As seen in Home Grown – Parenting in the North
Bellies & Babies: VBAC
The term VBAC -Vaginal birth after cesarian – was coined by Nancy Wainer Cohen
Benefits of a VBAC
reduces blood loss;
reduces injury and risk of infection;
eliminates complications associated with surgery;
require a shorter hospital stay;
more rapid recovery; and
less painful recovery
**Nearly Eighty Percent of women who try for a VBAC have a successful VBAC delivery.
**VBAC trials were statistically safer for mothers, and just as safe for babies.
If your previous birth was a c-section, depending on the reason for the c-section, you may feel as if you were cheated out of the labour process. You now find yourself pregnant with your second (or third…) baby and are wondering if it’s possible to have a vaginal delivery this time around.
To begin, let’s debunk some of those c-section myths:
C-sections are safer than vaginal birth - This is the worst myth of them all, All studies support that the safest way to deliver a baby is by vaginal birth. “The more cesarians a woman has, the more the risks to her increase.” – Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to childbirth.
C-sections cause less trauma for the baby - Statistics report that babies born via c-section are more likely to have respiratory problems and spend more time in the NICU. Babies born via c-section are also more likely to have a harder time breastfeeding,
You need a C-section because your baby has the cord wrapped around its neck - approximately one third of babies are born with the cord around their neck, it is rare that the cord is too tight or short that it will actually cause harm to the baby.
For more c-section myth busting, be sure to read Your Best Birth, By Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein.
So, your two options are have a repeat C-section or plan a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section). Some of the reasons that you may choose a VBAC delivery.
Planning A Larger Family. If you are planning on having more children, a VBAC is a better option as with each delivery the risks decrease, where as the risks increase with each subsequent c-sections delivery.
Emotional Closure. For some woman, having a c-section feels like you failed, or like your body failed you. To have a VBAC can provide great emotional closure. You get to participate in the birth of your baby, rather than have a procedure done to you. You will be able to hold your baby right away and breastfeed sooner than you would if you had had a c-section.
Recovery Time. With a vaginal birth you will have a shorter hospital stay. You avoid the major abdominal surgery which will help your energy and stamina. The pain associated with vaginal birth is way less even if you do tear your perineum.
Less Complications, and Lower Risk of Infection. You are less likely to get an infection and risk major blood loss (you can lose up to 1 liter of blood during a normal c-section) However if the VBAC fails and baby must be delivered via c-section you have a greater chance of infection than if baby was delivered via planned repeat c-section. Please discuss this with your care provider.
Chances of a Successful VBAC
VBAC chances are affected by a few things, a major one being the care provider that you choose. Studies show that obstetricians have a lower rate of VBAC success, while family doctors have a higher rate of VBAC success and midwives have the highest rate of VBAC success. These findings may be due to the different practice style between the different care providers.
Other factors that need to be taken into account are:
Maternal Age – as your age increases statistics show that the chances of having a successful VBAC decrease)
Gestation Age – according to statistics you have the highest chance of a successful VBAC if the baby is born between gestation weeks 37-41 Before or after that the chances are significantly decreased
Number of previous c-sections – the more c-sections had previously, the less likely a successful VBAC.
Health Concerns (Diabetes, Blood pressure etc.)
Location of Birth (home, hospital, birthing center) – Home births have the highest success rate of VBAC, this may be due to the hospital staff’s need to intervene.
Drugs and interventions used during labour – the use of interventions to induce or augment labour, as well as the use of drugs to numb the pain of labour, can decrease the chance of a successful VBAC
Doulas – statistics show that births attended by a doula have lower c-section rates and lower a VBAC failure rate.
Preparing for a VBAC
Visualize your birth, this helps you plan your birth, take control over what you want.
Join Facebook or other online VBAC groups, talk to other mothers who have successfully had a VBAC.
Know your body.
Avoid any medical induction of labour.
Be prepared. If a c-section is necessary, be prepared to deal with it when the time comes, however don’t dwell on this during your pregnancy.
Talk to your care provider, let him/her know your fears/concerns, and what your wishes for your birth are.
Write a birth plan
Hire a doula
Feel Free to leave your thoughts on this article.