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This handout explains the option of choosing a vaginal birth after cesarean section. (VBAC). This helps our patients decide if they want to attempt a vaginal birth or to have a repeat C section.
Are vaginal births possible after a C section?
Yes. If you have had one or two C sections in the past, you may be able to have a VBAC in the future. The success rates of women trying VBAC range between 60% and 80%.
Why choose to have a VBAC?
Shorter recovery time
Less chance of infection
Less blood loss
Less complications with future pregnancies
Less risk for future deliveries
Who can have a VBAC?
Those who have had one or two C sections.
Those whose C section incision on the uterus was “low transverse” rather than vertical. Skin incision may be different than the incision on the uterus. We will need to get the report of your prior C section to confirm this.
Who can’t have a VBAC?
During a consult, your provider will help determine what your success rate could be. Some patients may not be able to have a VBAC if:
The baby is not head down
The placenta is covering the cervix (placenta previa)
They have had more than two C sections
They have had prior uterine rupture
What are the risks of trying VBAC?
Emergency C section
Risks to your health
Risks to baby’s health
There is more risk if C section needs to be done after an attempt at labor compared to having a planned repeat C section
How can risks be decreased?
Use continuous fetal monitoring, to assure baby’s health through labor
Have lab work (to include blood count and blood typing)
Have an intravenous line (IV) while in labor
Use certain medicines to soften and ripen the cervix as the due date gets closer
Give birth in a hospital with a provider who can manage problems if they were to arise
Avoid prolonged labor, and proceed to repeat C section if problems arise
What can increase my chances of having a successful VBAC?
Your labor starts on its own
You labor starts before the due date
You have had a successful vaginal delivery in the past
You have good prenatal care that includes a healthy diet and exercise
Are there less risks with a C section birth?
There are risks with all types of deliveries, vaginal and C sections. Most patients and their babies have happy and healthy outcomes.
What if I have questions or concerns?
Discuss these issues, your concerns, and your health history with our Ob/Gyn provider. You and your provider will make a plan that you both agree with.