Since you are reading this, chances are you have already been pregnant. And further, chances are with that first pregnancy you had a Cesarean Section. Now you are wondering what is a VBAC? VBAC stands for vaginal birth after a Cesarean. So, if you did have a Cesarean Section, there is still a possibility that you can have a vaginal birth with your next pregnancy.
There are things to talk about and consider when it comes to a VBAC though. So you should be informed before making this decision. I’ll try and help you but you should also talk with your husband and doctor before making this decision!
Guidelines for Having a VBAC
Typically, for having a VBAC there are some guidelines. Again, this should be a decision that you and your healthcare provider will make together. So, you should be talking about all of this with whoever will be delivering your baby. This is just to get you starting with what to expect.
So, for the most part here is what you should be looking for if you want to have a VBAC:
- low-transverse uterine incision from your Cesarean Section birth (if your incision (or the scar from it) is on the upper part of your uterus, you probably don’t want a VBAC – but again, talk with your doctor about this)
- your uterus doesn’t have scar tissue or it hasn’t ruptured
- you don’t have any pelvic problems and your pelvis is wide enough to handle a vaginal birth
Also, I would recommend that if you want to attempt a VBAC, don’t do it at home. Don’t try a home birth. Since the vaginal birth has a higher risk (since you previously had a C-Section) it is much safer to deliver in a hospital. You could also do a birth center but I would still highly recommend delivering in a hospital because of the risk involved.
Reasons to Consider a VBAC
You may be thinking about why you would even consider having a vaginal birth after you have already had a C-Section. For many moms, this thought scares them. You have already had a C-Section and that is what you and your body is used to. And you might be thinking the risks are too high to try a vaginal birth. But, there are benefits not only for you, but also for your baby to having a vaginal birth. Let’s look at some of those.
Benefits of VBAC for momma:
- no major surgery (which means you don’t need to recover from a major surgery either)
- a shorter stay in the hospital, typically
- lower risk of infection
- your need for a blood transfusion decreases
- typically, you will have a faster recovery
- easier to breastfeed
Benefits of VBAC for your baby:
- fluid is pushed out of your baby’s lungs when they come through the birth canal, so it is easier for them to breathe
- more contact & quicker contact with you, momma, right after birth
- you are able to breastfeed right away
- easier for your little one to breastfeed
Risks of Having a VBAC
Of course, there are risks of trying to have a vaginal birth after you’ve previously had a C-Section. Most women are successful when trying VBAC (60-80%) but again, there are always risks. I would recommend talking with your healthcare provider on this because they know you better and your situation. So they will be able to talk about the risks in more detail specifically for you.
You do have an increased risk of uterine rupture (a tear or opening in the uterus) which happens with about 1% of women who try VBAC.
Since you have only had a C-Section, you might be wondering about how you can control pain with a vaginal delivery. The options are very similar with what you had with your C-Section. In fact, you may have already had some of these if you started your labor with a vaginal birth in mind but ended with an emergency C-Section.
Regardless, you have options to help control your pain with a vaginal delivery. The most common is an epidural. With this option, your doctor will insert a catheter into your lower back and the tip of the catheter will rest in the area right outside of your spinal cord. The medication to ease your pain will be delivered through this catheter.
What is the Right Decision?
Totally up to you! There are benefits and risks to both (VBAC or C-Section). Talk things through with people. You husband, your doctor, other moms who have gone through it. There is no “right decision”. Just make the decision that works best with you, your body and your pregnancy! When it comes to a VBAC, it won’t differ much from if this were your first vaginal birth. You will do everything the same, although your healthcare provider will probably just monitor you more closely. Especially your little one’s heartbeat. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong, it will just let them know if and when you need to do another c-section.
Some other things to think about when considering a VBAC vs a repeat c-section are the size of your baby, your blood pressure and your baby’s position. The size of your baby and, as mentioned before, your body type – this can help determine if you should try for a VBAC or not. If your baby is large and your pelvis is smaller than most, you will probably have a much harder time with a successful VBAC. Your baby’s position can also affect this. If they are breech, your healthcare provider might not be very comfortable with trying a VBAC. There are a number of tricks they can try to flip your baby but again, this isn’t always successful and it is just an added situation for you to think about.
Overall, just be educated when making your decision. Talk with other mommas who have done this before. And go into your labor & delivery with an open mind. If you are trying for a VBAC, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t end up the way you want it to. Always keep in the front of your mind that the most important thing is that your baby comes healthy and safe, no matter how that happens.
So, who of my mommas have tried for a VBAC? Was it successful? Do you have any advice? Leave a comment below!
All the best,