30 answers

Is Having Three Babies by C-section Safe?

Since I am an only child, I always wanted to have a big family. I was lonely growing up and always told myself that I would have a big family some day. Well, I am almost 35 years old with two wonderful boys and am wondering whether I should try for a third child before it is too late. I know it is important to see if we can financially afford a child, of course, but I was also wondering whether it would be safe to have 3 C-sections.

My first son was two weeks late, and I was induced for 16 hours without going into labor. When they gave me more pitocin, my son's heart rate plummeted, and I needed an emergency C-section to get him out. It turns out that his head was too big and never would have fit through the birth canal. Anyway, he was born fine and never had any complications, although it took quite a long time for me to heal.

With my second son, I really wanted a VBAC. Amazingly, I actually went into labor naturally when my water broke one day before he was due. When we got to the hospital, however, I was told that I tested positive for Strep B and would need 8 hours of antibiotics by IV before giving birth. Although I never went into full-blown labor, whenever I had even a tiny contraction, my son's heart rate would drop each time. The doctor suggested that it would probably be safer to have a C-section to get him out. I conceded and went through the surgery. Everything went as planned except that when my son came out, he was blue and not crying at all. When they brought him to the sink to clean him up, not one sound came out. My mother and husband were in the operating room and almost passed out. After the nurse rubbed him, he still did not make a sound, so she ended up giving him a puff of oxygen. After this, he let out a gurgled cry, and they got all of the mucus out of his lungs. He has been fine ever since, and I healed very quickly this time.

Because of this background, I was wondering whether it would be safe to have another C-section. My husband and mother think that after having two perfect children, it would be silly to want one more, but I still think that three children would complete my family.

Has anyone gone through something similar and if so, how did it go?

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I had 3 c-section all with in a 4 year period. i have had no lasting sideeffects accept that part of my belly is still numb right above the scare tissue. I had minor complications between my second and third c-section due to scare tissue attaching my uterus to my abdominal wall. but they just monitered me through my last pregnancy and all was fine.

I know several women that have had many c-sections - one woman had 7! I think you just need a supportive doctor because I know it can be done.

I have no personal expereince with this as I had a vaginal birth, however, my mother had 3 children via C-section (she never had a vaginal birth) and ther only long term issue she has had is that the scar tissue has made a lump on her abdomenal muscles and it took her a little long3er than normal to regain muscle tone because of this. She still has the lump (her youngest is 22 years old) but it is not visible nor does it bother her. She was very happy with her ex[ereince and considered having a 4th child (they decided not to because they couldn't afford to raise 4, not because of medical reasons). So that is her experience, for what it is worth.

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S.- I had 3 c-sections - in '71, '76 and '82 -- Iwas perfectly safe--- however my last child has some issues that never qualified as special ed--- but have colored all our lives --- as a retired special ed' teacher I KNOW you understand that dynamic- being a special ed teacher, too.

I was 37 when she was born- and she seemed healthy - the issues have developed; at 27---- I know I will carry the burden of trying to make her life better and more functional all my life- and that as I die my last prayer will be to help her --- She is beautiful, but terribly burdened. My greatest concern for YOU is not your physical safety--- but the consequence of bringing a 3rd child ( life is really set up for two adults, two kids--- truly it is--- and it gets tricky once you''''break'''' that barrier.) into a home when husband/dad has said ''' 2 are just right''' --

I KNOW you'll make a good decision- whatever that is--

Blessings,
Old Mom aka-- J.

I had 3 c-section all with in a 4 year period. i have had no lasting sideeffects accept that part of my belly is still numb right above the scare tissue. I had minor complications between my second and third c-section due to scare tissue attaching my uterus to my abdominal wall. but they just monitered me through my last pregnancy and all was fine.

I'm surprised that only one person has mentioned VBAC as an option. I have heard many stories of successful VBACs after 2 or more C-sections. It sounds like both of your C-sections and the problems they caused were quite possibly the result of unnecessary interventions, and that you might have fared better without these interventions. I would suggest contacting as many midwives as you can and asking them about the possibility of VBAC.

Hi S.-

I've had three c-sections, due to complications with my first delivery, and as far as the operations and healing after wards, everything went fine. My babies did fine, too. My OB-GYN said three c-sections would be fine, and the risks start to go up with the fourth, but I'd talk to your doctor about it if you have any concerns. My main advice would be not to chance a VBAC having two c-sections already in your history. Each time you undergo surgery it weakens your uterus, and labor puts a lot of strain on your body, so I wouldn't chance that if I were you.

As far as your last c-section, it sounds like your doctor made the right move getting your son out quickly. During my first delivery my daughter's heart rate was dropping like that, and I feel that if it wasn't for modern medicine I would've lost her for sure! Thank goodness that so much more is known about our bodies then in the past when so many babies and mommies didn't make it through delivery!

