Waiting at least a year after a cesarean allows the uterine wall to heal the best it can and reduces the risk of abnormal placental attachment. It also reduces the risk of rupture of the uterine wall.
Studies have shown that a prior cesarean increases the chance of pregnancy complications, such as abnormal attachment of the placenta, in future pregnancies. When the placenta attaches to the scarred area of the uterus, it can cover the cervical opening or cause placenta previa (when the placenta is blocking the baby’s exit). The presence of the placenta over the cervix blocks the cervix and would require a repeat cesarean section for delivery.
When the placenta attaches to the scarred area of the uterus, it is also more likely to attach to deeper layers of the uterus than the placenta normally would. This is a pregnancy complication called placenta acreta. Since the placenta is more deeply “rooted” in the uterus, it sometimes does not detach completely after delivery of the baby. This can cause severe bleeding that can even require hysterectomy for control of the subsequent bleeding.
All women (whether they delivered by cesarean or vaginally) who wait a year or longer to conceive again will have fewer pregnancy complications, including preterm labor, in their subsequent pregnancies.
Check with your doctor to find out when it’s safe for you get pregnant after a cesarean section.