In the United States, c section is often performed as a matter of choice for women. When a woman has had one c section, doctors sometimes offer a choice between VBAC and a repeat c section. In many cases, doctors pressure women into the repeat c section. This is often done because doctors worry about uterine rupture, which is a rare event.
What few doctors do is inform their patients that having repeat c sections may limit the number of children they can have. Repeatedly cutting and stitching the uterus greatly increases the risk of uterine rupture in subsequent pregnancies. So how many c sections can you have?
While I personally know someone who had five c sections, most doctors would not recommend this to their patients. The risk increases for some women dramatically after the third c section, according to the Mayo Clinic. For this reason, many doctors use three as a guideline for how many are safe. This can vary, depending on specific factors and is best determined with medical advice.
All women develop adhesions and scar tissue inside after a c section. Some women develop more adhesions than others and would have an increased risk of complications in future surgeries. Thinning of the uterus also varies from woman to woman and this also has an impact on how many c sections are safe. Since it can be difficult to tell who will have these complications, many doctors advise all patients to limit c sections to three births.
For some families, this doesn’t make a difference. The average size of American families is relatively small, with two or three children being common. However, if you want a larger family, this can be a big deal. If you are considering a repeat c section, talk to your doctor about the impact of this decision on your future family size.