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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Risks

The most common problems following cesarean delivery are:

  • Bleeding (hemorrhaging)

  • Infection of the uterine lining (endometritis)

  • Injury to other pelvic organs, such as the bowel or bladder

Risks to the baby include:

  • Skin cuts made during the uterine incision

  • Delay in absorbing amniotic fluid from the lungs

There are also possible complications from anesthesia. General anesthesia provides deep, total relaxation of the body, which can lead to stomach acids flowing into the woman's lungs. This is a rare complication. The after-effects of general anesthesia can also make the mother and baby sleepy and delay mother-infant bonding. Headache may occur after regional anesthesia, whether this is used for cesarean delivery or pain management in labor.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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