Anyway, adding a third is something to think about. We added our third in November and it's been awesome! -J.

It is fine to have more than 2 c-sections. The issues are scar tissue (which makes it harder for the surgeon and longer to do the section) and sometimes there is a "window" that forms from the previous section. Either may or may not cause a problem and there is really no way to know. You could ask your doctor (if it is the one who did the previous surgery) how much scar tissue was there. Some people form a lot and others don't. It's pretty individual. Also, even women who have never had a section can have thinning or a "window" - it is scary when we see that because we always think what could have happened but it is fairly rare for it to rupture. That is the reason that VBACS are highly discouraged now-a-days (I think you'd be hard pressed to find a provider that would consent to one around Seattle anyhow). So, if you go into labor prior to your sceduled section date, they would most likely just take you to surgery to avoid too many contractions in a uterus that may be compromised.

I myself have had 4 sections - and actally each one was easier to heal from from the previous one. Maybe I was just too busy with my kids to notice though.

C.

I had three children by c-section. My first was late, they induced labor and 18-hours in, her heart rate would decrease when I had a contraction. They did an emergency c-section and discovered that her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck 4 times! My second was born 1 yr, 2 months later by c-section, which I chose because I was told that contractions could rupture the c-section scar. I had two miscarriages after that and had my third by c-section 4 years later. They are all healthy, I am healthy, but everyone is different. Always speak with your doctor first and take his advice. I am pleased with my third child, he makes our family complete. My older sister also has three children by c-section and another of my friends has 4 by c-section, do what feels right.

Hi S.!
I actually just had this conversation with my provider this week. I am faced with the decision of another section as well or a VBAC. She had explained that if I was only thinking of having one more child... then a section wouldn't be a problem. If you are planning of have more then just one more, she says the pregnancies gets tougher because of the weakened stomach muscles from surgery. It sounds to me like you are planning to have just one more & be done, so I honestly feel you will do great during your 3rd pregnancy & section & yes, a 3rd section is safe. :) Hope that helped!

Hello S.!
I started to respond because I have had 2 C-sections (one for twins and then a single) and also a prior surgery which was essentially the same thing (to remove fibroids). Any abdominal surgery has some risk involved. In my experience, they contributed to a weakened abdominal muscular wall and some nerve damage (not a big deal really but my stomach no longer appears the way it used to). In terms of your experience, it almost sounds like the c-section came just at the right time for your second child. Did your doctor give you any indication about why your son was having problems? It sounds like going into labor was the problem for both and that if you do plan to have any more kids, you might want to just plan on another c-section going into it. Hope this was a bit helpful!

We had 2 children, both by C-section (emergency and planned). First one was horrible healing, very lengthy with a lot of exhaustion. Second one was easy. THEN baby #3 showed up! Also a C-section. I cried and cried about this. I wanted him, but I didn't want the C-section, I wanted to experience a normal delivery. I was very hormonal the morning of surgery and sobbing in the hospital room. Then they wheeled me into the OR, the crying stopped, I was fine. It was amazingly easy recovery too! I was happy, healthy, and healed so fast.

I know that my doc was concerned about me possibly having a 4th child due to thin uterus, adhesions, etc. They tried to talk me into getting my tubes tied, but I couldn't do that. I also found out she is a bit "c-section happy" and while I love her, I was upset in retrospect that I was whipped in for all those Cs. She doesn't like to do them past 3 children for safety reasons, possible rupture of the uterus, etc. She did tell me she had a patient who had undergone 8 c-sections, though...so you can never say never!

I wouldn't worry about a 3rd c-section being dangerous. Every pregnancy carries some degree of risk, and every delivery too...but the 3rd one is going to be fine for you!

As an aside - I also wanted #3 because I did not feel like my family was complete. My husband was ok with or without a third one. I do now feel that my family is complete, but if #4 showed up, we would also be delighted! Never say never :)

Hi S., Have you asked your doctor for his advice? I would think it would depend on the condition of your uterus. My daughter has had 4 c-sections, but with the 4th one she had to have a hysterectomy because the uterus was just worn out and kind of like tissue paper. The babies were all safe however and my daughter recovered quickly!

