The old adage goes…once a C-section, always a C-section.
Yet, is another C-section always the only option? Not necessarily! Many doctors are now suggesting that mothers who have undergone a C-section during a prior pregnancy opt for VBAC during later pregnancies. VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) is when a woman gives birth vaginally after having previously given birth via C-section. This includes birth assisted by forceps or ventouse.
There are several factors your doctor will consider when deciding if you could potentially be suitable for a VBAC.
• The reason for the caesarean delivery during a past pregnancy?
• The type of cut that was made in your uterus.
• How the mother felt about your previous birth. Were there any concerns?
• Whether the current pregnancy has been straightforward or met with problems or complications?
There are several advantages to opting for VBAC, including a greater chance of an uncomplicated birth in future pregnancies, shorter recovery time and less abdominal pain after birth. Also, because there is no cut to the uterus, there is no risk of infection from surgery.
There are factors which can make the chance of a successful vaginal birth less likely. These include never having experienced a vaginal birth previously, needing to be induced or the mother having a body mass index over 30 at booking. With VBAC, there is also the chance that the scar on the uterus, from a previous C-section, will weaken or even rupture. The risk increases depending on how many scars exist however, this only happens in approx 0.5% of women. Also, the risk of a baby dying or being brain damaged during VBAC is no higher than if a mother were labouring for the first time, but it is higher than an elective repeat caesarean delivery. These risks are more likely in women who attempt VBAC and are unsuccessful.
A C-section is a completely acceptable (and sometimes necessary) method of giving birth. However sometimes, despite what the myths tell us, it’s not the only safe option for a mother who wants to experience a traditional vaginal birth. To find out more about debunked C-section myths click here.
If you are considering VBAC for your pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife to see if you are suitable for this birthing method.