VBAC and Benefits
What exactly is VBAC? How do you know if you are the good and right candidate? What are the benefits and drawbacks of VBAC? Is it worth it? Here is a look at VBAC and benefits – a guide to those who want to understand this issue better.
Many women choose to have a vaginal birth after a (VBAC) section for one of their children. Statistics show that 60-80% of women who choose to have a normal birth after a C-section have done so successfully. The choice to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean is a tough one and can be scary. Keep in mind that not all hospitals are equipped to handle a VBAC and others may choose not to do so. Nevertheless, here are a few insights to help in the decision-making process.
Why should you consider a VBAC?
Unlike a C-section, vaginal births do not involve invasive surgery and the possible, eventual complications. With a vaginal birth, the hospital stay is shorter and new moms can get back to normal activities faster. VBAC is also a way to experience natural childbirth. If you are planning to have more children in the future, VBAC helps in bypassing multiple surgeries as well as placental problems.
Are there any risks associated with VBAC?
Even though VBAC has fewer birth complications compared to the elective C-section, failed labor after a C-section does. Some women experience uterine rupture while attempting a natural birth after surgery. In this case, the uterus can tear open and an emergency C-section is needed to stem heavy bleeding and injury to the fetus. This injury can be life-threatening to both the mother and the child. In such cases, a hysterectomy is performed to stem the bleeding. Those women who have had such radical surgery will not be able to have any more children.
Doctors usually dissuade women from going through with a VBAC if the fetus is 10 lbs. or more. Other instances when doctors prefer to perform C-sections is if the pregnancy is well past the due date. Fetal size could lead to an increased uterine rupture with a VBAC.
How often do uterine ruptures happen?
Uterine ruptures are rare and occur in just 1% of women who opt for VBAC. If you are pregnant again and considering going through a VBAC, talk to your OB/GYN about it and go to a hospital which can deal with emergency care. You must also ensure that the doctors and staff who will assist in your birth are aware of the situation.
Candidates for VBAC
Eligibility to have a VBAC takes the following elements into account.
- Previous normal deliveries: If you have had at least one normal delivery prior to or after a C-section helps to increase the chance of going through a VBAC successfully.
- Type of Incision during the C-section: Most doctors use a transverse incision for a C-section. Women who have this type of incision or a low vertical incision are good VBAC candidates. For women with a high vertical incision should not attempt a VBAC as the incidence of uterine rupture is higher for them.
- Number of C-sections: If you have delivered at least 2 babies via C-section previously, some hospitals and doctors recommend against trying VBAC.
- Last C-section: If you had a baby via C-section less than 18 months earlier, the risk of rupture is higher. Your doctor will inform you of this fact and the recommendation is to avoid VBAC.
- Concerns regarding a VB: If your OB/GYN finds placental problems during routine monitoring during pregnancy, if you have twins or multiples, the usual recommendation is a C-section.
- Delivery location: Trying a VBAC at home is not recommended. It is best to deliver at a hospital as they are equipped to deal with any emergencies that occur during pregnancy.
- Induced labor: If you need to have labor induced, then VBAC will most likely not be successful.
- Difficult labor: If you have had problems before and experienced a uterine rupture, then you should not try VBAC.
Differences between normal delivery and a VBAC delivery
If you choose to go the VBAC route, the delivery process is like the one used for a normal, vaginal delivery. The only difference is that doctors will constantly monitor fetal heart rate and perform a C-section if it becomes necessary.
Tips for women wanting to go the VBAC way
If VBAC is a consideration, talk to your doctor about your concerns as well as expectations early in the pregnancy. If you have the same OB/GYN over multiple births, then the doctor will be able to help you based on your medical history. If you are dealing with a new doctor, then provide them all the necessary information so that you get the best guidance. If something changes in the later stages of pregnancy, the OB/GYN will advise on the right procedure – VBAC or C-section.
Make sure that the facility where you are going deliver has policies and equipment in place to handle VBACs. This is essential because if there is a sudden need to do an emergency C-section, they are equipped to handle your needs.
How to have a successful VBAC
Though many factors are out of your hands, there are some things you can do to successfully go through with a VBAC.
- Talk to your doctor and see if the birthing facility will support your attempts. Anesthesiologists are key to a successful and safe VBAC.
- Managing weight: Studies have shown that heavier women who lost 1 to 2% of their BMI increased their VBAC chances and delivered healthy babies successfully. Talk to your OB/GYN on how to manage your weight before and during pregnancy so that VBAC is smooth.
- Natural mode: Your attempt at VBAC will be successful if your labor starts on its own instead of being induced. Keep this in mind and let the doctor advise you if an emergency occurs.
All in all, choosing to experience VBAC is quite normal and as an expecting mom, it is up to you to decide. Do take your doctor’s advice and explore available options. Hopefully your experience with VBAC is a wonderful new experience.