Many women who end up having an unplanned c-section decide they want to try for a vaginal birth with their next delivery, known as a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
Although VBAC is a often little riskier than cesarean birth, many women can still successfully deliver vaginally after previous cesarean birth.
Risks and Statistics
The risk of trying to have a successful VBAC is that you may end up having an emergency c-section, which brings more potential complications than an elective one. According to the National Institutes of Health, VBACs are about 63% successful for women who have never had a vaginal delivery and 83% successful for women who have had a prior vaginal delivery before their c-section.
The main concern surrounding an attempted VBAC is the risk of uterine rupture. Uterine rupture happens when the scar from your c-section opens during labor. Fortunately, only about 1% of women who attempt VBACs end up with this serious complication.
Making Your VBAC a Success
If you’d like to attempt a VBAC, here are some tips to consider:
- VBACs are more successful if you’re not induced. If possible, avoid induction. You are more likely to have a successful VBAC if labor happens spontaneously.
- VBACs are more successful if you are a healthy weight. Women who are overweight are not as apt to succeed with a VBAC, so maintaining healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy is key.
- VBACs are more successful the younger you are. Women under 35 have a better chance of success, which is also a positive thing if you’d like to have more children in the future. Repeat c-sections can pose greater risks with each subsequent procedure.
If you’d like to find out more, talk with an All About Women doctor in Gainesville or Lake City to see if you’re a good candidate for a VBAC. To read more about c-sections and the recovery afterwards, check out our knowledge center article: “What to Expect After a Cesarean.”