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Many moms who've experienced a C-section with their first child enter subsequent pregnancies with the hope of avoiding the same procedure when labor day arrives. But due to the increased possibility of uterine rupture at the site of the previous C-section (which happens in fewer than 1 percent of VBACs), a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is often considered high risk by doctors.
To understand why, we need to get into the nitty-gritty of C-sections.
If a uterine rupture results in excessive bleeding, a woman may have to undergo a blood transfusion or an emergency hysterectomy, explains William Grobman, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. And the outcome can be life-threatening to the baby, although that only happens in one out of every 1,000 to 2,000 VBAC attempts. Fortunately, about 60 to 80 percent of women who attempt a VBAC are able to give birth vaginally -- and recent recommendations from the National Institutes of Health reiterated that VBACs can be as safe as normal births.
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