Infection from Caesarean
By Kidspot Team |
Infection from Caesarean
Women having a Caesarean birth have around a 5 to 20 times greater chance of developing an infection after the birth, when compared to women who have a vaginal birth. Women who have a Caesarean performed during labour (unplanned), or after their waters have been broken for a long period of time (over 24 hours) are at an increased risk of developing an infection, compared to women who have a booked Caesarean operation (planned) before labour starts. This could also be related to the internal vaginal examinations done by caregivers during labour.

The most common infection that can occur is an infection of the lining of the uterus, called 'endometritis'. This tends to happen for about 9% of women with planned Caesareans, and up to 27% of women if the Caesarean was unplanned. It is now recognised that the routine use of giving a few doses of antibiotics through the drip in the woman's vein (after the baby is born) can decrease the chances of developing an infection of the uterus by 50 to 75%, as well as reducing other infections that can occur as a result of the operation.

Other infections can include an infection of the stitches (about 7%). Women who are overweight for their height are at an increased risk of developing a wound infection. Or an infection of the bladder from having a catheter inserted. On rare occasions an abscess can form inside the woman's abdomen that needs to be drained to treat it.

Occasionally the epidural or spinal anaesthetic site where the needle or tube was inserted can get infected or the site on the woman's arm where the drip was put into the vein.

If an infection does develop the woman will often be prescribed antibiotics through a drip in the vein and / or tablets, after the drip has been removed. It can also mean a longer stay in the hospital (10 to 12 days rather than 5 to 7 days).

Sometimes an infection will not become noticeable until you are home. This could mean being re-admitted to the hospital for a few days to have intravenous antibiotics (they will usually let the baby room in with you), or having some antibiotic tablets to take at home.

Around 19% of women will develop a fever within a few days after a Caesarean birth, known as 'postoperative fever'. This may or may not be directly linked to an actual infection, but may be treated as one with the caregiver prescribing antibiotics 'just in case'.

Resting, getting physical and emotional support and help with the baby, eating a well balanced diet, including immune boosting foods such as garlic and orange juice (Vitamin C) can help your body recover and reduce your chances of developing an infection after a Caesarean. Some women will use certain herbal or homoeopathic remedies to assist in boosting and supporting their immune system. You may wish to consult a qualified practitioner.


The average blood loss from a Caesarean birth is about 500 to 1000 mls, compared to about 250 mls for a vaginal birth. A loss of 600+mls for a vaginal birth is classified as a haemorrhage, but is regarded as 'normal' for a Caesarean.

Women who have a Caesarean birth are more likely to be anaemic (low haemoglobin) due to the blood loss from the operation. They are more likely to be tired and have less energy (in combination with recovering from a major operation). The chances of needing a blood transfusion are also increased with a Caesarean birth.

Consider taking some sort of iron supplements for 4 to 6 weeks after the birth if you have had a Caesarean. Eat iron rich foods and rest as much as possible.

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