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Choosing Between Vaginal Birth After C-section Or Repeat C-section


Your chance of having a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) may increase if:

  • Your C-section incision is in the lower part of your abdomen.
  • You have not had other surgeries on your uterus.
  • You have had a normal pregnancy.
  • You are younger than 40 years.
  • You have had more than 1 vaginal delivery.
  • Your labor begins on its own without the help of medicines.

Your chance of a having a VBAC may decrease if:

  • You have had more than 1 C-section.
  • You have a high vertical (up and down) incision in your abdomen
  • Your uterus has ruptured during a previous delivery.
  • Your baby is in the breech position (bottom facing down).
  • You have pregnancy problems or a medical condition that makes a vaginal delivery dangerous.
  • Your baby is 9 pounds or larger.
  • You are past your due date.

Benefits of a VBAC:

  • You will have a faster recovery. You can often go home within a couple of days after delivery. You may have less pain, and it may go away sooner. Your body may recover more quickly. You may be able to return to your daily activities sooner.
  • There are fewer health risks. Infection and injury to your organs are less likely. There is a lower risk of heavy bleeding. You may be able to walk around sooner. This may decrease the risk for blood clots.

Risks of a VBAC:

The C-section scar on your uterus may rupture during delivery. This can cause serious health problems for you and your baby. The delivery may not go as planned and you may need another C-section.

Benefits of a C-section:

A C-section is a safer option if you have a vertical incision in your upper abdomen from your previous C-section. It may also be a safer option if you have certain pregnancy problems or medical conditions. If you want your tubes tied to prevent future pregnancies, it may be done at the same time as the C-section.

Risks of a C-section:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your bladder or intestines may be injured. This can cause bleeding and lead to problems with your unborn baby. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening. Multiple C-sections increase your risk of problems in future pregnancies. Your risk for placenta previa is increased if you have had more than 1 C-section. Placenta previa is a condition that causes your placenta to cover your cervix.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.