Every year, nearly 1.2 million women undergo Cesarean sections (C-sections), a form of delivery that involves making an incision into the uterus to remove the baby. There was a time not too long ago when medical professionals felt having a C-section meant you couldn’t deliver vaginally in the future, but today, all that has changed.
In fact, many women opt for vaginal birth after C-section — VBAC for short — and medical professionals agree that, as long as specific safety protocols are followed, VBAC can be both a safe and rewarding option for many women who want to deliver vaginally. In fact, 60-80% of VBAC attempts result in vaginal deliveries.
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, which serves the Evansville area, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., provides complete pregnancy care for his patients, including women who are interested in VBAC. In this post, he offers a brief overview of VBAC, along with some factors to help you decide if VBAC could be right for you.
The basics of VBAC
The primary reason why VBAC was once not recommended has to do with the incision used during a C-section. Many doctors and medical researchers believed that having an incision in the uterus made it too weak to withstand the repeated contractions that occur during labor and delivery, putting both the mom and the baby at risk.
Today, doctors know that’s not necessarily the case. The uterus can still be strong enough to withstand the rigors of labor and delivery, even after a C-section incision. However, VBAC deliveries do require a different approach.
VBAC is frequently referred to as trial of labor or TOL. This simply means that during a VBAC delivery, you and your baby are very closely monitored for signs of distress, so that if the “trial” proves too difficult, the switch to a C-section can be made immediately.
How to decide if a VBAC is right for you
Deciding to have a VBAC delivery is a personal choice, and one that should be made with all the information at hand. VBAC deliveries do carry a higher risk for specific complications, and knowing what those complications are can help you make an informed decision.
Perhaps the greatest concern associated with VBAC is the risk of uterine rupture, and here, research shows that your C-section incision may play an important role. Specifically, if you had a horizontal incision — from side to side across your uterus — the risk of rupture is less than if your incision was vertical. Likewise, a lower transverse incision has a lower risk of rupture than a transverse incision made higher up in the uterine wall.
That said, C-section deliveries can also have complications, as can traditional vaginal deliveries. It’s up to you to discuss and weigh the concerns, risks, and benefits with Dr. Morrison and your family members to decide if VBAC is right for you.
Other factors also need to be taken into consideration, like your overall health, how many C-sections you’ve had, the health of the baby, and similar issues. As your delivery date approaches, Dr. Morrison will keep a close eye on your health and your baby’s health to decide if VBAC is a good option.
Get answers to your VBAC questions
VBAC can be a safe option for many women who’ve had a prior C-section. The key is to work closely with your doctor, so you understand the process, as well as the potential need to switch to a C-section if needed.
To learn more about VBAC, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today.