Hi and how are you well I hope that u find this helpful I had an emergency c-section in 2000 then a vbac in 2001 and then an elective c-section in 2005 and all the births went well I just recently gave birth again via c-section on 4/15/2011 and this time I was told that I had many adhesions and lots of scar tissue an needless to say an adhesin was wrapped around my bladder and it was accidently cut during my surgery, I was on percocets and went home with a catheter that was attached to a small leg bag so that I can still go places and it not be noticed i wore it 7days then returned to the drs and got my staples removed along with getting my bladder filled with water via cather and it was removed for mr to urine on my own and I couldnt so i was re-catheterized for 7 more days and the same thing but this time I was able to go urine on my own, thats the down side but as for as my recovery me and baby are doing well he turned 1 month old today although I was told that I could have 1 more c-section and thats it. I really hope this was a great help to you and by the way I got the c-section at Shands Jacksonville,Florida they did all of them.

S.-

Mother of 3 via 3 c-sections here. No one even questioned the safety of a third. (Although our third was a surprise :)) As a matter of fact my scenario sounds similar to yours: induced late first child,long labor, ending in c-section; vbac atempt with 2nd, ending in c-section; third scheduled c-section. And the recovery history sounds similar,too; it got easier.

My understanding is that they used to worry quite a bit about multiple c-sections. (Although my husband's aunt had 5! via c-section about 40 years ago.)

However, they will not allow you to even try a Vbac after 2 c-sections due to some pretty convincing research about the risks.

My advice is: barring any extenuating issues you did not mention here I see no reason not to go for it. Of course your OB/GYN should have the final advice.

In the end the 3 c-sections were easy compared with the raising of 3! (But it's a blast.)

Good luck.

S.,
I have three children 1 girl and 2 boys and all three of them were c-sections. My daughter was first and I was in labor for 3 days when they found out my tail bone never moved and when it came time to push her shoulder was stuck on my tail bone. So I had a emergency c-section with her. She is a happy little 8 yr. old now. When I went back and had my first son my dr. told me it would be best to have c-section and not take the chance of it happening again. My healing was a little better. With my final child I was up and walking and back to work and he was only 2 1/2 weeks. I think you will be just fine having the third child with a c-section. Good luck in making your family bigger.

I think it's definately something to talk about with your ob/gyn. I haven't had a c-section so my experience has been different. It seems like the question is less about the safety of the kids since yours are both healthy and more about the health of your uterus! :)

Another option to consider is if having another genetic child would complete your family, or if an adopted child would complete your family the way you desire. There are lots of options and kinds of adoptions that you might want to consider.

It really depends on your personal health. My sister had 4 c-sections, all healthy babies. She had more complications though, the last two times.

You will probably be considered higher risk and an increasing number of previous c-sections does increase the risk for you and your baby for both complications during pregnancy (miscarriage and still birth rates) and birth (repeat C/S).

Talk to your doctor...

I know several women that have had many c-sections - one woman had 7! I think you just need a supportive doctor because I know it can be done.

Hi S.,
I have had 3 c-sections and have no problems. I am 41 now. I had my first as an emergency c-section because they tried to induce me and his heart rate didn't tolerate it, so emergency c-section at 3am. I was 37 at the time (2005) My next son was born 12 months 25 days after my first son via planned c-section at the age of 38. Again everything went good. My last son, born this past Jan via planned c-section and again everything went pretty good. I did have some complications with being numbed the whole way, but I think that is due to the doctor and not it being my 3rd c-section. I healed pretty quickly despite my age and 3rd c-section. I say if you want another child, don't let it being the 3rd c-section stop you.
I will be thinking and praying for you!

I am 41 and have had 3 c sections. I had a daughter in 2003 by emergency c-section, another daughter in 2004 by c-section after a failed vbac attempt, and twin sons in 2006 by planned c-section. All my kids are healthy and fine, as am I. On the last section, my OBGYN said that there is some scar tissue from the previous sections, and that it probably wouldn't be a super great idea to do it again. I assured her I was DONE!

(Like you, I believed 3 kids would make a perfect size for a family, and my husband and I planned and believed that financially we could handle three kids. Then with the 3rd pregnancy fate decided that I actually needed FOUR kids and blessed me with TWINS in the last PG! Everything worked out fine, both financially and physically.)

Make your decision based on mutual agreement between you and your husband, and move forward from there. No one ever even suggested to me that it would not be safe to have more than 2 kids because of the whole c-section thing. Good luck!
R.

I too have had two c-sections. The first one was an emergency c-section and the second was planned. I wanted to do a VBAC, but I never went into labor so I just signed up for the c-section. My OB knew at the time that we were thinking of having three children and said that it would be fine. I do know that after two c-sections most doctors will not allow you to try for a VBAC. It gets too dangerous. I would suggest that you talk to your OB-GYN and get all the facts. They should be better able to explain the risks than any of us. Good luck!

My best friend just had her 4th c-section in May, a very healthy baby girl. She is sore but doing well. Based upon what happened with your sons, I would definately schedule the c-section. Good luck !

