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Preventive Care
Women’s Health

Having a Vaginal Birth After a C-Section (VBAC)

03 July 2024 · 4 mins read


It is possible to have a vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC). Learn more about its benefits and risks.

Childbirth is a significant journey for women, and choosing the delivery method is a crucial decision.

For many who have had a previous Caesarean section (C-section), the option of a natural birth afterward, known as Vaginal Birth After C-Section (VBAC), is of great interest and concern.

VBAC involves delivering a baby vaginally after a prior C-section. Many women consider this option when planning future pregnancies.

It is essential to have open and honest conversations with your obstetrician, sharing your desires and concerns. He/she will guide and support you throughout, ensuring your birthing experience aligns with your vision while prioritising the safety and well-being of both you and your baby.

Chances of VBAC

Determining whether VBAC is a suitable option for you requires careful consideration and assessment by your obstetrician who will carefully evaluate, discuss the risks and benefits, and provide guidance to you accordingly.

There are several factors that may influence your eligibility for VBAC.

Maternal health considerations

A woman's overall health and any pre-existing medical conditions are crucial when deciding on VBAC. Women with conditions such as diabetes or heart issues are generally not suitable candidates for VBAC. 

Reasons for the previous C-section

The reason for your previous C-section significantly influences your eligibility for VBAC. Factors that require a C-section in your first pregnancy, such as multiple pregnancies or breech presentation, might not recur in your second pregnancy. If these issues are absent, the likelihood of a successful VBAC increases.

Type of previous C-section incision

The type of incision made during your previous C-section affects your VBAC eligibility. Low transverse incisions are generally considered safer for VBAC compared to vertical incisions.

Risks of a Caesarean Section

Compared to vaginal births, C-sections carry a higher risk of developing infection at the incision site, or on the lining of the uterus (endometritis).

Recovery after a C-section is typically longer and may involve more pain and discomfort.

On top of that, multiple C-sections can lead to increased scarring and may increase the risk of placental problems in future pregnancies, also known as placenta praevia, or placenta accreta (the placenta becomes attached to the wall of the uterus).

Advantages and Risks of VBAC

Choosing between a VBAC and a repeat C-section is a critical decision. While VBAC offers certain advantages, it is essential to weigh the risks and benefits carefully. Discuss these thoroughly with your obstetrician to make an informed choice.

Advantages of VBAC Risks of VBAC

Vaginal birth recovery is generally faster and less painful compared to recovering from a C-section, a surgical procedure of an incision in the mother’s abdomen.

Vaginal births are also associated with a reduced risk of infection compared to a c-section.

Vaginal births can facilitate early skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, promoting bonding between the mother and baby.

The risk of complications such as surgical site infections, bleeding, and anaesthesia-related issues is reduced with vaginal births.

One of the most significant concerns is uterine rupture.

Uterine rupture is a rare medical emergency with life-threatening implications. It results in a breach or tear in the uterine and abdominal walls, posing a significant risk of severe blood loss and potential harm for both the mother and the unborn child.

Increasing Your Chances for a VBAC

For women considering VBAC, start by discussing your desire for VBAC with your obstetrician. They can assess your specific situation and provide guidance.

At the meantime, maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, including eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper prenatal care. Educate yourself about the VBAC process, risks, and benefits. Being informed will help you make confident decisions.

Make an Appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

If you have just conceived, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional about your birthing options.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment today to consult with our Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialists, or find out more about our Obstetrics and Gynaecology Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

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