Vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, is an option for some women. Those who wish to deliver vaginally will be closely monitored throughout labor.
Understanding Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
Before moving ahead with TOLAC, your obstetrician will first talk with you about whether or not vaginal birth is a possibility. You may be a candidate for VBAC if you have had one C-section and your C-section incision was a transverse (side-to-side) incision made low on the uterus, since this type of incision is less likely to rupture. Women who have high vertical incisions that run up and down the uterus are often advised not to attempt labor due to an increased risk of uterine rupture.
If your OBGYN determines vaginal birth after Cesarean is a possibility, a trial of labor after Cesarean may be attempted. However, this is not a guarantee. You will be closely monitored throughout the process and C-section is still a possibility if complications arise.
Benefits of TOLAC
The pros of vaginal delivery after C-cesarean include:
- Possibility of avoiding surgery and an additional scar on the uterus
- Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery
- Reduced risk of infection
- Less blood loss
The disadvantage of TOLAC is the risk of uterine rupture. Although extremely rare, uterine rupture is a serious medical event that can lead to severe blood loss and health risks for both you and your baby.
Even if you and your OBGYN agree to attempt TOLAC and VBAC, it is important to realize complications or changes may necessitate moving to Cesarean section at any point in your labor.
Remember, the best delivery choice is the one that is safest for both you and your baby.