Having a VBAC - Vaginal Birth after a Cesarean Section
This handout is designed to help our patients decide whether to attempt a vaginal birth after a cesarean section or C section, or to have a repeat C section instead.
Why should I think about having a VBAC?
Even if you have had a C section in the past, you may be able to have a VBAC in the future. The success rates of women trying VBAC range between 60 and 80% in reported studies.
The benefits of VBAC include
- Shorter recovery time
- No surgery needed
- Lower risk for infection
- Less blood loss and need for transfusion
- Less risk of pregnancy complications that go along with having more than one C section
Why would I choose to have a repeat C section instead?
- Avoid the risk of uterine rupture (seperation of the uterine scar), which may injure the infant or result in hysterectomy
- Avoid the chance that you will go through most of labor, and still need a C section
- Ease of having a scheduled birth
Who can have a VBAC?
Women who have had a C section through a low transverse incision on the uterus (not the same as the incision on the skin) can likely have a VBAC. We will need to obtain the operative report of your prior C section to confirm this.
Some reasons women may not be able to try VBAC include
- If your baby is not head down
- If you are having twins
- If the placenta is covering the cervix (placenta previa)
- If you have had more than one C section
- If your former doctor advised against having a future VBAC
What are the risks of trying VBAC?
- Emergency C section
- Risks to your health
- Risks to baby’s health
- There is more risk if C section needs to be done after an attempt at labor compared to having a planned repeat C section
How can these risks be decreased?
- Fetal monitoring, lab work (to include blood count and typing) and intravenous line (IV) while in labor
- Prevent induction, by using certain medicines known as prostaglandins
- Delivery in a hospital and with a doctor able to recognize and manage problems
- Avoid prolonged labor, and proceed to repeat C section if problems arise
What can increase my chances of having a successful VBAC?
- Labor that starts on its own
- Labor before the due date
- A history of a successful vaginal delivery in the past
- Good prenatal care, that includes a healthy diet and exercise
All types of deliveries, vaginal and cesarean, are subject to risks. Keep in mind that most women and their babies have happy and healthy outcomes.
Discuss these issues, your concerns, and your obstetric history with our Ob/Gyn doctors to set a plan that you are both at ease with and agree to follow. If you are seeing a family doctor while pregnant and choose to have a repeat C section with our doctors, you will be asked to transfer your prenatal care to the Ob/Gyn practice.
UW Health- Managed OB Clinics
UW Health East OB/GYN Clinic
5249 E Terrace Pkwy
Madison WI 53718
UW Health West
451 Junction Rd
Madison, WI 53717
UWMF- Managed OB Clinics
20 S. Park, Suite 307
Madison, WI 53715
4122 East Towne Blvd.
Madison, WI 53704
7102 Mineral Point Rd.
Madison, WI 53717
5543 East Cheryl Parkway
Fitchburg, WI 53711
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 11/02/2011
Copyright © 11/02/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6687
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