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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery (VBAC)

Vaginal Birth after C-Section Quick Overview

Patient Comments
  • Formerly, women who had given birth by Cesarean section (C-section) were always managed with a Cesarean birth in subsequent pregnancies.
  • Today, it is understood that many women can undergo a healthy vaginal birth after a previous C-section (VBAC).
  • Woman who wishes to attempt VBAC will be evaluated to determine if she is a suitable candidate.
  • Most women who attempt VBAC are successful.
  • Women attempting VBAC must be carefully monitored during labor, and if complications arise, a C-section must be performed.
  • Some factors make a successful VBAC less likely, including large infant size, women weighing over 200 pounds, and women over the age of 35.
  • The risk of uterine rupture is the principal risk of VBAC.
  • The type of incision used during a previous C-section is important to determine whether a woman should be offered VBAC.

Can I deliver my baby vaginally if I've had a C-section delivery previously?

Under certain conditions, it is now acceptable for women to attempt a trial of labor (an attempt to deliver the baby vaginally after a previous C-section) in order to complete a vaginal delivery. Many women now have a successful vaginal birth after cesarean (known as VBAC). If the trial of labor is unsuccessful, the woman then undergoes a cesarean birth. Studies have shown that the majority of women who attempt VBAC will be successful. However, the number of babies born vaginally after C-section appears to have peaked, and the percentage of cesarean deliveries is again on the rise.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery (VBAC):

Vaginal Birth after Cesarean Delivery - Uterine Rupture

Did you experience uterine rupture during VBAC, if so, please share your experience.

Vaginal Birth after Cesarean Delivery - Experience

Did you give birth vaginally after a Cesarean delivery? Please describe your experience.

Is a Trial of Labor Safe?

Having a vaginal birth after having a C-section can be a safe choice for most women. Whether it is right for you depends on several things, including why you had a C-section before and how many C-sections you've had. You and your doctor can talk about your risk for having problems during a trial of labor.

A woman who chooses VBAC is closely monitored. As with any labor, if the mother or baby shows signs of distress, an emergency cesarean section is done.


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