Ngozi dreaded the possibility of another C-section. Although the last one was successful, she desperately wanted a vaginal birth this time. In addition, she considered one surgery to be more than enough.
There are two major means of giving birth in today’s world. The more common one is the vaginal birth. This involves the mother pushing out the baby from the uterus through the vagina.
The Caesarean method (C/S) involves the doctor making a cut in the belly and uterus and the baby is delivered via this means. Under certain conditions, the doctor may recommend you having a C/S instead of a vaginal birth.
Quite a number of women, like Ngozi, prefer a vaginal birth for their next pregnancy after Caesarean Section (VBAC). Thankfully, this is acheivable.
According to a study done in the United States, seven out of ten women who opted for a vaginal delivery after a C/S had successful deliveries.
As usual, we’re here to guide you and supply all the relevant info you need on this journey.
What is VBAC?
VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean. It is a term that connotes having a vaginal birth (delivery) after a previous delivery through a Caesarean section.
VBAC is not right for everyone though. Some factors put some women at risk of some complications if they go for VBAC. The first step in the VBAC process is a meeting with your doctor to determine the possibility of it working out.
Things To Consider Before Opting For A VBAC
1. The Incision
This refers to the type of incision (cut) made on your uterus (womb) during the previous C-section. It is important to note that this incision differs from the one made on your skin during the procedure.
The direction of cut made on your uterus largely determines the possibility of a VBAC. If you had a transverse incision (a side-to-side cut) across the lower, thinner part of your womb, you’re more likely to have a successful VBAC.
2. Number of Previous C-sections
This follows a simple rule; The more C-sections you’ve had, the lower the chances of a successful VBAC.
3. Health Factors
Sometimes, medical tests reveal that a vaginal birth may be risky for you and your baby. Examples include whether you are obese, have pre-eclampsia. As a result, your doctor may insist on another C-section.
4. Number of Developing Babies
Here’s another simple rule; The more the babies, the more the push.
Delivering multiple babies can cause an obvious strain, making the vaginal birth process more difficult. Therefore, a woman carrying multiple pregnancies following a C-section birth may have to undergo another C-section.
5. Your Baby’s Weight
The larger your baby, the least likely a VBAC will be successful and thus it may not be offered.
What Are The Benefits Of VBAC?
1. No surgery.
This is definitely a big relief to most women. A vaginal birth after C-section simply means that no cut will be made on your body.
2. Shorter Recovery Time.
In clear terms, the recovery process for a vaginal birth is shorter than what is required after a C-section. This affords you more time to spend with your little one and loved ones.
3. Lower risk of infection.
With vaginal delivery, you’re at a lower risk of contracting any infection.
4. Minimal blood loss.
Thankfully, blood loss in a vaginal delivery is minimal compared to a C-section.
What Are The Risks?
- Uterine Rupture: During the process of labour after a previous C-section birth, the womb faces a small risk of tear. This arises as a result of unhealed cuts or high-risk incisions. However, this is a rare occurrence.
- A Possible Return To C-section: During a vaginal birth, unplanned situations may force your doctors to fall back to a C-section in order to preserve both lives (You & Your Baby).
How Can You Prepare for a VBAC?
First things first! Consult with your doctor at the first antenatal visit after the previous C-section to know if a VBAC is possible.
Ensure that your doctor has your complete medical history. This will enable your doctor make the best decision in your interest. You will only be allowed to go into spontaneous labour. Your health team will be on standby for an emergency Caesarean section. They will monitor your progress in labour carefully, no medication to make the womb contract or induce labour will be given for safety reasons. If your doctors are not happy about your progress an emergency Caesarean section will be provided.
Above all, it is safer to register with a hospital that is known for handling emergency C-sections.
Yes, having a vaginal birth after a C-section is possible. In addition, the chances of a successful VBAC increases when labour starts without any induction on your due date or before it.
Nonetheless, you need to take every necessary precaution to ensure that everything goes well. Finally, ensure your doctor has all of your previous medical history and whatever is going on with you currently.
- March of Dimes (2015). Vaginal Birth After Caesarean. Accessed on 25th August, 2020 from https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/vaginal-birth-after-cesarean.aspx
- Mayo Clinic Staff (2020). Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC). Accessed on 25th August, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/vbac/about/pac-20395249
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) (2017). Vaginal Birth After Caesarean Delivery. Accessed on 25th August, 2020 from https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/labor-delivery-and-postpartum-care/vaginal-birth-after-cesarean-delivery