Have you ever heard the insider’s statement, “Once a C-section, always a C-section.” If you’ve heard it, do you believe that it’s true? Well, in most cases, it’s no longer true.
Let me tell you why.
In years past, Cesarean section births required an incision that ran vertically, from the belly button down to the pubic bone. You’ve seen them, haven’t you? That incision cut through all of the contractile fibers of the uterus, which made it subject to rupture during subsequent pregnancies. A possibility that was not safe for mom or baby, so it’s clear why women with those incisions should not try to have a vaginal birth.
Now the good news:
In the past few decades, surgical techniques have improved, and c-section incisions are now made horizontally, way down near the pubic area. The fibers of the uterus don’t contract much, if at all down there, so barring any other factors, there is no reason why a woman with a C-section should not be allowed to attempt at least of trial of labor.
You are more likely to have a successful VBAC if you’ve had a prior vaginal delivery, go into labor naturally, have had only one prior c-section, and the reason for that surgery no longer exists.
Here are some of the other factors that may impact a woman’s ability to have a VBAC:
- Position of baby: If a baby remains breech as delivery approaches, it would be unwise to plan on a vaginal delivery. Chiropractic helps A LOT to normalize position of mom’s pelvic bones to encourage baby to turn into the head-down position that is required for vaginal birth.
- Placental issues: If the placenta lies too close to the cervix, or is vulnerable to bleeding, a C-section may be the only option.
- Induction of labor: The use of any medications to induce labor rules out potential for VBAC, as the contractions that these medications stimulate are significantly stronger than natural contractions and may challenge the prior scar.
So if these factors have been ruled out, why don’t more women have VBAC’s?
Scheduled C-sections are a very controllable way to give birth. Doctors and/or parents may be more comfortable managing birth that way by picking a time, and place. But are those reasons good enough?
It is clear that vaginal birth is best for baby and mom – if you’d like more info on that, check out my post, “Three Reasons You Must Avoid a C-Section”. I got a lot of… ahem… love notes after that piece ran, so let me state again what I made clear the first time I ran that piece: AS LONG AS MOM AND BABY ARE HEALTHY AND SHOWING NO SIGNS OF DISTRESS, VAGINAL BIRTH IS BEST.
If you’ve had a C-section and would like to attempt a VBAC, talk with your prenatal caregiver about your particular situation, and see if you can join the many women who are able to successfully have a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.
Want some more info on the pros and cons of VBAC? Here ya go!