Let’s talk VBAC…
You’ve just found out you’re expecting again, congratulations! This may be your second or third baby, and perhaps you have had a previous cesarean birth. One of the first questions you may ask is, “Am I going to plan another cesarean (commonly called a routine cesarean section or RCS) or should I look into having a VBAC?” What is a VBAC? It’s a vaginal birth after cesarean. Medical providers also refer to the term TOLAC (Trial of Labor After Cesarean Section) until the birth has been successful vaginally.
The choice to try for a VBAC may be an easy decision for some couples but for others it may come with fear and anxiety. Scheduling a repeat cesarean can be familiar to both the mother and the medical team. Knowing your evidence based options can take away those fears and reassure everyone.
A VBAC is successful 75% of the time. Successful VBACs have lower maternal complication. Per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a VBAC is a reasonable and appropriate choice for most women with one prior cesarean and for “some women” with two prior cesareans. Making a list of questions and concerns and going over them with your medical provider is the first step in making the best informed decision when thinking about a VBAC.
New mom Candace D. recently had a successful VBAC at Naval Hospital Okinawa for her third child.
“When I decided very early in my pregnancy that I wanted to have a VBAC, I was lucky enough to have many of my friends and family support me,” Candace said. “The support I received from my doula, the doctors at Naval Hospital Okinawa, and especially from my husband was a relief.
“I knew that I had control over my birth and body regardless of the situation. From there on, every day I told myself that I will have a successful VBAC and everything will go well with me and my baby,” she said. “I did have, a peaceful, uncomplicated VBAC. The best advice I can give to any woman going in for a VBAC is to have a positive mindset about it.”
Some women have medical reasons for having their babies via cesarean. It’s important to have compassion for those who attempt a VBAC and those who medically cannot. For others that have been medically cleared to try for a VBAC, you may have questions about the process and risks involved. Talking through these concerns with your medical care team will help give you an empowered birth experience. Numerous clinical studies have also found that laboring with a doula, who provides continuous support during labor, may also lead to less complications and fewer cesareans.
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