaginal birth if they’ve had more than three c-sections. Attempting a VBAC after so many c-sections increases the risk of uterine rupture, or so researchers believe.
Whether or not that is accurate, due to their recommendation, most doctors will not offer a VBA3C. So, I assume throughout the article that you had a standard repeat c-section rather than an attempted vaginal birth, which does change recovery.
Surgery Changes After Multiple C-Sections
Are you wondering if the operation will change if you have multiple c-sections? Here is the insider scoop.
You Might Need a Different Doctor
Once you have had three c-sections, there is a chance you will need to change doctors if you have a fourth. Each doctor has a limitation on what number of c-sections they feel comfortable performing. Be sure to discuss with your OBGYN ahead of time to know their policies.
Don’t worry; you can still find a doctor!
Instead, your doctor will send you to a high-risk maternal-fetal doctor. These doctors specialize in high-risk surgeries. One such doctor local to me performed the 8th c-section on a close friend of mine!
Looking for a high-risk doctor is wise. They understand these surgeries’ risks and how to be prepared for them.
You Understand The Surgery
One of the significant changes is knowing what to expect when you enter the operating room. C-sections are standard surgeries for OBGYNs and follow the same procedure each time. So, if you’ve had more than two, you should know the run down.
That makes it easier for you and decreases your nerves. Sure, you are still a bit nervous because you’re having surgery! However, being aware of what is happening does decrease your nervousness. That will reduce your chances of needing any anxiety medication during the surgery.
Surgery Might Take Longer
Believe it or not, the operation can take longer as you have more. That’s because the scar tissue is thicker and might be more challenging to cut through.
Also, we know that risks increase with each surgery. Your doctor will be prepared for these risks, but they can lengthen the surgery time.
You’re Comfortable Discussing Your Wishes
If your first c-section was an emergency, you might have been too nervous about discussing your wishes. I know that I was also worried and upset!
You aren’t nervous anymore. Instead of being worried or too ashamed to tell them you want the skin to skin with your baby after birth, you tell them. Your spouse is on board, and you can work together to ensure you get the surgery you want.
Risks Are Higher, and You Know It
The risk of placenta accreta and placenta previa increases with each c-section that you have. Both of these add significant risks during the surgery. Placenta accreta can be life-threatening.
Your doctor should discuss these risks with you candidly. There is no reason for your doctor to sugarcoat the risks. It’s always better to be prepared.
Multiple c-sections also increase other risks, such as heavy bleeding, bladder injuries, and hemorrhaging.
Recovery Changes After Multiple C-Sections
Here is how recovery differed after multiple c-sections for this mother of four kids.
You Knew to Prepare Ahead of Time
After several c-sections, I knew what I would need to make my recovery more comfortable. I always had a bottle of stool softeners on hand and several packages of menstrual pads. I carry supplies in my c-section recovery kit to keep my incision clean and dry.
Also, one of my favorite tips is to prepare freezer meals ahead of time. I had dinners, lunches, breakfasts, and even homemade muffins and loaves of bread in my freezer. To create dinner, my husband and I just had to select what sounded good for the evening.
You Know What to Expect
I’ll be honest; this is my favorite part of having multiple c-sections. I know what to expect from beginning to end.
I don’t like the unexpected, and knowing what to expect helps me determine if what is happening is normal. I understand what recovery should look like because I’ve had several regular recoveries. If something goes wrong, I’m going to know it.
That’s not all.
I understand what I need to do to recover faster after my c-sections. I spent the first week of my recovery in bed or my recliner with my little baby. I know the more I try to do, the longer my recovery will take.
We are old pros at having a c-section. While other moms baffle at how we recover from c-sections, we understand what we need to do for our bodies.
You’re Older, and You Feel It
One negative of having multiple c-sections is that you age with each one. That might not seem like a vast difference between your first and second c-section if they’re only a few years apart, but as you get older, it matters.
I was 20 years old when I had my first c-section and 30 when I had my fourth one. Yes, there is a difference, and I can feel my age. I felt it throughout my pregnancy and noticed my recovery wasn’t as fast. I had to rest more, and I felt sorer.
You Know How Much Is Too Much
For the first c-section I had, I did laundry three days afterward. While that seemed like a great idea, I regretted it quickly, but I hadn’t learned my lesson just yet. Then, four days postpartum, I went to the store by myself, driving and loading my car.
I sure felt that as soon as I got home. I was miserable, and my bleeding significantly increased.
Nowadays, I understand how much is too much. I know my body better, which allows me to recover better. Most of the time, I leave my house to go somewhere in the first week, but that’s often a visit to grandma’s house instead of shopping the aisles at my local Walmart.
Walking about the block within the first week also might not be the best idea. I learned all of my lessons the hard way, and I learned how to listen to my body better.
The After Birth Pains Are Worse
This recovery change applies to both c-sections and vaginal births. Those pesky after-birth pains tend to get worse with each child.
With my first child, I barely felt those pains. I read about them in my childbirth books, but when the time came, they didn’t feel like more than a blip on my radar.
With my fourth baby,
I nearly jumped out of my skin, facing them. After each baby, your uterus has less muscle tone. It’s more likely to contract frequently, making the process more painful.
Thankful, these pains only last a few days, then they are done. That’s a blessing because no one wants to deal with those for too long!
Surviving Multiple C-Sections
Whether or not recovery is more natural will depend entirely on your body and if you need an emergency c-section. Emergency c-sections tend to result in harder recovery time. Most mothers report that their scheduled, repeat, multiple c-sections tend to result in fast, easy recoveries.
That cannot be said for all mothers, but mothers with several c-sections under their belt have the power of knowledge in their corner. They understand what to expect and what to do to recover the best they can.
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.