Can I give birth vaginally after a c-section?
My first baby was born by c-section. Can I give birth vaginally this time?
Submitted by American Baby Team

That answer depends on a number of issues, but many women are able to give birth vaginally after having a previous c-section (a process nicknamed VBAC, vaginal birth after c-section). The main risk of having a VBAC is uterine rupture, in which the c-section incision re-opens during delivery. Today doctors are screening women more carefully before recommending VBACs. So while fewer are being performed, they are much safer and more successful. In fact, the success rate is between 60 and 80 percent.

About two-thirds of women who've had c-sections are good candidates for VBAC, but only your doctor can determine for sure if you're one of them. There are several medical factors that physicians consider when assessing your situation:

• The type of incision during your c-section: There are three types of incisions used during c-sections: low transverse (a side-to-side cut made on the lower part of the uterus), which is the most widely used; low vertical (an up-and-down incision made in the lower part of the uterus); and high vertical or "classical" (an up-and-down cut made in the upper part of the uterus). Classical incisions are most likely to rupture, so women with these are advised not to attempt a VBAC. The best VBAC candidates are those with low transverse incisions.

• The reason for your previous c-section: If your c-section was due to something physicians wouldn't expect to repeat, such as the fact that baby was breech or his heartbeat was irregular, then you have a good chance of having a successful VBAC without complications. But if you had a c-section because your cervix did not dilate adequately or the baby's head did not descend, or both, your chance of a successful VBAC is somewhat lower.

• How healthy you and your baby are: If your baby's health is unstable or if there are complications, such as your child being in a breech position, you can't have a VBAC. Your health is also considered, because conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can make VBAC riskier. If problems arise during labor, a c-section can still be performed quickly and safely. In fact, ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) guidelines state that a physician capable of performing a c-section should be present during every VBAC delivery. For this reason, home births aren't recommended for moms-to-be attempting a VBAC.

• How many other c-sections you've had: The latest guidelines say that VBAC is a safe option for women who have had only one cesarean. Even though some women with multiple c-sections may want to try VBAC, it's difficult to find a doctor to do it.

Before you decide if a VBAC is right for you, it's important to be aware of the risks involved. Having a VBAC increases your risk of complications like uterine rupture, endometritis (a temporary inflammation or irritation of the uterine lining), and a variety of newborn injuries caused by the uterine rupture. The good news is that these complications are relatively rare. In fact, one of the largest studies ever done on VBAC found that the risk of developing a serious complication during a VBAC is about 1 in 2,000. --Stacey Stapleton

Answered by American Baby Team
Community Answers (8)

When they say 60-80% success rate that does not mean the rest were urerine rupture or anyting dramatic like that, it also includes when women try but after laboring for some reason have to have a c-section anyways. I wish they whould have clarified that, it sounds misleading! I have had 2 c-sections and my OB is allowing me to try a VBAC on this 3rd pregnancy as long as everything keeps going smoothly! Do your research and good luck ladies!!
Submitted by kabernath001

I had a c-section with my first baby and a very successful VBAC with my second baby. I'm due in a month and am planning another VBAC. It increases your chances for a VBAC if you have a midwife as opposed to an OB-GYN.
Submitted by

yes you can give birth vaginally after a c-section.
Submitted by adupokuruth1

It's interesting that the "expert" didn't discuss the obvious benefits of undergoing a VBAC instead of a c-section. Maybe she should read the latest ACOG update on that. For that matter, we all should. I would encourage all you mothers who have been told you cannot have a VBAC to explore your options, stand up for your rights as a woman and mother, and get the support you need (particularly a supportive midwife or physician) to help you follow-through with your hopes and dreams!
Submitted by emarch636

According to my obsthetrician-gynecologists it depends on the type and position of the previous incision. I had a c-section to remove large fibroids two years ago and now I have been advised by my ob-gyn that because the incision is across the top of my uterus there is a high risk of rupturing the uterus if a natural delivery is attemted. I am pregnant and intend to follow the Dr.'s advise for the safest possible delivery.
Submitted by serenesable1

you cant even attempt one no matter what if you live where I do. Can you beleive that! After reading about a 60%-80% success rate im kinda glad though
Submitted by jenimackey

I had a c-section with my daughter for a rare reason. My pelvis just wasnt large enough for her head to fit. She was only 7lbs 4oz, but her head was molding terrible. I was given the choice to trying to push, and running the risk of having to do an emergency c-section, or just deciding right then and there to do a c-section. I chose the c-section. I wanted a VBAC with this baby but was told I couldnt and had a Compressed Pelvis. C-sections for me from here on out I guess.
Submitted by yurpotay007