Vaginal Birth After C-Section (VBAC): Risks and complications

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Here's what you need to consider if you are uncertain if VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) is the right choice for your next delivery

Just because you have undergone a Cesarean section in the past, it does not mean a normal spontaneous vaginal delivery is no longer a possibility.

About 3 to 4 out of 5 women who have given birth via C-section can give birth through vaginal delivery successfully.

Why do some women prefer normal delivery? One big consideration is the shorter recovery period. Some also want to be more participative in the birthing process. What's more, normal deliveries are more affordable and less risky than C-section surgeries. Vaginal deliveries after cesareans are a good option for those who want larger families. As C-sections are not advised to be done more than three consecutive times. But there is no set limit for the number of C-sections. It's important to note, however, that the risk of complications increases with each surgery.

How to know if VBAC is for you

To determine if Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) delivery is a viable option for you, make sure you meet the following criteria:

  • You must not have had more than two low transverse cesarean deliveries
  • You must not have sustained any uterine scars during past deliveries.
  • You must not have  history of uterine anomalies or ruptures.
  • Your doctor and medical staff must be prepared to closely monitor your VBAC, while being prepared to perform an emergency C-section, if needed.Here's what you need to consider if you are uncertain if VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) is the right choice for your next delivery
  • You no longer have the condition that prompted the C-section in the past, such as cephalopelvic disproportion
  • Your medical history is free from any serious problems
  • Your baby's presentation in your womb is head down
  • Your baby's of a normal size based on age of gestation
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What are the possible risks and complications?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) claims that VBAC is safer than a repeat cesarean. But there's no denying it is accompanied by its own set of risks and possible complications.

The biggest fear of healthcare providers is the risk of uterine rupture. This condition occurs in about 1 in 500 women who give birth vaginally, particularly common in those whose labor had to be induced.

Here is a brief comparison to make your decision a bit easier.

If you are considering a repeat C-section instead of VBAC, take note of these possible risks

  • it is accompanied by the usual risks of routine surgeries
  • prolonged hospital stay of about 4 to 5 days, barring any complications
  • possible infection to uterus, bladder, or surgical incision
  • possible injury to the bladder, bowel, or other nearby organs
  • possible persistent pain and discomfort of surgical incision
  • minimal risk of infant respiratory problems
  • increasing risk of future C-section deliveries

Here are the possible considerations for VBAC

  • There is less than 1% chance of uterine rupture.
  • In cases of uterine rupture, possible complications include heavy bleeding, bladder injury, infection, blood clots, and emergency hysterectomy.
  • If emergency C-section is needed, risk of infection is higher.
  • 2-day hospital stay
  • Possible tearing or episiotomy to widen the birth canal
  • Vaginal pain or discomfort for a short period of time
  • Once baby passes through birth canal, his lungs usually clear

We hope this information will help you make your decision easier. Make sure to communicate constantly with your OB-Gynecologist and voice out whatever concerns you may have in order to have a worry-free and healthy pregnancy.

sources: Mayo Clinic, American Pregnancy Association

READ: 9 Childbirth myths that has to stop making the rounds

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