I had a C-section with my first child. Now that I’m pregnant with my second, I’d really like to try to have a vaginal delivery. But is that safe — for me and my baby?
Many women who have had a cesarean section (or C-section) with their first pregnancy are interested in a vaginal delivery for their second or later births. For years, women who'd had a C-section were encouraged to forego vaginal deliveries altogether and schedule C-sections for all future births.
But these days, a vaginal birth after cesarean (or VBAC) is considered a safe option for many women and their babies. And, with a vaginal delivery, you can come home sooner and recover quicker. The reason for your first C-section, the type of incision made on your uterus, and other factors in your medical history will determine whether or not you can have a VBAC:
The incision on your skin does not necessarily go in the same direction as the incision on your uterus. Also, if you've had more than one C-section, a VBAC might not be an option.
Of course, not all women who try to have a VBAC succeed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) estimates that about 60% to 80% of women who try to have a VBAC succeed.
Although a VBAC does come with risks, many women are able to have one with no complications at all. If you're interested in having a VBAC, talk to your doctor to weigh the risks and benefits. And check with your hospital well in advance to make sure they’ll allow it — if they don't and you have your heart set on a vaginal birth, you may need to change hospitals.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
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