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Cesarean or C-section deliveries are opted for when the life of the baby or the mother is in danger. Only cases with critical health conditions are recommended for cesarean deliveries. The would-be parent’s mind is clouded by many questions related to the complications that may arise at the time of delivery.

Again if the previous child was delivered through a cesarean then it further adds confusion. Even the number of deliveries done with the help of a cesarean makes the case complicated.

But is there an option of normal or vaginal delivery if you had a prior Cesarean section. This is known as “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean” or VBAC.

You’ll need to “push” yourself to a greater extent to bear the labour pain during a vaginal delivery after a cesarean.

Making decisions regarding your child’s birth is an extremely private decision. Some may prefer a home birth experience and some may be interested in a hospital with expert medical staff around. Is the risk involved greater or less? Is cesarean section delivery advisable again or vaginal delivery will be better?  

Do Doctors recommend VBAC?

A c-section is major abdominal surgery and typically leads to a more prolonged recovery time, a greater danger of infection, and a higher likelihood of excess blood loss compared to normal vaginal birth.

VBAC isn’t good for everyone, though. Several factors, such as a high-risk uterine scar, can decrease the probability of VBAC and make VBAC alternatives unsuitable. Some hospitals don’t allow VBAC as they don’t have the medical experts, personnel or resources to manage emergency cesarean.

A previous vaginal delivery is one of the best predictors of a successful VBAC.

An unplanned cesarean can make someone distressed, guilty, and sometimes traumatized. They may not have needed a cesarean for their former birth or births but now they are desiring to undergo a vaginal birth. Or someone had a planned cesarean birth out of choice or for medical reasons and wants to try for a vaginal birth instead.

Consult your doctor for a better understanding of VBAC and the possible complications that could arise during the process.

Why Doctors opt for VBAC?

General reasons for preferring cesarean :

  • Influence on future pregnancies. If you’re intending to have more kids, VBAC might support you dodge the dangers of multiple cesarean deliveries, such as placenta previa or placenta accreta.
  • Lower dangers of surgical complications. Successful VBAC is linked with lower rates of excessive bleeding, infection and blood clotting in one or more of the deep veins in the body (deep vein thrombosis). VBAC also might minimise the risk of surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and damage to abdominal organs, such as the bladder or bowel.
  • Faster recovery. You’ll have to spend lesser days at the hospital after a VBAC compared to the hospital stay required after a repeat C-section. Avoiding surgery will benefit you in resuming your regular activities sooner.
  • Opportunity for a personalized birth plan. For some women, it’s necessary to experience a vaginal delivery.

Are there any risks?

While a successful VBAC is linked with lesser complications compared to an elective repeat C-section, a failed trial of labour after a cesarean is linked with added complications, including, rarely, a uterine rupture. If a scar on the uterus from a prior cesarean tears open during a trial of labour, an emergency C-section is required to counter life-threatening complications for the pregnant woman as well as the fetus. Treatment might require surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). If the uterus is removed, you won’t be able to get pregnant again.

Avoid VBAC in the following conditions:

  • A history of more than two prior cesareans.
  • Previous delivery in the last eighteen months.
  • Recent any surgeries related to uterus.
  • A uterine rupture in the past.
  • If you or your baby have health issue that might affect the success rate of a vaginal delivery.
  • If you require to be induced, which can lower the success rate of a VBAC.

Although VBACs do have inherent risks, so do repeated cesareans. Multiple cesareans raise a person’s possibility of having bowel or bladder damage, hysterectomy, or problems with the placenta in later pregnancies. This is primarily necessary to consider if you’re wishing to get pregnant again in the future.

How to prepare for VBAC?

There are no guarantees in birth, but there are still measures one can exercise to improve the chance of having a successful VBAC. The first step, to begin with, would be finding a supportive provider. 

Not all providers support VBACs for their own reasons. If the doctor is pressing you to have a c-section or doubtful about your capability to have a VBAC outside of medical causes, you may want to consider finding a new provider.

If you’ve previously had a C-section, discuss your concerns and expectations with your doctor. Make sure he or she has your comprehensive medical history, including records of your early cesarean and any other uterine procedures. Your doctor might use your medical history to determine the probability of a successful VBAC.

Also, prepare to deliver the baby at a facility that’s equipped to manage an emergency cesarean. Continue discussing the risks and benefits of VBAC throughout pregnancy, particularly if some risk factors arise.