Does having a previous c-section impact future fertility?
When it was so easy to conceive the first time, many women are blindsided by difficulties conceiving the second time. A recent study, “Association between mode of first delivery and subsequent fecundity and fertility” Kjerulff et al, in JAMA sheds light on a possible cause, cesarean delivery.
The National Center for Health Statistics reported 31.9% of all birth deliveries in the United States in 2018 was by Cesarean. Researchers set out to evaluate if there is a correlation between prior cesarean delivery and future conception difficulties. Their findings showed women who delivered their first child via c-section were 13% more likely to have infertility after 1 year of unprotected intercourse compared to women who delivered their first child vaginally. Even at 6 months, conceptions after c-sections were lower compared to after vaginal births.
Bottom line: C-sections are commonly performed to safely deliver babies but can be a risk factor for future infertility. So, women having difficulties conceiving after previously delivering via c-section deserve prompt evaluation. This can be with a very simple vaginal ultrasound, sometimes with a few tablespoons of sterile water placed into the uterus to look at the area of the c-section.
Mira Aubuchon, MD