If you’ve delivered a baby by caesarean section, you may have a choice with your next pregnancy – a vaginal birth after caesarean, also known as a VBAC, or a planned (elective) caesarean. It depends on your medical circumstances, and it helps to know about the potential benefits and risks of VBAC. Vaginal Birth After C-Section
As long as you’re an appropriate candidate for a vaginal birth after a cesarean there’s a good chance you’ll succeed. Of course, your chances of success are higher if the reason for your previous c-section isn’t likely to be an issue this time around.
The chances of having a successful VBAC are higher if you and your baby are in good health and your pregnancy is progressing normally. In contrast, your doctor may recommend a planned caesarean if:
- you have a pregnancy complication (for example, high blood pressure, your baby is in the breech position or there is concern about the size or health of your baby)
- the reason you had your previous caesarean still exists
- you’ve had two or more caesareans and no successful vaginal deliveries
- your previous caesarean was performed using a vertical incision (cut) in your abdomen
- you have a multiple pregnancy (for example, twins, triplets or more).
Why is a VBAC done?
Women consider VBAC for various reasons:
- Shorter recovery time. You’ll have a shorter hospital stay after a VBAC than you would after a repeat C-section. Avoiding surgery will help you resume your normal activities sooner, as well as reduce the expense of childbirth.
- Opportunity for an individualized birth plan. For some women, it’s important to experience a vaginal delivery.
- Impact on future pregnancies. If you’re planning to have a larger family, VBAC might help you avoid the risks of multiple cesarean deliveries, such as scarring. Scarring might make additional surgery difficult and increase the risk of placental problems in pregnancies.
- Lower risk of surgical complications. Vaginal deliveries have lower rates of bleeding, infection, blood clotting in one or more of the deep veins in the body (deep vein thrombosis), and injury to abdominal organs, such as the bladder or bowel.