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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery (cont.)

What is the prognosis for a woman having VBAC?

Many women who have had a previous cesarean delivery can successfully deliver their next babies vaginally if they:

  • had low-transverse uterine incisions with previous cesarean deliveries;
  • are closely monitored by skilled medical staff in a facility with the capability of performing an emergency cesarean; or
  • are at low risk for uterine rupture.

What is the history of vaginal birth after C-section?

In 1916 Dr. E. B. Cragin advised the New York Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "Once a cesarean, always a cesarean." Over the next 60 years, most obstetricians advised their patients accordingly. This was believed to be the safest management for women who had undergone a prior a cesarean delivery.

Cesarean delivery, also known as cesarean section, is a major abdominal operation involving two incisions. The first is an incision through the skin and abdominal wall and the second is an incision into the uterus to deliver the baby. While at times necessary to insure the safety of the mother or the baby, cesarean childbirth is not a procedure to be undertaken lightly by either the doctor or the expectant mother. Many women who have had prior cesarean sections wish to deliver their next baby vaginally. Vaginal childbirth occurs when the baby is delivered normally through the vagina canal.

By 1988, a quarter of all infants were delivered by cesarean section. Very few babies were delivered vaginally if the mother had undergone a previous cesarean. To curb the increasing rate of cesarean birth, both the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encouraged doctors to allow women to try to deliver her baby vaginally if she had undergone a prior cesarean delivery.

REFERENCE: Cunningham, F. G., et al. "Patient information: Vaginal birth after cesarean delivery (VBAC) (Beyond the Basics)." UpToDate. Updated Apr 24, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2016
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