Birth After a C-Section

If you've already delivered by cesarean section and hope to have your next baby vaginally, here's what you need to know.

  • You must give birth in a hospital. A study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that while the risk of complications during a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is small, it's enough to make a birthing-center delivery inadvisable.
  • VBACs are on the decline. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of VBACs has plummeted 63 percent since the late 1990s. Why? Citing the risk of uterine rupture, some hospitals no longer perform the procedure.
  • Adding to the debate: A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who attempt a VBAC are at slightly higher risk of medical problems than those who have another C-section.
  • Another cesarean may be your best option. Women with more than one previous C-section or who are past their due date are more likely to have complications during a VBAC.
  • You need to talk with your doctor. "There are positives and negatives to both a VBAC and a repeat C-section," says Bruce Flamm, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Irvine. "Discuss your options with your ob-gyn."

Copyright © 2005. Reprinted with permission from the April 2005 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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