Delivery Details: The Facts on VBACS
As the due date of my third child quickly approaches, I can't help but feel anxious yet hopeful that I will be able to have another successful VBAC. A VBAC is a vaginal delivery after a previous cesarean section. It is also known as a vaginal trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC). Studies show the success rate of a VBAC is between 60 and 80% and 90% after a mom has had a successful VBAC after c-section.
With all of this in mind, I wanted to do a little digging into the risks and benefits of having a VBAC. Here's what I found out:
Risks of VBAC
Uterine Rupture. The biggest risk of a a VBAC is a uterine rupture, which happens in 1% of women who attempt a VBAC. A uterine rupture is when the scar from the previous c-section opens up during labor. It can result in catastrophic outcomes for mom and baby. For mom, a uterine rupture can result in injury to the bladder or damage to the uterus, requiring a hysterectomy and/or blood transfusions.
A study on VBAC published by the National Institute of Health showed that the risk of uterine rupture is increased if the interval between the time mom had her first c-section to the time that she becomes pregnant again is less than 12 months. The risk of rupture is greatest for a mom that has only had six months between delivery and the next pregnancy.
Complications for baby. Complications from a uterine rupture for the newborn can result in a lack of oxygen to the brain, also known as anoxic brain injury. An estimated 4 out of 1,000 babies delivered by VBAC with a uterine rupture will have an anoxic brain injury, which can cause lifelong disabilities of varying severity.
Additionally, the risk of developing an infection of the uterus, skin incision, or bladder doubles if vaginal delivery is attempted but fails, resulting in a cesarean. There is also a risk of blood loss and the need for a blood transfusion.
Benefits of a VBAC?
- Shorter hospital stay.
- Easier and faster recovery time after birth.
- Less risk of blood loss.
- Reduced risk of respiratory issues with baby.
Factors that Make You a Good Candidate for a VBAC?
- Your previous one to two births have been low transverse cesarean deliveries.
- You have no history of additional uterine scars, anomalies or ruptures.
- You are carrying just one baby.
- The baby is a normal size and head down.
- The reason for your cesarean section with your first baby is not present with this pregnancy.
- You have no major medical problems.
As a mom who has experienced an unplanned, successful VBAC, I can attest to the fact that recovery from labor and delivery with my second child, a VBAC, was much quicker and easier than recovery with my first child, an emergency cesarean section. If you have had a cesarean section with previous births and are thinking about a VBAC this time around, speak with your OBGYN about it early into your pregnancy. If he or she does not perform the VBAC procedure, but you feel you are a good candidate seek out a second opinion. Be your own advocate and research your delivery options.
Have you or anyone you know had a successful VBAC? What advice would you offer other mom's who are interested in learning more about the delivery option?