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Sanford Obstetrics & Gynecology
Information on a vaginal birth after cesarean
Is it safe to try a vaginal birth after cesarean?
In most cases, a vaginal birth after cesarean is a safe choice. Whether it's right for you depends on factors such as why you had a previous C-section, how the C-section was performed and how many C-sections you have had. If either you or the baby shows signs of distress during labor, you may need to have an emergency C-section.
What are the pros and cons of a vaginal birth after cesarean?
With vaginal births, women generally have less pain following delivery, lower infection risks, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery at home. Each C-section also results in a scar on your uterus. The more scars you have, the greater your chance of problems with successive pregnancies. However, if you attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean and then need a C-section, your risk of infection increases over having a planned C-section.
What results in a successful vaginal birth after cesarean?
Again, each woman's situation is different. Usually, it's a combination of factors that influence the success of a vaginal birth after cesarean. Your chances are better if you do not have the same condition that led to the previous C-section, you go into labor on your own, your cervix dilates well and you have previously had a successful vaginal delivery or a vaginal birth after cesarean. Your chance of possible success declines if you are over 35, obese, carrying a baby estimated at more than 9 pounds, diabetic, have narrow pelvic bones, or are beyond your 40th week of pregnancy.
When should I decide if I want to try a vaginal birth after cesarean?
It should be a consideration when you choose your provider. Some doctors are not willing to consider a vaginal birth after cesarean. While a vaginal birth after cesarean is becoming much more accepted, there is the concern that a prior C-section scar can reopen during labor. Although this happens very rarely, it is a serious health risk for both mom and baby. You not only need to be comfortable with your decision to choose a vaginal birth after cesarean, but your provider also needs to be willing to work with you toward that goal.