VBAC—or vaginal birth after Cesarean—is a complex and controversial topic that all mothers face if they become pregnant after a C-section. Although doctors once thought that giving birth vaginally was too dangerous after a C-section, many obstetricians now recommend it. There is no single right answer for every woman. If you’re interested in VBAC, talk to your obstetrician in Arlington Heights about your preferences for giving birth and what is realistic for you. Here is what you need to know about the risks of VBAC and factors to consider when making your choice.
The Risks of VBAC
The biggest risk of VBAC is uterine rupture. During a vaginal delivery, the incision from the previous C-section could reopen, which could put the life of both mother and baby in jeopardy. Fortunately, uterine rupture is rare. Depending on the location of the initial incision, uterine rupture occurs in about 1.5% of VBAC cases . However, the stakes are so high that obstetricians may be reluctant to accept VBAC as an acceptable birth plan if there are other risk factors in place. For instance, uterine ruptures are more common after multiple C-sections and in women who are older. The risk of rupture is also greater if a woman must be induced.
Deciding if VBAC Is Right for You
Your obstetrician will review your birth options with you in full, including the idea of VBAC. If VBAC is your preference, your doctor will consider several different factors, including your age, your pre-existing health conditions, the size of your baby, and how many C-sections you’ve had in the past, before deciding if it is safe for you. To be eligible for a VBAC, you generally must have no uterine scars except for those from a past C-section, and you can’t have the reason for your previous C-section present in this pregnancy. The baby must also be head down and a size that is appropriate for vaginal delivery.