Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) - What to Think About
Any woman in labor—not just one
vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)—might have
complications during childbirth that require a
cesarean section delivery.
If there is no
medical reason for a cesarean, vaginal delivery is generally a safe option for
both mother and baby. It is common, though, to fear going through labor after
having had a cesarean delivery. This is especially true for women who have
tried a vaginal birth but, after a long and difficult labor, ended up
delivering by cesarean.
The ultimate decision to try a vaginal birth is made by you
and your doctor. If you want to try a VBAC but your doctor is not in favor of
your choice and does not have a clear reason, consider getting a second
If you are considering VBAC, talk
with your doctor about:
- The risks of vaginal and cesarean deliveries in
your case. Here are some points to keep in mind:
- Serious complications with either vaginal
or cesarean births are uncommon.
- A cesarean section is a surgical
procedure and requires the use of anesthesia. Any surgery carries a risk of
infection, excessive blood loss, and problems caused by the
- Women who need a cesarean after a trial of labor
have a higher rate of infection than those who have a cesarean without a
trial of labor.
- Whether your doctor will be available in the
hospital throughout your labor and whether the hospital has facilities for an
emergency cesarean delivery.
- The possibility that a trial of labor
may end in cesarean delivery.
- How and at what point during labor
the decision is made to do a repeat cesarean.
- Which types of pain
medicine or anesthesia you may use during labor and delivery or during a
- Your specific risk factors for
uterine rupture during VBAC and the possible
complications of a rupture, such as removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).