Just because you had a Cesarean delivery with your first baby, doesn’t automatically mean you can’t deliver vaginally with your next. To explore whether a VBAC is the best option for you, the expert team at Premier Women's Care of South Florida explain the medical considerations that go into this decision.
What is a VBAC?
According to the CDC, 31.9 percent of all deliveries in the U.S. happen via Cesarean section. While the C-section rate has declined each of the last four years, nearly one-third of all women deliver their babies this way. A vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC) is an option for many of these women as long as they meet certain criteria. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, 60 to 80 percent of women who attempt a trial of labor after a C-section (TOLAC) successfully deliver vaginally. A VBAC allows for a shorter recovery time, a chance to have a personalized birth plan, and a decreased risk for future pregnancies if you are planning on having more children.
How do I know I'm a candidate for VBAC?
There are several criteria that determine whether a person is a good candidate for a VBAC:
- You are pregnant with one baby and have had one or two C-sections, and you had a low transverse scar.
- You are pregnant with one baby and have only one prior C-section that did not use a high vertical uterine incision.
- You are pregnant with twins and have one prior low transverse C-section.
Unfortunately, you may not be considered a candidate for VBAC if you:
- Had a high vertical uterine incision on a prior C-section.
- Had a prior uterine rupture.
- Have had uterine surgery.
How will my past labor affect my chances of having a VBAC?
How your body reacted to labor in the past will also affect your chances of being able to have a VBAC. Many physicians, including the providers at Premier Women's Care of Southwest Florida, will look at your medical history, including the circumstances of your last C-section, and let you know if a VBAC is safe for both you and your baby. Some of these prior circumstances may make a VBAC less likely:
- Your labor stalled during your last childbirth experience.
- You are over the age of 35.
- Your body mass index is over 40.
- You experienced preeclampsia during your last pregnancy.
- You had a C-section in your previous delivery less than 18 months ago.
- You have had two or more prior C-section births.
- You need to be induced with this pregnancy, or your pregnancy lasts longer than 40 weeks.
If I am a candidate for VBAC, what can I expect?
Expect to be very closely monitored during labor and delivery. For this reason, the labor leading up to a VBAC must be done at the hospital where the woman will deliver. The biggest risk for complications during a VBAC is uterine rupture. While this is extremely rare (happening in fewer than 1 in 100 cases), the hospital and your providers must be ready to perform an emergency C-section at any time. For this reason, many hospitals and providers will not even attempt a VBAC because of the risk to both mother and baby. Fortunately, the providers at Premier Women's Care of Southwest Florida and their cooperating hospitals believe women should have every option available to them to safely deliver their babies. If you are an otherwise healthy candidate for a VBAC, our providers will do everything in their power to help you safely accomplish your birthing goals.
For more information on VBAC or to see if you are a candidate, call to schedule an appointment today.