Information for the public
Having a baby when you have had a caesarean section before
If you have already had a caesarean section, it is not certain what the overall effect on your health is likely to be if you have another caesarean section rather than a vaginal birth. When you and your doctor are discussing whether to plan a caesarean section or a vaginal birth, your doctor should take account of:
your preferences and priorities
the risks and benefits of another caesarean section
the risks and benefits of a vaginal birth after caesarean section.
If you have had between 1 and 4 caesarean sections before, the risk of fever, damage to your bladder and injury during surgery is the same whether you have another caesarean section or a vaginal birth. The risk of uterine rupture is higher with a vaginal birth, but rare.
If you want to have a vaginal birth, during your labour you should be offered electronic heart rate monitoring of your baby, and be cared for in a maternity unit where a caesarean section can be done very quickly if needed, and where there are blood transfusion services. This is even more important if your labour is induced, because the risks of some complications, such as the wall of the womb tearing, are higher.
Questions if you have had a caesarean section before
Will I need to have another caesarean section?
Can I choose to have a caesarean section this time?
What are the pros and cons of having another caesarean section?
Can I try to give birth vaginally this time? Are there any risks to my health and my baby's health?