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VBAC: What You Need to Know

What is VBAC?

VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean, refers to delivering a child vaginally after having delivered a child by C-section in a prior pregnancy. Cesarean sections are more prevalent than one may assume; 32.7% of all deliveries in America are by C-section. Many hospitals today require women who have had C-sections to only deliver future children by C-section despite research findings that suggest VBAC could be a viable or even safer option. The Family Birthing Center at CHI St. Luke’s Health–Sugar Land Hospital offers the option of having a VBAC to provide healthy and happy experiences for mothers and their newborns.

What are the benefits of VBAC?

Women who opt for VBAC do not require abdominal surgery. This means they have a lower risk of infection, hemorrhaging, and injury to organs. Having a VBAC leads to a faster recovery and a higher chance of being able to have more children. According to the CDC, the risk of complications is significantly less for VBACs compared to repeat cesareans.

What are the risks? 

75% of VBAC attempts are successful. Before having a VBAC, women are given a trial of labor after cesarean delivery (TOLAC). The risks of having a TOLAC are similar to the risks of having another C-section. These include infection, hemorrhaging, blood clots, uterine rupture, and the possibility of needing a hysterectomy.

Am I a candidate for VBAC?

VBAC may be a safe option for women who received low-transverse incisions, the most common incisions, during their C-sections. This means that the incision was across the uterus in the direction of its base. Women who are having twins are also candidates for VBAC. Calculate the likelihood of your ability to have a VBAC with this VBAC calculator. Talk to your obstetrician to see if you should consider VBAC.

 

Sources:

NIH

CDC

CDC FastStats

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