What is VBAC? All About Vaginal Birth After C-Section
Are you considering having a VBAC? While it shows good rates of success, it may not be for everyone and you may have some concerns about it if you will want to go over with your doctor.
To help you decide, read on as we talk more about VBAC, from its pros and cons down to how you can prepare for it.
What Is VBAC?
VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. If you have delivered a baby via C-section and are pregnant again, you can choose between a repeat C-section or VBAC, if your obstetrician feels it is safe for you.
Many women have tried labor and a vaginal delivery after cesarean, which is possible and with a success rate of around 70%, in some studies.
Why Do VBAC?
Many women choose a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), because:
• It can help prevent risks from multiple cesarean deliveries, like placenta accreta or placenta previa. This is beneficial for women who plan to have more children in the future
• There are fewer and lower risks of any surgical complications that come with C-section delivery. Successful VBAC procedures are associated with lower rates of infection, blood clotting, and excessive bleeding. It may also decrease risks of requiring a hysterectomy and injury to one’s abdominal organs, like the bowel or bladder
• There is a shorter recovery time when undergoing a VBAC versus a C-section, meaning a shorter hospital stay and shorter wait time before you can go back to your normal activities
• It gives you the chance to experience a vaginal delivery
Those who are the best candidates for VBAC are the following:
• Those pregnant with one baby and has had a history of 1-2 low transverse C-sections without problems that prevent VBAC
• Those pregnant with one baby and have had a history of one C-section that underwent an unknown uterine incision type without problems that prevent VBAC. *This is unless your doctor suspects you have had a high vertical, or classical, uterine incision
• Those pregnant with twins and have a history of one low transverse C-section and are a good candidate for twin vaginal delivery
Prior vaginal delivery is also a great predictor of a successful VBAC procedure.
However, there are also those who are not candidates for VBAC, such as women having risk factors that decrease the chance of a successful VBAC. It’s best to check with your healthcare provider to see if you are an eligible candidate.
The Risks of VBAC
While there are numerous benefits from having a VBAC, there are also risk to consider.
If you experience a failed TOLAC, there may be more complications, such as uterine rupture. Though not to worry, as this is very rare and only happens to less than 1% of those who attempt a TOLAC. A uterine rupture occurs when the cesarean scar on your uterus opens.
This risk is life-threatening for both you and the baby, and an emergency C-section is required to prevent any life-threatening complications if this happens. Your doctor may need to remove your uterus and perform a hysterectomy if this occurs. This is another reason why it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, as well as discuss the risks and success rates with your doctor, before choosing to do a VBAC.
How to Prepare For VBAC
If you do choose to undergo a VBAC, you can prepare by talking about it with your healthcare provider. Discuss all your concerns and know what you can expect during VBAC. Submit your complete medical history, especially those that include records from your previous C-sections and other uterine procedures that may have been done.
The healthcare provider will use your medical history to calculate the success rate of your expected VBAC. As long as you provide complete information and follow your doctors' advice, you can have a successful VBAC with no complications. Good luck!