Sonia, no one knows your uterus better than your ob/gyn. Have this conversation with him/her. Many women have had multiple c-sections while others have been told that 2's the limit. My best friend growing up had 3 c-sections successfully, all 3 girls and her did extremely well. The more important question is wanting a 3rd child. This is a discussion you need to have with your husband. I know after we had our first two, a girl then a boy, I knew I wasn't done, I wanted more, I wanted a tie breaker. My husband wanted more kids as well. Yes, it's financial commitment, not just when they're young, but as our youngest has just graduated from high school, we have 3 in college now. This is were it really gets spendy, but we will do what we need to do to make it work. I've never regretted our decision. As far as wanting more after the 3rd, when I held him after an emergency c-section, I knew our family was complete. Not because of the "c", he just filled all 4 of us to the brim. It's hard to explain, but he did, he does. I wish you well with your decisions. Talk with your doc, your husband and listen to your head and your heart. Look at your kids. Then make your decision, whatever you decide to do as a family will be the right decision.

I had all three of my kids by C-section. The first one I couldn't go into labor naturally and I had pregnancy induced hypertension, the second one I had a scheduled C-section, and the third one I wanted to have a VBAC but my doctor told me that the reason for my first C-section (nonproductive labor) would most likely result in my having an emergency C-section if I attempted a VBAC. Plus I hemorrhaged with my first child after having him and it was a very real possibility that if I attempted a VBAC with number three the same thing would happen.

Needless to say, I have three very healthy babies (not so much babies anymore, they are all teenagers now) and had three successful C-sections. The one thing that I would caution about is that I ended up developing adenomyosis (sp) from all the scar tissue.

This is a condition where the uterine wall layers end up meshing together and causes heavy bleeding and severe cramping during my period. I ended up with a hysterectomy at the age of 31 because of it. I could have gone on birth control pills as a bandaid for a few years but I was a high risk category for strokes on them and plus I was done having kids. This isn't something that all women develop and the odds are slim. (I know a woman who had 5 C-sections and her uterus is just fine).

I don't see any reason that you shouldn't have another child, naturally or otherwise if you so choose.

Hi S.!

I have had three kids all via c-section. Everything went great all three times. After my third one my doctor did recommend not having anymore because of all of the scar tissue from the previous two. Each of my kids is two and a half years apart. We stopped after three (not because of what the doctor said, but because we were already going to be done with three before he even told me this). I say go for it! I did ask my OB how many c-sections had he done on any one individual and he said he had one patient that had 7 c-sections!!! So I think three would be no problem. I also have friends that have had four and had zero problems. I think it all just depends on your body and health. If you are healthy and your uterus is in good shape, then you shouldn't have any problems. :)

Best of luck!
K.

Are you sure that having 2 c-Sections makes you unable to have a VBAC? I don't think that's the case, although, you can never tell how labor's gonnna go...

Hey S., I am about to have my second c-section and my doctor said it is completely safe to have up to 4 or 5 C-sections. If you wanted more than 5 kids, than it would be a bad idea. The only concern is that every time they do a c-section, you develop scar tissue and every woman is different so it also depends on how easily you recovered from each surgery. Hope that helps!

A friend of mine had three c-sections, was surprised with a fourth pregnancy and so in the end had four c-sections and she is totally fine.

Hi S.,

My sister-in-law (31) is pregnant with her 3rd right now, which will also be her 3rd C-section. Her doctor thought it was safe for her, but said this needs to be her last one. I think that since you healed quickly from the second one and if you feel healthy it would probably bo ok to have one more baby. I have no medical experience to back up my opinion - and I'm sure you will talk to your OB about it first - but thought I'd let you know other people out there are having 3 C-sections. Good luck!

I just had my third c-section. It was fine. I had some concerns because my last one was a c-section with twins and my uterus was so thin and beat up from it but when he did this one my doc said my uterus was in great shape. I am going for one more!

I had a friend who had 4 c-sections. Although her doctor said that it was a good thing that she was getting her tubes tied. I think mostly because she was having such large children - her last was over 10lbs. Anyway - her body healed just fine. I think what you may be worrying about is the scare tissue - how many times can your body keep repairing itself. I personally think if you are wanting another one - go for it. If you are healthy enough - why not. Good luck - I hope for the best.

I have no personal expereince with this as I had a vaginal birth, however, my mother had 3 children via C-section (she never had a vaginal birth) and ther only long term issue she has had is that the scar tissue has made a lump on her abdomenal muscles and it took her a little long3er than normal to regain muscle tone because of this. She still has the lump (her youngest is 22 years old) but it is not visible nor does it bother her. She was very happy with her ex[ereince and considered having a 4th child (they decided not to because they couldn't afford to raise 4, not because of medical reasons). So that is her experience, for what it is worth.

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