Vaginal Birth after Cesarean Section (VBAC- ‘vee-bak’)- Can I have a VBAC?


I'm pregnant. Can I have a VBAC?

Some providers assume “once a C-Section always a C-Section”. That’s because the scar tissue left on the uterus’ wall from a C-Section is weaker than the uterus itself, resulting in concerns about the uterus rupturing during childbirth.

But (and it’s a big one), a growing body of current research supports Vaginal Birth after C-Section as a good option & safe option for many women. Studies show up to 80% of women who try a VBAC (who are good candidates for VBAC) will be successful birthing vaginally.

Talking through your medical circumstances & history with your provider is important to determine if you are a good candidate for a VBAC. A repeat C-Section still might be the safest option.

Benefits of VBAC (compared to C-Sections)

  • Less painful & faster recovery 
  • A shorter hospital stay 
  • Less blood loss 
  • Less risk of infection & injury 
  • No risk of surgical complications 
  • Less risk of breathing problems for your baby 
  • Less risk of future pregnancy complications 

Risks of VBAC (compared to C-Sections)

  • Uterine rupture- this is when the scar tissue gives way on the uterus wall. The risk is very small, but can be life threatening for baby & mom. 
  • Risks of having an unplanned cesarean birth if the VBAC is not successful. 

If you want to increase the chance of a VBAC

  1. Talk to your provider. Here is some Evidence showing VBACs are safe options. 
  2. Choose a Doctor or Midwife who fully supports your goal to have a VBAC, not just a provider who says “well, you can try if you want…” 
  3. Have birth support (family, coach, doula)- proven to help
  4. If there is no emergency, ask your provider why the C-Section is being recommended? 
  5. Ask what other options you have (waiting longer, moving around during labor, if baby is breech have a skilled caregiver turn baby)? 

*We’ve heard some moms frustrated, because they felt their provider encouraged them a “trial” of VBAC, but very quickly recommended a C-Section without the mama or baby being in distress or in any danger. Have the detailed “What’s the game plan” conversation before you’re in labor! Make sure you & your provider are on the same page and run through the scenarios when they will recommend a C-Section. That’s been a regret we’ve heard from moms wanting a VBAC. Some moms felt like the “VBAC rug” was pulled out from under them. They wish they would’ve asked more detailed questions to understand “when & why” a C-Section would be recommended.

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  • Stacey

    I had a VBAC 2 years after having an unplanned C-section. I actually switched OBs halfway through the pregnancy in order to find a doctor who was supportive of a VBAC. It went wonderfully! My OB was so supportive throughout the pregnancy and did everything she could to make sure I got the VBAC, all the while keeping my health and the baby’s her first priority. We talked a lot about the possibilities of another C-section and she was very honest about those realities.

    Then, 3 years after that VBAC, I ended up having a scheduled C-section due to complications and the size of the baby. Same OB, just different circumstances. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to have a VBAC and that I found an OB who was supportive of that. Honestly, it was not easy to find her. I found that most OBs were still in the “once a C-Section, aways a C-Section” motto.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you had empowering birth experiences…bravo! Any tips for mamas trying to find a supportive OB?

  • Caitlyn Bell

    Vaginal Birth looks the good option as you mention in your post then
    c-section.I learn so much from your post.Thanks for this informative
    Posted by: Caitlyn Bell| <a href="“>Cesarean Section

    • yourbabybooty

      Thanks Caitlyn! I’m happy you found it helpful:)