How To Prepare For A Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

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Answered by: Andrea, An Expert in the Labor and Birth Category
Delivery through cesarean section is something that every mother-to-be wants to avoid. Aside from the oft-dreaded abdominal scar, this procedure costs more and poses higher health risks for both the mother and the baby.

However, there are times when a woman will have to go through a c-section delivery because of one reason or another. For first time mothers, a c-section is often unexpected and something that will be mulled over for the next few weeks or months – often with the wrong impression that the next pregnancies will now have to be delivered by cesarean section as well.



Let us bust that myth right here – a first c-section delivery does not mean that the next ones will also have to be through c-section. A vaginal delivery, also often called a normal delivery, is still very much possible under the following conditions:

1.     The reason for the previous c-section delivery is not present.



2.     Previous delivery is a low transverse cesarean (this refers to the cut on the uterus, not on the skin).

3.     No previous uterine surgery aside from the cesarean delivery.

4.     No other medical condition such as hypertension, diabetes, or heart disease.

5.     No other obstetric problem.

6.     There is a minimum of 18 months between the two pregnancies.

Such a delivery, if successful, is often termed VBAC or Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Once you feel confident that you are a good candidate for a VBAC, there are several things you can do to prepare for it.

1. Be well-informed.

A VBAC is not too popular among those who have had cesarean delivery. Aside from the proliferation of the myth above, some women actually prefer the convenience of having their c-section deliveries scheduled. However, a c-section is still a major surgical procedure and many studies suggest that a VBAC still presents lower health risks for both mother and baby compared to a repeat C-section.

What is important is for you to get as many information about it as you can. Read articles about it and arm yourself with the facts that will help and guide you. Make yourself an expert on the process of birth so that you know exactly what to expect and your best options for different scenarios.

2. Find a doctor that supports your decision to try for a VBAC.

Your doctor will be your partner in this. Your chances for a successful VBAC will be very low if your doctor does not fully support you. Most OB-Gyne will not even consider trying for a VBAC. For your best chances and interest, try to find someone who has successfully handled VBAC cases.

Once you have chosen your doctor, it is important to put your complete trust in her. Your risk for a c-section is higher than if you have not had any cesarean deliveries and your doctor will ultimately be the one to decide whether you should proceed with the trial of labor or to go for a repeat c-section. Discuss every possible scenario with your doctor and agree on your plan of action.

3. Stay fit and healthy.

It is ideal that every pregnancy starts with a fit and healthy body, even more so if you are trying for a VBAC. A bigger baby will be more difficult to deliver vaginally, although it is not an indication not to try for a VBAC. Stay within the recommended weight gains to help ensure that your baby’s weight also stay within normal limits.

4. Prepare yourself mentally.

Since a vaginal birth after cesarean is not so common in most countries, you will encounter a lot of people who will be skeptical about your plans to try it. Comments undermining your decision and capability can weaken your resolve and determination. Expect such comments and prepare yourself mentally for it. For as long as you are well-researched and have discussed it thoroughly with your doctor, have confidence in your body and that it can do what it needs to do.

No matter what happens during your delivery, do not lose sight of the most important thing – the health and safety of you and your baby. Despite your preparations, there will be possible instances beyond your control that will make a c-section the best option. Whether you have a successful VBAC or not, congratulate yourself for another bundle of joy.

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