Why consider VBAC?
There are a number of reasons a mother may try to have a VBAC, both physically and mentally.
- Shorter recovery time. Women who have vaginal births typically have shorter hospital stays and bounce back quicker from childbirth.
- To have the birthing experience. Many women who have c-sections experience feelings of guilt or grief over not getting to deliver vaginally.
- Impact on future pregnancies. Having more than one c-section reduces the chance of having a successful VBAC in the future. Having multiple c-sections also increases the risk of stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight and placenta problems.
- Vaginal birth is safer than c-section. This is true for both mother and baby.
Who is a good candidate for a VBAC?
The ideal candidate for a successful vaginal birth after cesarean:
- Has had only one c-section with a low transverse incision
- Both mother and baby are healthy and progressing normally
- The reason for the previous c-section is no longer a factor
- Labor begins naturally on or before the due date
- Has had a previous successful vaginal delivery
What are the risks?
The biggest concern regarding vaginal birth after c-section is the risk of uterine rupture. Uterine rupture is when the uterus tears open where the scar is from the previous pregnancy. If a uterine rupture occurs, an emergency c-section will need to be performed to prevent some life-threatening outcomes including heavy bleeding and infection in the mother and possible brain damage for the baby. Sometimes, the uterus might need to be removed to stop the bleeding, which would prevent any future pregnancies. The risk of uterine rupture is less than 1% in women with a low transverse scar, occurring in less than 5 women out off 1,000. The risk of uterine rupture lowers with each successful VBAC.