When you had your first C-section, chances are you weren't entirely sure of all the details surrounding the surgery. For many moms, all they really know is that their baby is removed through an incision and they're left with a scar. For your repeat C-section, you might know what to expect a little more, but there are still some details you're unsure about. Like, do they cut on your first scar for a repeat C-section, or will you have more than one of those scars on your bikini line?
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), as of November 2005, 29 percent of women have a C-section to deliver her baby, which means one in four women are most likely to have one. With that said, it is a major surgery, and you may be wondering what's going to happen to your first scar when you head in for a repeat C-section.
It's important to know exactly what happens down there. Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Romper that your incision is 4 to 5 inches and looks like a smiley face on your bikini line.
“The incision is made in the lowest area of the uterus in order to deliver the head (or buttock of the baby). Once the head and body are delivered, blood from the umbilical cord is taken and the placenta is then delivered. Once the placenta is out, the uterus is cleaned to make sure there is not any remaining tissue left behind before being sutured closed. Then, all of the other layers are put back together, including the skin,” she says. Ross notes that, usually, staples will close your skin layer back together.
As for whether your doctor will use the same C-section scar for a second pregnancy, it really depends on how thick the previous scar is. But don't panic. “It’s easy to remove a previous scar if necessary. The same procedure is performed to deliver the baby as the first go around. At times there is significant scar tissue that makes it a bit more challenging to deliver the second baby, but care is taken to ensure a safe passage,” Ross says.
But what about if you had a vertical incision? Ross explains, "A vertical incision for a C-section is rarely needed — a low transverse incision is what is currently recommended when performing this surgery. However, some doctors will use a vertical incision if the C-section is an emergency delivery, and quick entry to the uterus is necessary. If a pregnant woman has had a previous abdominal surgery that was performed through a vertical scar, a vertical incision could still be used."
As long as the scar tissue isn't super thick, you're probably not going to have multiple scars for your repeat C-sections. If you're worried, be sure to ask your doctor if that's something they will be able to do — they should be able to check the density of your skin before going in for the operation.