Is a VBAC Possible After A C-Section?
Cesarean section is far more popular than a normal vaginal birth in today’s modern world. A few years ago cesarean sections were only used in emergency situations – when there was a chance that the baby or mother may suffer damage during childbirth. Now, there are many reasons for it being used, but it is not because there is more danger now of there being complications. In the US today, almost 20% of all births are done by c-section.
Like most mothers who have experienced the birth of their child through c-section, they are left feeling empty – knowing that this was not the way childbirth was supposed to be. So, is it possible to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)?
What Risks Are Associated With C-Sections?
Because cesarean is so common, most people tend to forget that it is actually major abdominal surgery and it carries many risks. According to the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), the risks of cesarean section include:
- Increased risk of maternal death
- Damage to internal organs
- Complications caused by anesthesia
- Long-term pain
- Bladder problems
Not only that, but it is also becoming apparent the more women who have had cesareans stand a higher risk of having further complications with their reproductive systems and other major issues such as:
The risks of VBAC
There are risks which come with choosing to have a VBAC. Of course the greatest risk is uterine rupture, which, if it occurs, can be life threatening to both you and your baby. However, the chances of this happening are actually quite rare – somewhere around the 1% mark.
Of course the rate does also vary and it usually depends on the type of incision which was used during the cesarean. There are two types of incisions which can be made – classical or transverse incisions, with the classical being more likely to cause complications. Ruptures may also occur more frequently with induced labor rather than natural labor.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) guidelines mandate that women attempting a VBAC should have had no more than two prior low-transverse cesarean deliveries, have clinically adequate pelvises and have no other uterine scar or previous rupture.
The guidelines also require the immediate presence of a physician who is able to monitor and perform an emergency cesarean delivery. As a result, anesthesia must be available, along with the personnel to administer it.
What would make you a good candidate for a VBAC?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you’re a good candidate for a vaginal birth after a c-section if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You’ve had only one previous cesarean delivery and it was done with a low-transverse incision
- Your pelvis seems large enough to allow your baby to safely pass through
- You’ve never had any other uterine surgery
- You’ve never had a uterine rupture
- You have no medical condition or obstetric problem that would make a vaginal delivery risky
- There’s a physician on site who can monitor your labor and perform an emergency c-section if necessary
- There’s an anesthesiologist, other medical personnel and equipment available around-the-clock to handle an
- emergency situation for you and/or your baby
Preparing for VBAC
Labor and childbirth is difficult and will put a lot of strain on your body, so if you choose to have a natural childbirth, prepare yourself. Some of the steps you may want to follow are:
- Ensure that you are healthy and in good condition, this will include following a regular exercise routine and eating a healthy nutritional eating diet
- Take prenatal classes, even if you have taken these classes before with prior pregnancies. They will offer you a support group, give you ideas to help you cope and stay focused during the birth
- Find a doctor or healthcare provider who believes in VBAC