Delivering via VBAC: What Moms should Know

Can CS moms still have a vaginal birth? 🤰🏻

Image Credit: Unsplash/Anastasiia Chepinska

Can moms who gave birth via CS still have a vaginal birth?

It’s common to hear the phrase: “Once a C-section, always a C-section,” but does it ring true for everyone today?

Not necessarily because for most mothers, VBAC can be an option. Just like Shamcey Supsup is one. But what exactly is VBAC?

VBAC or Vaginal Birth After C-Section is a choice offered to moms who might be considering giving birth vaginally to their next child after having a C-section in their prior pregnancy. And it is considered a safe option as studies have shown a 60-80% success rate for women who attempt a VBAC. However, not all doctors or hospitals can do a VBAC, and it is not recommended for all moms.

Can I opt to do a VBAC for my next birth?

If you’re wondering if you’re a good candidate for a VBAC, here are a few factors that might improve your chances:

  • You’ve had a previous vaginal delivery or even a successful VBAC.
  • If you are younger than 35 years old: Studies have found that moms who are younger than 35 were more successful and had fewer complications during a VBAC.
  • If you have a low-transverse/horizontal uterine incision for your C-section – this is the optimal incision for VBAC.
  • If your previous C-section was performed for the baby’s health and not because of labor process reasons. This includes if your baby was in a breech position or had abnormal fetal heart rate tracing.

What are the benefits of VBAC?

Moms are considering VBAC because aside from the fact that C-sections can be riskier compared to vaginal births, repeat C-sections also have a higher risk for complications such as infection, injury to other organs, abnormal placenta implantation, and placenta previa. At the same time, a successful VBAC has the following benefits:

  • It doesn’t require surgery
  • It entails less blood loss compared to a C-section
  • You’ll recover faster
  • Lower risk for infection
  • You are less likely to suffer any injuries to your bladder or bowel
  • You are less likely to encounter problems with future childbirths

What are the risks associated with VBAC?

One of the main risks associated with VBAC is uterine rupture, which is rare but potentially dangerous. This is a tear in the wall of the uterus which often occurs at the site of the previous C-section incision. This can then have potentially serious consequences to mothers – including blood transfusions and hysterectomy. At the same time, there are also risks to the unborn child which can be caused by decreased blood flow.

A failed VBAC which results in an emergency C-section is also risky.

Is there anything moms can do to increase their chances for a successful VBAC?

You can increase your chances to successfully have a VBAC by:

  • Talk to your doctor about VBAC early in the pregnancy. It is important to get a doctor and even a hospital who knows your medical history and who are willing to support you in your VBAC attempt. And it’s best to know and establish this early on in your pregnancy.
  • Manage your weight. A study showed that overweight women who lost at least 1 body mass index unit increased their chances for a successful VBAC. So talk to your doctor about staying active or managing your weight during your pregnancy.
  • Trust your body. The success rate of VBAC increases if you go into labor on your own. The risk for uterine rupture slightly increases for induced labor.

Ultimately, it’s best to consult and work with your doctor to ensure that you and your baby stay safe.

References: UT Southwestern Medical Center, WebMD, MayoClinic 


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