How Your Medications Can Complicate C-Sections
If you will be delivering your baby via a Caesarean section, or C-section, then you will be facing major surgery. While most C-sections go smoothly, certain health conditions or medications may heighten your risk for developing complications during and after your procedure.
While your OB doctor will monitor your condition during your C-section and after you have your baby, you will need to discuss the possibility of stopping your medications prior to your surgery. Here are some ways the medications you take may complicate your C-section and what you can do about them:
If you take aspirin, you may be at risk for experiencing heavy bleeding during your C-section surgery. While Aspirin does not actually thin your blood, it decreases platelet aggregation. This means that it makes your platelets less sticky and less likely to clot normally.
Although this action is a favorable one for those who are at high risk for heart attack, stroke, or blood clots, it can be dangerous for people undergoing surgery. If you take aspirin for pain or fever, your OB doctor may recommend that you stop taking it a week or so before your scheduled C-section surgery. Using a non-aspirin pain reliever such as acetaminophen is usually safe to take before surgical procedures because it does not raise the risk for abnormal bleeding in the way aspirin does.
If, however, your physician has recommended that you take an aspirin every day because you are at a high risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke, do not stop take aspirin without first getting medical clearance. Doing so may put you at risk for developing a dangerous blood clot, cerebrovascular event, or heart attack.
Blood Pressure Abnormalities
Certain prescription medications can cause either low blood pressure or high blood pressure, especially when the body is stressed during times of illness or surgery. Medications that can alter blood pressure include beta blockers, such as propranolol, as well as corticosteroids, diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and certain medications used in the management of diabetes.
While you should never stop taking your prescription medications without seeking your doctor's advice, be sure to tell your OB physician that you are taking them prior to your C-section. This way, the surgical staff, including the anesthesiologist, can monitor your vital signs during your surgery so that if any abnormalities in blood pressure should develop, prompt medical treatment can be administered.
If you take medications that raise the risk for abnormal bleeding or blood pressure problems, let your surgeon know about them prior to your C-section. The more your doctor knows about your medication use, the less likely you will be to experience medical problems during childbirth.