Written by Lindsay Dauphinee, C.N.M., M.S.N.
A “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean” (VBAC) refers specifically to the process of giving birth vaginally after already having had a birth by Cesarean Section.
Historically, medical opinions about whether or not awoman could attempt a VBAC have gone back and forth. For a long period of time, women and providers alike thought that once a woman had a baby by C-Section they would have to have all future babies the sameway. In more recent years, women having VBACs have been closely studied and there is strong evidence that shows that many women can have a vaginal birth safely.
In thewake of an increasing number of overall babies born by C-Section, more and more women want to know what their options are for their next delivery. Some women are better candidates for a VBAC, and much of that depends on thecircumstancessurrounding the original C-Section. Those who are likely better candidates for VBAC include women who had a C-Section because the baby was breech, because of the position of the placenta or because the baby wasn’t tolerating labor. Women who have a certain type of scar on their uterus and those with a very short amount of time between pregnancies are not candidates for VBAC.
If a woman is a candidate for a VBAC, there are many important things to know when deciding if a VBAC is right for her. There are considerable benefits to mom and baby, including a shorter recovery time, fewer postpartum complications, more immediate bonding and initiating of breastfeeding, and babies who come through the birth canal also adjust better to breathing on the outside.
Having a VBAC can also be important for emotional reasons,especially for those who struggle with the outcome of their previous birth. On the other hand there is a small, but real, risk of uterine rupture (when the scar on the uterus comes apart or opens while the baby is still inside) when a woman attempts a VBAC. For this reason, women choosing a VBAC are monitored closely in labor and must have their delivery in a hospital where a full clinical staff is present at all times in case a C-Section is needed immediately.
Knowing all of your options in order to make an informed decision is important when it comes to the birth of your child. VBAC is not for all women, however, current research supports that it is a safe option following a C-Section for many women.
At Gentle Beginnings, we support natural birth and believe in a woman’s ability to have a baby without medication. Part of our practice is offering a VBAC to those women who are appropriate candidates and who also desire a natural birth. To ensure our mothers’safety, we deliver VBACs at Inspira Medical Menter Vineland because the hospital is staffed with a full clinical team of OB/GYN physicians, anesthesiologists and in-house pediatricians, and also offers an advanced neonatal intensive care unit for babies who need specialized care. Gentle Beginnings has had much success with women attempting a VBAC and are proud to offer this option to women in the area.