You shouldn’t conceive for 18-24 months after a C-section. Find out why, and learn the risks for a post-C-section pregnancy.

By Nicole Harris
Updated September 13, 2019
Pregnant Woman with heart symbol
Credit: momcilog/Getty Images

Sometimes baby fever hits you hard. After delivering their first (or second or third) child, women may itch to have another baby right away. But does having a C-section impact your conception plans? Here’s everything you need to know about pregnancy after a C-section. 

When can I conceive after a C-section?

Many doctors advise women to wait 18 to 24 months after they've given birth before trying to conceive again, but this is especially true if you’ve delivered by C-section. This time-out gives your body a chance to heal and recover from surgery. 

“In considering when it is safe to conceive again, we look at the interpregnancy interval (IPI),” says Pamela Promecene, M.D., professor and obstetrician with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth/UT Physicians in Houston. ”The IPI is the time from birth to the beginning of the following pregnancy. There is evidence to suggest that a short IPI, less than 18 months, has a higher risk of pregnancy complications in subsequent pregnancies.”

What are the risks for pregnancy after a C-section? 

Research shows that getting pregnant less than six months after a C-section can increase your risk of complications, such as ruptured uterus or a low birth weight baby. If you'd like to try for a vaginal birth next time (VBAC), you have even more reason to consider holding off on getting pregnant, since studies have found that the rate of uterine rupture is higher during VBACs when it's been less than two years between deliveries. Of course, though, many women who get pregnant again quickly have totally healthy pregnancies and babies. The choice is ultimately up to you and your doctor. 

I’m worried about my fertility. Should I still wait to conceive after a C-section? 

If you're older than 35, you may not want to wait more than a year or two to have another baby since fertility issues tend to rise with age. If you want to time your pregnancies close together because of your age or for other reasons, talk to your doctor. If you had a healthy pregnancy, it may be quite safe for you to begin trying to conceive again sooner.

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