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Getting Pregnant Can Be More Difficult After A C-Section

According to Penn State College of Medicine research, women who deliver a child by C-section are less likely to conceive subsequent children. There were previous studies that showed mothers who gave birth by Caesarean section had lower rates of subsequent births, it was unclear if the reduction was due to maternal choice. In this study, researchers found that women are still less likely to conceive again despite planning a subsequent pregnancy.

The study followed more than 2,000 women for 3 years following the delivery of their first child. Over the six years, researchers interviewed the women every 6 months, asking about how often they engaged in unprotected sex. 

Of the women, 600 delivered their first child by C-section and after 3 years, approximately 69% conceived again. Of the remaining women who had vaginal births, 78% conceived after their first birth. The researchers indicated they accounted for other factors in conception, including age, body mass, time to conception of the first child, diabetes, hypertension, and other factors. 

Why is it harder to get pregnant again after a C-section? 

Coauthor of the research, Dr. Legro, and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, has identified some possible reasons for the difference in conception after the first-child

Pelvic or fallopian tubal scarring could occur during the C-section.  Scar tissue could also form from the surgical wound to the uterus, which could have longer term effects on future implantation. 

Pregnant Women Deserve to Know the Risks of a C-Section 

Many women elect to have a C-section and are supposed to be advised of all the risks associated with the procedure in order to make an informed decision of their care. There are risks of a C-section to both the baby and mother. Risks to the mother include:

  • Excessive bleeding or hemorrhaging
  • Uterine rupture
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Increased risk for infection
  • Complications with the surgical wound
  • Possible difficulty in conceiving another child

Earlier this month, we wrote about a mother who suffered a fatal hemorrhage after a C-section, leaving twin children without a mother. Without all the available information about the risks of a C-section, mothers and families cannot make an informed choice. 

Many C-Sections Are Unnecessary 

Almost 30% of the births in the U.S. are done through Caesarean section. However, according to an article in the Lancet, many C-section deliveries are unnecessary. The rate has increased over time, from 1 in 20 births in the 1970s to 1 in 4 in the 1980s to almost 1 in 3 today. The standards of medical practice had traditionally considered a rate of 10 to 15% to be an optimal number. 

Women who are pregnant with their first child should be aware of the possible risk to future conception as the result of having a C-section. Women who plan on having more than 1 child should be able to consider the risks of a C-section in deciding whether they want to have a vaginal birth or C-section.

Labor and Birth Injury Lawyers

If your doctor or healthcare professional did not adequately discuss all the risk factors of a C-section and you were harmed because you were misinformed, speak with a medical malpractice attorney. To discuss a labor or birth injury with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs BedigianBriggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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