Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Besides the usual prenatal tests, your doctor will take measures to assess whether vaginal delivery is likely to be a safe birthing option for you. (For more information on standard prenatal tests, see the topic Pregnancy.) These extra measures can help you and your doctor make a well-informed decision about your delivery.
Assessments done sometime during the pregnancy to help find out whether vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe option may include:
What to Expect
Information, preparation, and teamwork are needed for a successful vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
Childbirth and VBAC education
To prepare for labor, consider taking a childbirth education class at your local hospital or clinic. You and your birthing partner can learn:
Other than requiring closer monitoring, labor for a VBAC is the same as normal labor. During early labor, a woman can remain as active and mobile as she wants. There are no specific restrictions for VBAC until active labor begins. During the active period of labor, continuous fetal heart monitoring is done to watch for early signs of fetal distress or uterine rupture. (For more information, see the Exams and Tests section of this topic.)
For more information about labor and delivery, see the topic Labor, Delivery, and Postpartum Period.
Medicines for starting or strengthening VBAC labor
As the end of pregnancy nears, the cervix normally becomes soft and begins to open (dilate) and thin (efface), preparing for labor and delivery. When labor does not naturally start on its own, labor may be started artificially (induced).
Some doctors avoid the use of any medicine to start (induce) a VBAC trial of labor, because they are concerned about uterine rupture. Other doctors are comfortable with the careful use of oxytocin (Pitocin) to start labor when the cervix is soft and opening (dilating).
If your labor slows or stops progressing, your doctor may use oxytocin to strengthen (augment) contractions.
As with most vaginal births, most women who choose VBAC can safely use pain medicine during labor.
Pain medicine usually is started when the cervix has opened (dilated) 3 cm (1.2 in.) to 4 cm (1.6 in.). Types of pain medicines used include:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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