VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)

VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is a growing trend among women who have previously undergone caesarean deliveries. It has become an increasingly viable option for those seeking a more natural, less invasive birth experience. It provides many potential benefits, such as the reduced risk of infection, quicker recovery time, and the avoidance of major surgery. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with VBAC and that it may not be suitable for all mothers. Understanding the process and consulting with a medical professional is key to helping make an informed decision.

What is VBAC?

VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is a delivery method where a woman who has previously had a baby through a cesarean section gives birth to her next baby vaginally. If successful, it can reduce the need for further cesareans and allow the woman to experience childbirth naturally. This can be achieved by having an induced labour or letting the labour happen naturally. The risks associated with VBAC must be discussed with a medical professional before attempting it, as complications such as uterine rupture and infection can occur. VBAC also requires close monitoring during labour and birth.

What are the Different Types of VBAC?

There are various types of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Planned VBAC involves a woman agreeing with her doctor to attempt a vaginal birth after a previous caesarean. Unplanned VBAC involves a woman going into labour naturally and attempting a vaginal birth, but could require an emergency caesarean if the baby is in distress. A trial of labour VBAC is when a doctor monitors the mother during labour and considers whether to proceed with a caesarean if there are any concerns. A repeat caesarean involves the woman having two or more caesareans in succession, which is usually recommended for safety reasons.

Who Qualifies for the VBAC Procedure?

VBAC is suitable for most women with a previous cesarean and has no other contraindications. Generally, women must have had a single, low transverse incision, and their current pregnancy should be going well with no abnormalities. In addition, VBAC is more likely to be successful if the woman has given birth vaginally before or if the labour is progressing normally. The woman must have an ongoing, supportive relationship with her doctor or midwife.

When would a doctor suggest undergoing VBAC?

Patients may be advised to consider VBAC if they have had a successful pregnancy before or if the previous C-section was performed due to a non-recurring cause. Doctors recommend VBAC when the mother is healthy and in good physical condition, with a uterus that has healed properly after the previous C-section. Additionally, it is often recommended that VBAC only be attempted when the baby is in a head-down position, of normal size, and if there are no other medical complications. Finally, labour must be carefully monitored for both the mother's and the baby's safety.


VBAC is a viable option for many women who have had a previous cesarean section and wish to experience a vaginal birth with their next pregnancy. With adequate preparation and support, most women can successfully undergo VBAC. However, each woman's situation is unique, so it is important to discuss the best option for her with her healthcare provider before deciding. Ultimately, VBAC offers an opportunity for many women to experience the benefits of a vaginal birth following the delivery of their first baby by cesarean section. With careful consideration and professional guidance, VBAC can be a safe and positive experience for many mothers.

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1. What factors must be considered when deciding whether a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC) is appropriate?

When considering VBAC, several factors should be considered, including the reason for the previous cesarean delivery, the previous number of deliveries, the type of incision used in the cesarean section, and any potential medical complications.

2. What are the risks associated with attempting a VBAC?

Attempting a VBAC carries certain risks, such as uterine rupture, placental abruption, bladder and bowel injuries, infection, and excessive bleeding.

3. Are there other options besides attempting a VBAC or having a repeat cesarean?

Other options may include labour induction or an elective primary cesarean delivery.

4. Are there any long-term benefits to having a successful VBAC?

A successful VBAC can reduce the risk of certain postpartum complications, such as infection, blood loss, and transfusion requirements, compared to undergoing a repeat cesarean delivery. Additionally, it can also reduce future fertility issues and shorten recovery time.

5. Is additional monitoring required during labour if attempting a VBAC?

Yes, fetal monitoring is essential to ensure that both mother and baby are safe.

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