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Cesarean birth is a surgery, and there are risks involved. The estimated risk of a woman dying after a cesarean birth is less than one in 2,500. The risk of death after a vaginal birth is less than one in 10,000. Other risks include:
- Infection—The uterus or nearby pelvic organs, such as the bladder or kidneys, can become infected.
- Bleeding—The average loss is about twice as much with cesarean birth as with vaginal birth.
- Decreased bowel function—The bowel sometimes slows down for several days after surgery, resulting in distention, bloating, and discomfort.
- Damage to other organs in the abdomen
- Longer hospital stay and recovery time—Cesarean stay is typically 4-5 days in the hospital after a cesarean delivery, and 1-3 days for a vaginal birth.
- Reactions to anesthesia—The mother's health could be endangered by unexpected responses to anesthesia or other medicines.
- Risk of additional surgeries—These may include hysterectomy , bladder repair, or repeat C-sections with future pregnancies.
Cesarean birth also carries risks for babies, especially those who are born prematurely. The risk of death for premature babies delivered by elective C-section is 54 out of 10,000, while the risk of death for premature babies born vaginally is 14 out of 10,000.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Excessive bleeding, redness, swelling, increasing pain, or discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Swelling and/or pain in one or both legs
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
- Dizziness or faintness
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
In case of an emergency, call 911.