Useful informtion on the risks of complications that can occur during and after a caesarean section with advice on scarring and revocery.
Some complications can occur during the operation other can develop afterwards. The main possible complications that can occur will be discussed with you prior to surgery when you are asked to give your written consent for the operation.
Main complications that can occur during surgery:
- haemorrhage or sudden heavy bleeding
- tears involving the uterus and possibly other tissues
- damage to the bladder
The most dangerous of these complications is bleeding. Sometimes bleeding occurs because of a tear, in the case the tear can normally be repaired and the bleeding stopped. Sometime blood loss is from the placental site, which may be controlled by drugs. If this is not possible then surgical techniques are used. In the most serious cases of haemorrhage a hysterical may have to be performed.
Damage to the bladder can result in you having to have a catheter kept in for a number of days. Infection is a risk, which is often preventable. During surgery you will be given some antibiotics. If there is a major concern about infection you may be given a course of antibiotics over a number of days. In the long term caesarean does weaken your abdominal muscles, which will limit your activity for a time.
When you plan for another pregnancy the fact that you have a scar on your uterus is likely to affect the choices you are given and the care you receive. The majority of women can have a normal vaginal delivery but many choose not to try.
The more caesarean's you have the more difficult the surgery itself becomes and the greater your risk of complications. Once you have had two caesarean deliveries many obstetricians are reluctant to let you try for a vaginal delivery although research has shown a vaginal birth may still be possible. The major complication which can occur in labour when you have a scar on your uterus is uterine rupture. It is a relatively rare but serious problem. You will probably be advised to deliver in hospital incase complications occur.
Complications after surgery
- chest infection
- wound infection
- urine infection
- clots - deep vein thrombosis or DVT
If you continue to bleed after the surgery has been completed you may need to be given drugs to control the blood loss. If this is not working in some circumstances you may need to be taken back to the theatre.
Antibiotics given in theatre can help to prevent infections of all kinds but still they can occur. If your immune system is low to start with, perhaps because of disturbed sleep in late pregnancy and a long labour, you will be more susceptible.
If you have a planned caesarean you will be given anti embolic, elasticated stockings to wear. If you deliver by an emergency operation these stockings will be put of afterwards. In all cases you will also be assessed to see if you need injections to help thin your blood a little to prevent clot formation.
Care in the initial period following your surgery is aimed at helping you to recover by preventing and detecting any possible complications.