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As a general rule, you should probably hold off on trying to conceive again for 18 to 23 months – about the same waiting period recommended for women who deliver vaginally.
That may seem like a long time, but you've just had major surgery in addition to giving birth and you need to let your body recover and replenish lost nutrients. For instance, you may be anemic because of the iron transferred to your baby and placenta during pregnancy, as well as the blood loss you suffered during childbirth. Women who deliver via c-section lose twice as much blood – about two pints on average – as women who deliver vaginally.
Studies have also shown that women who conceive less than six months after giving birth may have a higher risk for complications such as a ruptured uterus or a premature or low-birth weight baby. You'll need some time to adjust to your new life as a parent, too, before you add another baby into the mix. By giving yourself plenty of time to heal and to get acclimated to parenthood, you'll give your next baby the best start in life.
That said, if you do get pregnant less than 18 months after a c-section, don't panic. Taking at least an 18-month break between births is a guideline designed to reduce your risk of complications, but many women get pregnant sooner and do just fine.
In fact, if you're in your late 30s, it might make more sense to begin trying to conceive nine to 12 months after having a c-section. It's not uncommon for women over 35 to have trouble getting pregnant with the second baby, and the risk of having difficulty conceiving increases with age. The best time to get pregnant again can differ from woman to woman, so talk to your healthcare provider about your specific circumstances.