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Everything You Wanted to Know About Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

Years ago, going under a cesarean operation to give birth means all your subsequent deliveries will be done using the same procedure. A vaginal birth after a cesarean operation was not only uncommon but also greatly discouraged because of the risks of rupturing the scar on the uterus, causing serious complications.

But times change, and so do medical developments! Now, there’s VBAC or Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, made possible because doctors began making a different kind of surgical cut on the uterus, one that is unlikely to rupture during a VBAC labor. This cut, which is called low transverse incision, produces a much stronger uterine scar.

Because of this breakthrough, what was previously unheard of is now a safe — and desirable — way to give birth.

What will happen during VBAC?

A VBAC procedure won’t differ much from a regular vaginal delivery. However, undergoing VBAC will mean being closely monitored by your doctor throughout your entire pregnancy and, most especially, during delivery. 

Your doctors, midwives, and nurses will keep checking on you and your baby using special equipment that might not have been necessary during any other vaginal birth.

What are the benefits of VBAC?

More and more women are asking to have a VBAC delivery because of its benefits, which include the following:

1. A quicker postpartum recovery 

A cesarean procedure is a major operation that requires you to stay in the hospital after giving birth for a longer period of time than someone who has had a vaginal delivery. With VBAC, you get to enjoy the quicker postpartum recovery time of an ordinary vaginal delivery. You can also expect to be able to do normal activities soon after giving birth. 

2. A lower risk for infections

As with any operation, a cesarean procedure comes with possible surgery-related risks like infections, bleeding, injuries, and blood clots. While these are avoidable with a c-section procedure, not undergoing a surgery at all definitely lowers the chances of experiencing these risks.

3. A better chance for safer future pregnancies

Listen up if you’re planning on having a big family! Repeat c-section procedures increase the internal scar tissues in your uterus, which makes it difficult for your placenta to nourish a growing baby, creating risky pregnancies.

Having a VBAC instead of a repeat c-section prevents further scarring from happening, making future deliveries safer. 

Who can have a VBAC delivery?

While a VBAC delivery sounds promising, unfortunately, not everyone can have one. Because of the presence of possible VBAC risks, it is crucial that you and your baby should be 100% healthy to be considered as a candidate.

Aside from general health and wellness, you need to be able to prove through previous medical records that your uterine cut from your previous c-section is a low transverse incision (horizontal). This cut may or may not be the same as the cut on your abdomen, as it is possible that you have a classical vertical scar on your abdomen but have a low transverse incision in your uterus. If you are unsure or don’t have medical records for proof, you may not be considered as a candidate for VBAC.

What are the possible VBAC risks?

Despite its success and popularity, you need to be fully aware of the risks if you are planning to undergo a VBAC delivery. Even though the chances are very small, don’t neglect the possibility of uterine rupture happening during labor. This may still happen even if you are at the peak of health without pregnancy-related complications.

This possibility is the reason why you will be monitored very closely during a VBAC delivery. In the rare occasion that a rupture does happen, you will have to undergo an emergency c-section procedure to control the situation. 

Today, having a vaginal delivery even after undergoing a previous cesarean procedure is possible. Many women prefer VBAC because of its benefits. But remember that, despite the advantages, VBAC still poses serious risks that you should be prepared for. Talk to your doctor about VBAC and carefully weigh your options before finalizing your birth plan!

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