A VBAC is when a woman has a vaginal birth after having had a cesarean section (C-section) in a previous pregnancy. During a VBAC you may still have an epidural if you choose.
If you would like to learn more about VBAC in Arizona, schedule a tour at one of our birthing centers, or register for birthing classes near you, call (877) 728-5414.
Why a Vaginal Birth After C-Section is Performed
Some women who have had a C-section with an earlier pregnancy may wish to give birth vaginally in a subsequent pregnancy. Benefits of vaginal delivery include:
- Less blood loss
- A shorter recovery period
- Lower risk of infection
- Less risk to future deliveries
About 90 percent of women who have had a C-section in the past are still candidates for a vaginal delivery, and up to 80 percent of women who attempt a VBAC are successful.
Women who should not attempt a vaginal birth after a C-section are those who have:
- High vertical scars (the cesarean incision was made vertically in the abdomen)
- A desire to induce labor
- A large or breech baby
- Had a previous uterine rupture
Do not attempt a VBAC outside of a hospital or in a hospital that is not well equipped for an emergency C-section. Talk with your doctor about whether a VBAC is a good option for you.
Risks of Vaginal Birth After C-Section
If you choose to attempt a VBAC, be prepared for another C-section in case the vaginal delivery is unsuccessful. The most serious risk of a VBAC is uterine rupture, when the scar from your previous C-section tears open. The risk of uterine rupture is about 1 in every 500 VBAC attempts. Uterine rupture is potentially life-threatening and requires an emergency C-section, as it can cause heavy bleeding for the mother and brain damage to the baby. Sometimes it can result in the need for a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding.
Recovery After VBAC at Dignity Health
Women who have a successful VBAC will have about the same recovery experience as with a regular vaginal birth, such as fatigue and vaginal soreness. Your overall healing time will likely be much shorter than recovering from a C-section.
Dignity Health provides specialized prenatal, labor, and delivery care, offering vaginal birth after cesarean in Arizona.