A successful vaginal birth after a cesarean section (VBAC) is entirely possible. In fact, our midwives strongly support women who choose to have a natural birth after a cesarean birth. Through our care and guidance, we hope you’ll feel empowered by your own capabilities and have a voice in your delivery. Follow these steps to help improve the odds of a successful VBAC.
1. Find Your Midwife.
The best tool in your VBAC repertoire is a midwife. Several studies — including one research project at the University of Manchester — illustrate that midwives improve the success rate of vaginal births after a C-section by 20%.
Be cautious in the midwife you choose, though, because some are more equipped than others. Our midwives are certified and highly-skilled at recognizing developing complications. Though we all hope for a successful VBAC when that is the family’s choice, we have the knowledge to know when one isn’t right particular people. We believe that a healthy birth for mother and baby is the only acceptable outcome. In other words, sometimes you may be unable to avoid a trip to the hospital — and that’s okay!
2. Understand the Risks
A uterine rupture is the risk with a VBAC. In short, the scar tissue from the C-section separates, causing the amniotic sac to rupture. This rupture can either be Catastrophic (where the baby is pushed into the abdominal cavity) or more commonly, Asymptomatic (where the baby stays in the uterus).
While the risk is daunting, the odds of a rupture are quite low. In fact, 99.5% of women will not rupture. Additionally, out of the small number of mothers who do undergo a uterine rupture, the overwhelming majority have healthy babies and maintain their uterus.
Moreover, repeat cesarean are not necessarily safer than VBAC; they come with their own set of risks and complications, such as:
- Higher risk of infection, chronic pain, and placental issues.
- Increased risk of severe blood loss and hemorrhaging.
- Increased risk of future infertility.
- Difficulty beginning and continuing breastfeeding.
- Increased risk of respiratory problems for the baby.
3. Build a Supportive Community
Rather than focusing on the fear of what could happen, focus instead on the positive possibilities. Your VBAC story can alternatively be one of beauty and empowerment. Find a community of others who are similarly minded. Through these communities, you gain access to resources and first-hand knowledge that can help you determine what you want and need going into labor.