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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) - What Affects VBAC Success

Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are different for every woman and difficult to predict. Even if your first pregnancy required a cesarean, the next one may not. The likelihood of a successful vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is influenced by many things. Usually a combination of things affects how well or poorly a trial of labor goes.

Your chances of a successful VBAC are best when:1

  • Your previous cesarean was not done for stalled labor.
  • You do not have the same condition that led to a previous cesarean (such as a breech, or feet-down, fetus).
  • You have had a vaginal delivery or a successful VBAC before.
  • Your labor starts on its own and your cervix dilates well.
  • You are younger than 35.2

Your chances of a successful VBAC are lower when:2

  • Your previous cesarean was because of difficult labor, which is called dystocia. This is especially true if you were fully dilated when you had a cesarean section for dystocia.
  • You are obese.
  • You are older than 35. 2
  • Your fetus is very large [estimated as bigger than 9 lb (4082 g)].
  • You are beyond 40 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Your last pregnancy was less than 18 months ago.

VBAC can be considered for pregnancies with twins.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 29, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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