There is a common misconception surrounding cesarean section regarding the possibility of successive births without abdominal surgery, which states any woman who has previously given birth via c-section must undergo the procedure for each delivery thereafter. While vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, does require a bit of additional care, it is possible for many women to give birth vaginally even after previously delivering via cesarean section.
Benefits of VBAC
While cesarean section can be the only safe and effective way of delivering a baby under certain circumstances, there are drawbacks to unnecessary cesarean section. This major abdominal surgery will require a longer hospital stay for post-partum mothers, along with a longer recovery time and the increased likelihood of post-operative complications. Even if you’ve previously delivered by c-section, vaginal delivery isn’t necessarily out of the question and may be a viable delivery option.
Possible VBAC Risks
When attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean, there is an elevated risk of uterine rupture. This means you’ll need to give birth at a facility well-equipped to handle the possibility of an emergency c-section, along with the complications of uterine rupture as a precaution. Should a uterine rupture occur, immediate medical attention will be required in order to ensure your safety and that of your infant. In extreme cases with heavy bleeding, an emergency hysterectomy may be required.
Attempting a VBAC can reduce the length of your recovery time and hospital stay, but will require the care and attention of a prenatal care provider experienced with VBAC procedure. If you’re interested in giving birth vaginally after a previous birth via c-section, make sure you discuss this desire with your midwife or obstetrician to determine whether you’re a good VBAC candidate.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates