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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Is VBAC the right choice for you?

Vaginal birth after cesarean (or VBAC) is safe for many women and their babies. There may be some risks and not everyone is appropriate for a VBAC, so it is important to discuss your personal medical history with your health care provider.

Benefits of VBAC

The majority (60-80%) of women who attempt a VBAC are successful. The benefits of a VBAC include:

  • No need for surgery
  • Shorter recovery time than after a c-section
  • Lower risk of infection, blood, loss, or other complications related to a c-section.

Can I have a VBAC?

You may be able to have a VBAC if:

  • You had at least one vaginal birth prior to your c-section.
  • Your c-section was performed for a reason that is not a concern in the current pregnancy (for example, the baby was breech).
  • You had a low transverse incision. This means the cut was made from side-to-side on your lower abdomen. This is the most common kind of c-section incision.
  • You and your baby are healthy.
  • Your labor starts on its own, before your due date.

Who should not have a VBAC?

A VBAC may not be a safe choice if:

  • Your c-section was not done by a low transverse incision. Other types of c-section incisions aren’t safe for VBAC.
  • There are any problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa.
  • You have certain health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or genital herpes.
  • You are pregnant with multiples (twins or more).
  • You have had two or more c-sections but have never had a vaginal birth.
  • Your labor is induced.
  • You are past your due date.
  • Your baby is very large.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that providers should offer VBAC to all women with healthy pregnancies who are good candidates for VBAC and who don’t have any of the complications listed above.

But ACOG also says that providers should do VBACs only in hospitals and facilities that have certain emergency care services. These services may not be available everywhere, so some providers and hospitals may not offer VBAC.

If you think you may be a good candidate for a VBAC, make sure you talk to your health care provider. Together you can decide what the best choice is for you and your baby.

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