Until a few years ago, a normal vaginal delivery after a cesarean delivery was unheard of. However, things have changed with the advancements in the medical science and medical practitioners taking pains to do things differently. A vaginal birth after a cesarean delivery (VBAC) has now become quite a phenomenon in some centres.
Though the acceptance of VBAC is increasing, people still have unanswered questions and some misconceptions that have not let it become a popular procedure.
So here is all you need to know about VBAC:
What is vaginal birth after a cesarean section?
If you have had a c-section delivery of your child, you can opt to deliver your next child through a normal vaginal delivery. This procedure is known as vaginal birth or delivery after a cesarean section.
No one can guarantee that the subsequent delivery would be vaginal. As a matter of fact, you will be asked to take a trial of labour after a previous cesarean delivery (TOLAC). This means that, under the assistance of your medical team, you would try to deliver vaginally. However, they would also be prepared to perform a c-section in case if the need arises.
What are the advantages of VBAC?
Vaginal birth has some advantages in comparison to repeat cesarean delivery. They are:
- If planning for more than two children, VBAC may avoid future c-section deliveries and their complications
- Quicker recovery and shorter stay in the hospital
- Reduces the risk of infections
- Reduces the risk of needing blood transfusion
What are my chances of VBAC?
Your chances for a successful VBAC would depend on many factors. Your doctor would evaluate the progress of your pregnancy and then decide whether to go for VBAC or not. Some of the points that are favourable for VBAC are:
- You have a normal healthy pregnancy
- The size of the baby is normal
- The head of the baby is positioned downwards
- The reason for the previous c-section is not repeated this time
- You do not have more than one c-section deliveries
- The previous c-section is done by a low transverse cut
- There are no extrauterine scars
- You go into labour before the due date
What could go against a VBAC?
Depending on the status of your pregnancy, your doctor may advise against a VBAC if:
- You have had more than two c-section deliveries
- The size of the baby is very large
- You have surpassed your due date
- You developed pregnancy-related complications in the last trimester
What are the risks associated with VBAC?
- The greatest risk of vaginal birth after a c-section is the rupture of the uterine scar which may put the life of the mother and the baby in danger.
- You may need a blood transfusion if the attempt for vaginal delivery fails.
- You may be at an increased risk of a uterus infection.
- You will have to undergo an emergency cesarean delivery if VBAC fails.
How do I prepare myself?
If you plan to try out vaginal delivery after a previous cesarean delivery, you should start preparing yourself mentally.
Follow these tips to help you deal with VBAC:
- Wait for the labour pains, and closely monitor your pregnancy in the last trimester.
- Choose a well-equipped hospital and an experienced doctor.
- Be prepared for a cesarean delivery if the trial for the vaginal delivery does not go as per the plan. After all, a healthy baby is more precious than anything else.
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- VBAC: Vaginal birth after caesarean – NCT – Accessed on 15 March 2016 – https://www.nct.org.uk/birth/vaginal-birth-after-caesarean-vbac
- Vaginal birth after cesarean delivery – deciding on a trial of labor after cesarean delivery – the american college of obstetrician and gynaecologist – accessed on 15 March 2016 – https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq070.pdf
- Vaginal birth after C-section – Medline Plus – Accessed on 15 March 2016 – https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000589.htm
- VBAC: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean – American pregnancy association – Accessed on 15 March 2016 – http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/vbac/
- VBAC or repeat C section – childbirth connection – Accessed on 15 March 2016 – http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10210
- 13 myths about VBAC – VBAC facts – Accessed on 15 March 2016 – http://vbacfacts.com/