Contrary to the image often put out in the media, cesarean sections really are a big deal. Far from being the "easy way" to give birth, having a C-section tasks a woman with major physical recovery — and often an emotional recovery to boot. Many women fear that their C-sections will affect their future conception, pregnancies, and deliveries, and there's no shortage of myths out there to perpetuate some of those fears. But what does a C-section do to future deliveries?
Crystal Clancy, perinatal mental health specialist and C-section mom, tells Romper that having a C-section does not in and of itself have any physical effect on either conceiving or carrying a baby in the woman's next pregnancy, although some women do have extenuating circumstances. Statistics show that 60 to 80 percent of women who have had a C-section can successfully deliver their next baby vaginally should they choose to do so. This is known in the medical world as a VBAC, or Vaginal Birth after Cesarean.
"There are those who would really love to have a VBAC, but are told they cannot have one," Clancy explains. "Sometimes this is because of the reason they had a C-section — there are too many risk factors. However, more often than not, I see that women are told they cannot when the reality is the OB is not comfortable with it."
But for some women, Clancy distinguishes, choosing to plan another C-section is a psychologically empowering way to approach another delivery. If their previous experience was difficult or traumatic, opting for a C-section the next time around likely feels more controlled, planned, and predictable. Becoming pregnant again after a difficult labor can often cause some anxiety, however, these women often find comfort in knowing exactly what to expect this time around.
Having a C-section does not mean you are doomed to future fertility struggles or difficult pregnancies; far from it. On the contrary, most C-section moms are able to give birth to more beautiful babies, even vaginally if they wish, barring serious health concerns. Talk to your medical provider about your unique circumstances, but if you're jonesing for a bigger family, be encouraged: you have every reason to hope those empty bedrooms will get filled.