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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) refers to having a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean delivery. Doctors once thought that if a woman had one cesarean delivery, all her other babies should be born the same way. However, today we know that many women who have previously delivered a baby by C-section can have a successful vaginal delivery. VBACs allow shorter hospital stays, shorter recovery times, and fewer health risks. Between 50-80% of women who attempt a VBAC at Waukesha Memorial Hospital will deliver vaginally.

Whether VBAC is the right option for you depends on many factors. A key factor in determining if you are a candidate for a VBAC is the type of uterine incision you had with your previous cesarean delivery. The type of incision can help us better understand the risk of uterine rupture (when the incision site pulls apart). It is important to remember the incision on your skin does not necessarily reflect the type of incision that was made in the uterus. Women with a low transverse incision (side to side incision made across the lower and thinner part of the uterus) have a much lower risk of uterine rupture. The risk of uterine rupture is between 0.5-0.9%. Women with a high vertical incision or “classical” incision (rare) have a higher risk of rupture and are not considered candidates for VBAC. Women who have had more than one previous cesarean delivery may also have a higher risk of rupture. Women should be prepared that as with any birth, a cesarean may become necessary during labor if your health or the health of your baby is threatened.

Factors to Consider

Other factors to consider when contemplating VBAC include problems or position of the placenta, certain medical conditions during pregnancy and baby’s position and health. It is also important to consider why the cesarean delivery was indicated previously. No delivery is risk free so it is important to weigh the risks and benefits of all your options. You will be required to sign a consent form before deciding to attempt a VBAC.

Using certain criteria, we can better determine your chance at having a successful VBAC.
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Calculator


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