Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
What is a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)?
If you and your doctor agree to try a VBAC, you will have what is called a "trial of labor." This means that you plan to go into labor with the goal to deliver vaginally. But as in any labor, it is hard to know if a VBAC will work. You still may need a C-section. As many as 4 out of 10 women who have a trial of labor need to have a C-section.1
Is a VBAC trial of labor safe to try?
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 VBAC 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.
What are the benefits of a VBAC?
The benefits of a VBAC compared to a C-section include:
What are the risks of VBAC?
The most serious risk of a VBAC is that a C-section scar could come open during labor. This is very rare. But when it does happen, it can be very serious for both the mother and the baby. The risk that a scar will tear open is very low during VBAC when you have just one low cesarean scar and your labor is not started with medicine. This risk is why VBAC is often only offered by hospitals that can do a rapid emergency C-section.
If you have a trial of labor and need to have a C-section, your risk of infection is slightly higher than if you just had a C-section.
Frequently Asked Questions
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.