Thinking about a Vaginal Birth after C-Section?
If you have experienced a cesarean delivery, you are not alone. In November 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the national cesarean birth rate was the highest ever at 29.1%–more than a quarter of all deliveries.
The rate of cesarean delivery has increased over the past four decades—from 5% in 1970 to 32.3% in 2008—and a contributing factor behind this increase is a decline in the number of vaginal births after cesareans (VBACs).
C-sections are done for variety of reasons ranging from a breech baby to a labor that has stopped well before 10 centimeters dilation to the baby being “in distress”. But most importantly, MOST women have the opportunity to have a normal vaginal delivery with their next pregnancy.
In most published studies, 60-80%–roughly 3 to 4 out of 5–women who have previously undergone cesarean birth can successfully give birth vaginally. After reading the following information (and links below) and discussing the possibility with your health care provider, you should be able to make an informed decision about the option of VBAC.
Looking at the benefits:
Many women are already aware of the multiple benefits of Trial of Labor after C-section (TOLAC) and ultimately Vaginal Birth After C-section (VBAC). But here is a list of the benefits!
The benefits of a VBAC compared to a C-section include:
- Avoiding another scar on your uterus. This is important if you are planning on a future pregnancy. The more scars you have on your uterus, the greater the chance of problems with a later pregnancy.
- Less pain after delivery.
- Fewer days in the hospital and a shorter recovery at home.
- A lower risk of infection.
- A more active role for you and your birthing partner in the birth of your child.
VBAC and the Risk of Uterine Rupture:
The greatest concern for women who have had a previous cesarean is the risk of uterine rupture during a vaginal birth. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), if you had a previous cesarean with a low transverse incision, the risk of uterine rupture in a vaginal delivery is .2 (chance of 1 in 500) to 1.5% (chance of 1 to 2 in 100).
Some studies have documented increased rates of uterine rupture in women who undergo labor induction or augmentation. You should discuss the possible complications associated with induction with your health care provider. Recently, ACOG stated that VBAC is safer than a repeat cesarean, and VBAC with more than one previous cesarean does not pose any increased risk.